Faculty who sponsor student UTRA projects not only benefit from the assistance with a particular research or course development project; they are also energized by the fresh insights that undergraduates bring to their work. UTRAs provide faculty with an opportunity to mentor a nascent scholar in their field, a uniquely satisfying form of teaching.
Sponsors of undergraduate collaborations are normally members of the faculty holding teaching appointments. Research faculty who wish to sponsor UTRAs should describe their past and current experience working with undergraduates. Prospective UTRA sponsors are encouraged to review the Applying for an UTRA section of this website for instructions and insight into the selection criteria.
Components of a Successful UTRA
Applications should show evidence of collaboration between student and faculty. The goal of the UTRA is not to assign students into prefabricated summer jobs, but to support opportunities that serve the intellectual intersts of both parties. Ideally, contact between students and faculty should be structured into the project. The UTRA Committee expects that the student and faculty member will meet a minimum of once per week to discuss the ongoing work. Students should not be expected to work independently for long stretches without adequate mentoring.
Since the nature of projects varies greatly, the UTRA program does not enforce specific start and end dates for summer research. Students and faculty decide on mutually agreeable dates for their UTRA projects to begin and end. Our expectation is that the projects will span a ten-week period and students will devote at least thirty-five hours per week to their projects.
By University policy, students cannot earn both course credit and wages or stipends for the same research hours. Therefore, we cannot award UTRAs to students who will be concurrently enrolled in an independent study or honors thesis course for the same project.