Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

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The Role of the Faculty Mentor in Research

Faculty Mentors serve as guides and role models in the research endeavors. They pass on their
passion, expertise, and knowledge to you as they work with you on tasks of increasing complexity
and responsibility. The Mentor aids you by introducing you to fellow professionals in the field, and
fostering a relationship of mutual respect and collegiality. In doing so, Faculty Mentors meet with
you on a regular basis and assist you with the following tasks:
• Development of a research proposal;
• Identification of appropriate research goals;
• Devising a timeline that is ambitious yet attainable;
• The use of appropriate research methods, data collection, interpretation, and evaluation;
• The use of appropriate methods to document activities and findings;
• Making changes to the direction and/or topic of the research project;
• Conducting a substantive review of research results for presentation and publication;
• Assist in your selection of potential graduate programs;
• Provide a letter of recommendation and review your Research Statement (if required), when
you apply to graduate programs.

The Role of the Faculty Mentor in Preparation for Graduate Studies

The role of every faculty member includes academic and career advising. While the McNair
Program provides information and opportunities to learn about graduate programs, Faculty Mentors
provide McNair Scholars with discipline-specific information and other support as needed. The
list that follows represents many of the ways in which Faculty Mentors support you on your path to
graduate education:
• Enhance your understanding of the opportunities and demands of graduate education.
• Introduce you to sources of information regarding graduate programs.
• Help you evaluate graduate programs.
• Assist you with the identification of academic and professional contacts.
• Assist you with applications for educational, research, and financial support.
• Assist you in the preparation of graduate school applications.
• Serve as a resource and reference for you.

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities during the McNair Research Internship

Faculty Members who agree to work with a McNair Scholar should be prepared to:

1) Research Project

• Complete and sign a Mentor Contract, after discussing the objectives of the McNair
Research Internship with the Scholar;
• Assist the Scholar in the design of the research project;
• Ensure that the McNair Research Project has an academic basis that allows the Scholar to
engage in all aspects of the research process;
• Meet with the Scholar regularly, and at least on a bi-weekly basis;
• Assist the Scholar in preparing an itemized Budget for research supplies, travel and other
allowed expenses (budget maximum: $300.00) by the date indicated on the McNair
Research Internship syllabus;
• Monitor and manage the process and progress of the Scholar's research.

2) Scholarly Paper

• Review drafts of the project and suggest corrections;
• Approve the final draft of the research paper before submission to the McNair Program
• Sponsor the Scholar's Research Project for inclusion in the EMU Undergraduate
• Attend the McNair Research Colloquium at the completion of the McNair Research
• Assist the Scholar in preparing a formal presentation of the research for a local or national
• Assist the Scholar in preparing the project for submission for publication in a scholarly

3) Report the Scholar's Progress

• Provide an Interim and Final Report on the Scholar's research activities;
• Contact the McNair Program staff with any concerns about the Scholar or the Research

The McNair Scholar's Responsibilities in the Mentoring Relationship

The McNair Scholar's relationship with a Faculty Mentor is quite possibly the single most
important factor influencing your success. This relationship provides the support necessary for you
to prepare for entry into and successful completion of a doctoral program. A McNair Faculty
Mentor is indispensable to you as a role model, a trusted source for guidance, and an expert in their
field guiding your research endeavors. The following points are ways in which the mentors'
participation and support will be requested.

McNair Scholars should strive to build a productive working relationship with their Faculty
Mentors, and to learn from their expertise. The following guidelines have been compiled as points
for Scholars to consider as they build this relationship:
• Be proactive in the relationship with the Faculty Mentor. Ask for clarification, advice
and support when needed;
• Read your syllabus carefully and make your Mentor aware of requirements, dates and
• Meet with your mentor and go over the questions in the Mentor Contract. Ask your
Mentor to sign the contract and bring it to the McNair office;
• Schedule meetings well in advance and be aware that professors have many teaching and
research commitments;
• Attend EVERY scheduled meeting with the Faculty Mentor and BE ON TIME!
• Communicate with the Faculty Mentor openly and honestly;
• Be considerate of the Mentor's time and other responsibilities. Mentors are providing
Scholars a great service and are volunteering their time and energy;
• Keep a positive attitude and be receptive to advice and constructive criticism;
• Listen carefully and take notes;
• Commit to carrying out goals that were agreed upon, discussing any changes or difficulties
as they arise;
• Thank your mentor IN WRITING, in addition to offering verbal expressions of