The Mentored Undergraduate Researcher program in the School of Education at Brigham Young University provides opportunities for undergraduate students to work with faculty mentors on joint research projects.
These research projects should conform to the following standards, created by the Office of Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) for Mentoring Environments grants:
- Students should have access to faculty (and/or mentoring teams) for sufficient time to allow development of personal and professional relationships.
- Students should be involved in programs and processes for which scholarship and/or forms of academic activities constitute the core of their experiences.
- Students should be given opportunities to develop skills and increase in responsibility during the project or experience.
- Students should be provided opportunities and examples for integration of spiritual and secular understanding.
- Mentored experiences should be pertinent to future situations of the students and ideally would assist the students in attaining the next level of their chosen disciplines.
- Mentoring environments may facilitate faculty development and should contribute to the university in meaningful ways.
- Where appropriate, students should become co-authors or co-creators of some significant work.
See the Proposal Guidelines for a more complete description of the criteria that will be used to prioritize proposals for funding.
Most students work 5-10 hours a week as a MUR during winter and fall semesters, including time that they are being mentored. Some may decide in consultation with the faculty mentor to work fewer hours during those semesters so they can work a few hours during spring and/or summer terms as well. Only 300 total hours per year are budgeted for each student who works more than one semester. For this effort students will be paid initially at the basic university student rate (though most of them work up to higher rates the longer they participate in this program). From these efforts students will experience the excitement and frustration of research first hand, and they should have opportunities to become co-authors of reports and papers. They will be expected to work on the project for at least one full semester and to sign an agreement with their mentor professor clearly specifying the products or tasks that they will complete and indicating how long they will work with the professor.
Because this is an academic program, students who participate must register for a 3-credit seminar (IP&T 470) both winter and fall semesters (assuming they want to work both). The class will not meet during spring or summer. During this class the instructor will provide overviews of inquiry purposes and methods and will involve the students and their professor mentors in summarizing their projects in terms of their research problem and purpose, methods used, plans for publishing, role of the student, role of the professor as mentor, and so on. Students will also be expected to complete some short writing assignments throughout the winter and fall semesters.
Faculty and students are invited to apply by the last Friday in October for participation in the program the following calendar year (MUR funding goes from January to December each year). Funding decisions will be made by mid-November so faculty can use the rest of fall semester to recruit the student(s) they want to work with. Students may hear of this project and contact Dr. Davies or Dr. Larsen who will refer them to the faculty proposals, and students will be invited to contact faculty whose work interests them. However, the ideal way of identifying students for most faculty has been through their own classes and other student contacts.