CTL: Center for Teaching and Learning

Resources for Faculty Mentors of Undergraduate Research at Lewis-Clark State College

Undergraduate Research as a High-Impact Practice

Undergraduate research is a High-Impact Educational Practice (HIP)/Active Learning Practice that has been widely tested and been shown to be beneficial as part of the General Education core. The Association of American Colleges & Universities contend “the goal [of undergraduate research] is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions” (Kuh, George D. “High-Impact Educational Practices: A Brief Overview.” The Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2008).

Increasingly, participation in undergraduate-level research is becoming a required activity for students to earn merit-based scholarships and awards, acceptance into graduate schools, and competitive internship opportunities. Haeger and Fresquez found that “students mentored in research had significantly higher cumulative grade point averages [compared to] a matched set of peers.” Additionally, “extended engagement in research yielded significantly higher development of research-related skills and level of independence in research” (Haeger, Heather and Carla Fresquez. “Mentoring for Inclusion: The Impact of Mentoring on Undergraduate Researchers in the Sciences.” CBE Life Sciences Education, 2016).

Research Mentorship at LCSC

Most students at LCSC complete a senior research project and/or anther form of undergraduate research during their undergraduate careers. Research expectations vary across majors and disciplines, and faculty mentors expressed a desire for some consistent, stable resources. We contacted LCSC instructors who are currently leading senior project/thesis courses. These instructors provided their course syllabi. We also gathered research on current and best practices for mentoring undergraduate research and on best practices for mentoring in general.

The Project: Mentoring Resources for Faculty

 These resources will help mentors (and mentees) address some of the following questions:

  •  How can I formally document the research expectations and goals?
  • I don’t have much time. Where can I quickly get some ideas on how to mentor undergraduate researchers more effectively?
  • How have other LCSC professors structured their senior research courses? Are sample syllabi available?
  •  I am curious. Are there any unique approaches I should employ when mentoring first-generation students or millennials?
  • I have some extra time. Is there further reading on the subject?

The Resources

Looking Ahead

Current research makes it entirely clear that undergraduate research, in its variety of forms, is a positive experience for students. We have shared theses resources with the LCSC community. We envision them as living documents.

Please contact either Julie Bezzerides or Marlowe DalyGaleano with any suggestions or contributions.

Additional reading and resources