Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers: Faculty Mentors Perceptions Of The Challenges And Benefits Of The Research Relationship

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Sharyn J. Potter
Eleanor Abrams
Lisa Townson
Julie E. Williams

Keywords

Mentoring, Faculty, Undergraduate Research

Abstract

In the past decade, college and university officials have tried to formalize avenues that provide undergraduate students with opportunities to conduct research, either in direct collaboration with a faculty member or as independent research under the supervision of a faculty member.  Administrators and faculty have worked to institutionalize these programs because they recognize the intrinsic benefits of these faculty student collaborations.  Since most faculty balance a wide range of demands, we wanted to understand how faculty members view these partnerships in the larger context of their work.  In 2008, as the Undergraduate Research Conference at our midsize public New England University entered its ninth year, the evaluation committee administered a survey to examine faculty members’ attitudes toward undergraduate research endeavors. Our results show that faculty felt overwhelmingly positive about their role as mentors. Full professors indicate more satisfaction in this role than associate and assistant professors.

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