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CAS Undergraduate Research Program
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CAS Undergraduate Research

Faculty Awards

Faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences who mentor undergraduate students on scholarly work are eligible for the Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor Award.

Award Receipients

2012-2013: Dr. Jason Hurlbert, Department of Chemistry, Physics and Geology
2011-2012: Dr. Joseph Rusinko, Department of Mathematics

What is a mentor?

Mentoring is an essential element in the development of undergraduate researchers. All undergraduate research mentors serve as guides, resources, and role models for methods of inquiry in a chosen field of study and for the responsible conduct of research; they support and encourage the dissemination of the student's work through conference participation, publication, etc. Thus mentors often provide students with their first entry into professional circles.

An outstanding undergraduate research mentor engages in faculty-student mentoring relationships that are both productive and transformative. Such a mentor will motivate students as they transition from "consumers" of knowledge into "producers" of original, intellectual, or creative contributions to their disciplines. Part of this process is often getting the students to believe that they can become scholars and instilling students with a sense of ownership of their work along with a passion for developing new knowledge. Typically, such transformative relationships have a tremendous impact on a students' academic, professional, and personal development.

Who nominates?

This award is student-nominated. Nominations may come from current undergraduates or students who graduated no earlier than one semester prior to submitting their nomination.

What is the nomination process?

Students submit a nomination by following the instructions found in the CAS Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor Nomination Guidelines (pdf - 10.75 KB).

Nominations will be received each fall and spring semester, with the award recipient being determined each spring.

Students will be informed of the opportunity to nominate through e-mail, departmental postings, and other campus advertisements. The goal will be to disseminate this information to all undergraduate researchers in the CAS.

What happens after a faculty mentor is nominated?

The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will be notified of the list of nominees.

The department chair for each nominee will be asked to provide a statement of support. If the department chair chooses, he/she may designate someone else in the department, other than the nominee, to write the statement. If the department chair is a nominee, the CAS Dean will designate one of more faculty members in the department who have not been nominated for the award to write the statements for candidates.

The purpose of this statement is to provide a broader context in which to interpret the student nomination information.

How will the award recipient be determined?

The selection committee will give priority to the information provided by the student researcher. The remarks provided by the nominee's colleagues will be considered as supportive evidence but will not carry more weight than the student nomination.

If the number of nominations is insufficient, the award may not be given in a particular year.

What will be the composition of the selection committee?

The CAS Director of Undergraduate Research will be a standing member of the committee.

Six additional faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences will serve on this committee. These six committee members will be selected from among previous award winners.

To ensure appropriate diversity on the committee, at least one faculty member will be chosen from each of the following areas: sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Representation from the three areas will take priority over including previous award winners.

Until six or more previous winners have been identified, or if previous winners do not represent the three scholarly areas, the six additional faculty members will be selected by the CAS Dean and Director of Undergraduate Research. Faculty members who have been nominated for the award will not be eligible to serve on the committee during the year in which they are nominated. Committee members will be selected based on their involvement in undergraduate research and availability.

Two students will also serve on the selection committee. These students will be selected by the CAS Dean and Director of Undergraduate Research. Student members will be selected from the following subset of students:

  • Previous winners of the Inez Bell Caskey Award in the CAS (either current undergraduates or recent graduates)
  • Students who have received some other award recognition for their undergraduate research, such as research-based scholarships, professional awards, or grant money
  • Students involved in undergraduate research who have not nominated a faculty mentor in the year that they serve on the committee

When will the award be given?

Nominations will be accepted every fall and spring semester. The selection committee will meet in April of each academic year to select an award recipient. Award recipients will be announced before the end of the spring semester.

All nominees will receive a letter notifying them of their nomination.