Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

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Faculty Mentors

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 McNair Scholars as they work on tasks of increasing complexity
and responsibility. Faculty Mentors serve as aids by introducing McNair Scholars to fellow professionals in the field, and fostering a relationship of mutual respect and collegiality. In doing so, Faculty Mentors meet with
McNair Scholars on a regular basis and assist with the following tasks:

  • Developing a research proposal
  • Identifying appropriate research goals;
  • Devising a timeline that is ambitious yet attainable;
  • Using appropriate research methods, data collection, interpretation, and evaluation;
  • Using 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;
  • Assisting in your selection of potential graduate programs;
  • Providing letters of recommendation and reviewing your Research Statement (if required), during the graduate application process.

The Role of the Faculty Mentor in Preparation for Graduate Studies

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 McNair Scholars on their path to graduate education:

  • Enhance understanding of the opportunities and demands of graduate education;
  • Introduce sources of information regarding graduate programs;
  • Help evaluate graduate programs;
  • Assist with the identification of academic and professional contacts;
  • Assist with applications for educational, research, and financial support;
  • Assist in the preparation of graduate school applications;
  • Serve as a resource and reference.

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities during the McNair Research Internship

Faculty Members who agree to work with a McNair Scholar should be prepared to be involved in the following activities:

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 Director;
  • Sponsor the Scholar's Research Project for inclusion in the EMU Undergraduate Symposium;
  • Attend the McNair Research Colloquium at the completion of the McNair Research Internship;
  • Assist the Scholar in preparing a formal presentation of the research for a local or national conference;
  • Assist the Scholar in preparing the project for submission for publication in a scholarly journal.

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 Project.

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 in preparing
entry into and successful completion of a doctoral program. A McNair Faculty Mentor is indispensable as a role model, a trusted source for guidance, and an expert in their field guiding research endeavors. 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 deadlines;
  • 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 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 appreciation.