Westminster College is pleased to announce the availability of summer 2016 undergraduate research positions for students doing collaborative research with Westminster faculty. Any Westminster student is eligible to apply for a research position if they will be enrolled as an undergraduate at Westminster in the fall of 2016. The program provides students up to $3000 (maximum) paid in increments every two weeks for full-time research done over the eight week summer session, contingent upon funding availability and satisfactory progress. This program is supported by the Gore Math/Science Endowment, the Eskuche Fund, The Environmental Studies Program, the Dee Foundation, the Martin Fund, the Provost’s Office, and the Westminster Scholars program.
The Teaching, Learning, and Resource Faculty committee will consider all applications and make recommendations concerning these positions. Generally, the students who receive these summer positions have excelled in their classes and have an interest in a field similar to a professor’s research field. Eligible projects are those on which a student and Westminster professor can work collaboratively during the summer. A student may approach a potential faculty mentor with a specific research topic in mind, or may simply ask a potential faculty mentor to suggest possible research projects that would be appropriate. In either case, a mutual agreement between the student and potential faculty mentor regarding general project goals must be identified prior to submission of this application. Final awards are contingent upon available funds and the merit of the proposed projects.
The goal of this program is to provide an intensive research experience for students working one-on-one with a faculty mentor. The definition of Undergraduate Research communicated by the Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR) is: An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. It is expected that each student research project:
- will produce a significant, high-impact student learning experience,
- has well-defined objectives and methods,
- requires engagement with the disciplinary literature, and
- will involve both oral and written presentation of information
Students receive training in the research methods applicable to their specific project, employ critical analysis, and create written and oral presentations of their results. They attend weekly interdisciplinary meetings designed to address some practical aspects of research and an end of the summer research symposium where students present the results of their research projects. In addition, students are encouraged to present at other regional and/or national conferences.
- Each student will work closely with a faculty mentor on a research project (up to full- time, 40 hours per week) for 8 weeks, or the equivalent, unless agreed upon by the student and faculty member. Students working full time on research projects should not take multiple courses in the summer session or have another job commitment.
- Students will meet regularly with their faculty advisor on a schedule agreed upon by students and faculty, as necessary for the progression of their research.
- Attendance at periodic interdisciplinary research meetings (or pre-planned alternative ways to engage with the research group and research meeting content if the student is unable to attend the meetings) is also required (schedule to be announced).
- Students are expected to participate in a forum in late summer or early fall where each student can share the progress on projects with the community (date to be announced).
- Each student is also expected to present the results of their research (by creating a video presentation, delivering an oral presentation, or participating in a poster session) at an appropriate local, regional, or national meeting during the following academic year.
- Students who are proposing to conduct research away from the Westminster campus must submit a plan for regular contact with their faculty advisor that includes periodic status updates on the progress of their research that can be shared with the research meeting group.
To be considered for one of these grants the student and faculty mentor each need to submit the appropriate online forms (links are below). If the research project is a student-initiated, independent project, the student will provide the faculty member with a 500-1000 word project overview that also addresses the research outcomes (below in faculty section) that will be submitted by the faculty mentor. It may be helpful to compose and edit responses first using a word processor and then cut and paste responses into the text boxes in the online form. There is no “save draft” function, once you click "Submit Form" your application will be submitted.
Proposal, Outcomes and Faculty Responsibilities
To be considered for one of these grants the student and faculty mentor each need to submit the appropriate online application form (link below). If the research project is a student-initiated, independent project, the student should provide the faculty member with a project proposal that will be submitted by the faculty mentor.
Faculty are responsible for submitting: the Student/Faculty Proposal addressing the project goal and research outcomes below (500-1000 words accessible to a general academic audience), a description of the nature of the student responsibilities and activities in the project, and the expected student learning outcomes (some are listed below). Any of these sections can be co-written with the student, but must be submitted on the faculty application. The final section addresses the Faculty Responsibilities, including an evaluation and feedback plan, and mentoring model (information below)—this section will be used to determine faculty stipend. Faculty who are working with multiple students, can opt to submit one application per student, or one application per project, as they see fit. There is no “save draft” function, once you click "Submit Form" your application will be submitted.
There are three different models of mentoring undergraduate research. Please indicate in your proposal which model best describes the work you’ll be doing this summer with your student. Ranges of support are given for each model and will depend on faculty self-report of effort and number of students supervised.
- Independent Researcher Model: The faculty mentor periodically advises the student on a project that is by and large the student's idea and effort. Stipends range from $500-$1000.
- Student Faculty Team Model, part time: The faculty mentor is a collaborator who is engaged in the project along with a student or students providing consistent, but periodic, supervision and feedback on the work and/or ideas. Stipends range from $1000-$2000.
- Student Faculty Team Model, full time: The faculty mentor is a collaborator who is engaged in the project along with students providing consistent, daily supervision (e.g. due to difficult technical or safety needs) and feedback on the work and/or ideas. Stipends range from $2000-$3000.
The goal of this program is to provide an intensive research experience for students working one-on-one or in a small team with a faculty mentor. Projects will be evaluated on their potential to provide positive learning outcomes for students, including:
- well-defined objectives and methods
- substantial contact with the literature
- potential for original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline
Student Learning Outcomes
- positive student learning outcomes, emphasizing one or more of the College Wide Learning Goals
- training in the research methods and analysis applicable to the specific project
- oral and written presentation of research process and results