Once you have hired a student, UROP asks you to orient the student to the project and provide training. While you may have a graduate student or research assistant working with the UROP student on a day to day basis, UROP Mentors are expected to assume the primary responsibility for insuring that the student has a quality experience.
Supervision of UROP students include:
- Schedule their time and provide a minimum of 6 hours per of work each week
- Orient them to the research project
- Provide background readings and discuss the development of the current project
- Monitor their work and sign time sheets every two weeksInclude them in research group meetings
- Meet with them on a regular basis to discuss their progress and performance on the project
- Engage them in conversations about their current academic experiences and their career interests
- Provide midterm progress reports and final grades and evaluations.
Every year UROP provides an orientation and additional training for sponsors who would like to learn how to make the best of their mentorship relationship with their undergraduate research assistant.
Creating Effective Student/Research Mentor Partnerships
We know from years of experience that there are several keys to establishing an effective student/research mentor partnership. The following is our top ten list of what makes a good experience for everyone.
- Make sure you choose students who are enthusiastic about the content of the project. It isn’t always the student with the best grades or test scores who make the best UROP student. Time and again sponsors tell us the most successful UROP student was the one who seemed most excited about the project and/or had some personal connection to the content.
- In most cases UROP students will be working on a very small part of your overall project. The more the student knows about the goals of the project, the role their part plays in the overall project, and the background information for the project, the more invested they will be in the work.
- Set clear expectations for the project and what tasks you will be giving the student and why. Also be clear about what it takes to be given increasing responsibility on the project and what the student needs to do to be given more complex and high level tasks as they progress.
- Establish your policies about schedules, when and where you expect the student to be, what they should do if they are not able to come in or realize they have an exam or other conflict. How much in advance do you expect to be notified? Through what means, email, a phone call, etc., who should they contact?
- Set up regular meeting times with your student to touch base, review progress and performance, answer questions, etc.
- Orient the student to the project through background readings to help the student understand the context of the project, introducing the student to the others working o the project and their roles, specify what training the student will need and what UROP skill building workshops they must attend, who will be supervising them etc.
- Make sure you are clear about your policies regarding question asking (e.g. you would rather have the student ask something more than once than make a mistake, there are no stupid questions), note taking, the best way to communicate with you. Good communication is the key to a successful partnership.
- Spend a minute every now and then asking the student a question about their classes, campus life, it is invaluable to the student.
- If the student is doing something wrong, give them feedback right away. In most cases it should be something they can fix if they understand what they are doing wrong.
- Contact the UROP office right away if there is a problem, our goal is to help you resolve the issue quickly.