Program Components

  • Faculty who would like to mentor an URSA Engage student(s) will express their interest by submitting the Mentor Summary Form which will include information about the mentor’s research focus, examples of potential projects, a mentoring plan, and contact information.
  • Faculty Mentor summaries will be posted on the URSA webpage for students to see. Once summaries are posted, students will begin to reach out to you using the contact information you provide.
  • Students cannot apply to the program unless they have a faculty member who is committed to mentoring them if they are selected for the program. As students begin to reach out, you will need to decide how many (and which) students you will allow to apply to the URSA Engage Program under your mentorship. 
  • The Office of URSA will then evaluate the student applications we receive.
  • We do not have a limit on how many students a faculty mentor can allow to apply to the URSA Engage Program. However, because we have no way of knowing how many of your students will be accepted into the program, we strongly recommend that you do not let more students apply than you think you can effectively mentor. Faculty mentors of URSA Engage awardees will need to commit to meeting with URSA Engage awardees at least once a week, or 2-3 times a quarter if a graduate student or postdoc is available to meet with the mentee at least once a week. This program is designed for early-career undergraduates and quality mentoring is our highest priority.
  • After all applications have been submitted, we score students solely on their responses to questions on the student application. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the number of students you will end up mentoring. For example, if you allow three students to apply and their three applications receive very high scores, you may receive three students. However, if you allow two students to apply and their applications receive low scores, you may not receive any students. This will also depend on how many applications we receive and how many we are able to fund.
  • Students can only submit one application. If you do not have room for student, or think the student’s interests do not align with your own, let them know ASAP so they can find another URSA Engage mentor to apply with.
  • This program is intended to fund NEW student-faculty partnerships, not those that have already been in place. In order to be eligible, students must apply to work with mentors they have not worked with in the past.
  • Graduate students and post-doctoral scholars are not eligible to serve as the primary mentor submitting the application but may mentor URSA Engage Awardees along with the primary faculty mentor.
  • Mentors need to have approvals in place prior to commencement of URSA Engage projects for activities requiring compliance oversight (e.g. IRB, IACUC). Mentors should allow sufficient time for the review and approval process.
  • Students who are selected to participate in the program receive an award of $750, which goes directly into the student's OSU account. For each student who is selected to join the program, the faculty mentor will have $250 transferred into their index for project-related costs, unless they decide to forego these funds to allow additional students into the program.
  • Student awardees are expected to engage with their projects for an average of 5 hours a week for the 15-week duration of the project (mid-Winter 2021 to the end of Spring 2021). 

The URSA Engage Program includes all types of faculty members. Many professional faculty might be thinking – but I don’t do research! While you may not consider your position to be centered in research, you likely have research components integral to your units that students could help with (and benefit from!), such as needs assessments & program evaluation.

Do you have a question that you don’t know the answer to? Do you need to collect data or information to answer that question? Bingo! A major goal of the program is for students to learn basic research skills (e.g. designing surveys, writing literature reviews, navigating IRB, synthesizing data, analyzing data, drawing conclusions, writing reports/grants, collaborating, etc.). We define research broadly as “the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings.” Some may disagree with this definition, but if there’s a time to be flexible about how we define research, that time is now. Students who enroll at OSU expect (and deserve) to have experiences beyond the classroom. Moving to remote teaching and learning is making it difficult for early-career students to make important connections with faculty outside of class time. The URSA Engage Program helps facilitate these important (and often transformative) partnerships. We would love to have you listed as one of our faculty partners who is ready to mentor an early-career student this school year!

Here are some examples of projects completed by professional faculty and URSA Engage students in past years:

  • Dale McCauley (Makerspace Manager) worked with a student who conducted interviews to identify attributes that entrepreneurial students valued most in a four-year business program.
  • Kim McAloney (EOP Assistant Director of Engagement) worked with a student who explored the role mentorship plays in first-generation college students by using literary resources and personal testimonies.
  • Maureen Cochran (Director of Student Affairs Assessment) & Alex Aljets (Student Success Portfolio Manager) worked with two URSA Engage students who analyzed OSU’s data from the National Survey of Student Engagement.
  • Wiley Thompson (Regional Director, OSU Extension Service) worked with an URSA Engage student who explored demographic, economic, and social shifts in Oregon’s rural communities.
  • As you know, a key feature of effective mentoring is establishing clear expectations from the beginning. We have created a sample mentoring agreement for you to use with your undergraduate researcher(s) in order to make communication clearer and more effective. Click here to download it! After making this document your own, you may want to go over this agreement with new undergraduate researchers at your first meeting. Clearly articulating these details at the beginning of a student’s research experience could lead to a wide range of benefits, including preserving expensive equipment, avoiding miscommunication, contributing to a student’s sense of belonging, increasing student productivity and independence, and streamlining the research process.
  • The Office of URSA has launched a new campus-wide initiative this year called the Research for Undergraduates Network (RUN), which is intended to be a space for undergraduate research mentors (faculty, graduate students, & post-docs) and those who facilitate undergraduate research programs at OSU to collaborate and support each other. Ever wonder how to support your undergraduate researchers remotely? Or how to organize and train all of your undergraduate researchers using Canvas? Or how to better prepare your students for graduate school? Things are the types of things we discuss! Click here to check out our exciting events, including our "Lunch & Learn" series.
  • Monday morning coffee talks! Join us every Monday from 9-10 AM for informal conversations about promising practices in undergraduate research mentoring and how to most effectively run undergraduate research programs. We regularly invite guest speakers to join us and provide expertise in areas including graduate recruitment, Ecampus learning, and undergraduate researcher liability. Email pierszas@oregonstate.edu if you'd like to join via Zoom! 
  • Check out this live document compiled by OSU faculty with excellent ideas for engaging undergraduates in research remotely. Feel free to contribute!
  • Consider nominating someone for one of our new campus-wide awards for excellence in undergraduate research mentoring
  • Please check out these ten simple rules for building an anti-racist research lab.

Click here for more information about the URSA Engage Program and for important links to apply!