Program Overview

The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience provides an intensive research experience for students working one-on-one with a faculty mentor. Students receive training in the research methods applicable to their specific project, employ critical analysis, and create written and oral presentations of their results.

The Council of Undergraduate Research defines undergraduate research as: An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.

It is expected that each project:

  • Produces a significant, high-impact student learning experience
  • Has well-defined objectives and methods
  • Requires engagement with the disciplinary literature
  • Involves both oral and written presentation of information

Student Expectations

  • Each student will work closely with a faculty mentor on a research project. Students and faculty mentors must discuss project commitment requirements prior to proposal submission (see Mentoring Models below).
  • Students will attend weekly interdisciplinary meetings conducted over the 8-week summer session. Meetings will be at 3:30 pm Wednesday afternoons (subject to change). Time spent at weekly interdisciplinary meetings must be recorded on students’ timecards and counts towards the maximum number of hours students can work each week based on their mentor model.
  • As this position is part of on-campus student employment, students cannot work more than 40 hours per week between their undergraduate research position and any other on-campus position they may have.
  • Each student is strongly encouraged to present the results of their research (either by delivering an oral presentation or participating in a poster session) first at GeekFest during the fall semester and then again at the Westminster Student Showcase during the spring semester of that academic year. They are also encouraged to present at other regional and/or national conferences.

Student Compensation

Any Westminster student can apply if they will be enrolled as an undergraduate for Fall 2024.

Students selected to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research program will be hired as hourly employees of the university and paid $12 per hour for the 2024 Summer term. Depending on the mentor model approved, students can earn up to $3,000 over the course of the 8-week summer experience. Westminster pays employees using direct deposit on a bi-monthly schedule.

Hourly wages are set by Student Employment. Project selection is contingent upon funding availability, eligibility of the project, satisfactory progress, and participation in interdisciplinary research support meetings. Support for the Summer Undergraduate Research program comes from various programs, including the Gore Math/Science Endowment, Eskuche Fund, Great Salt Lake Institute, Dee Foundation, Martin Fund, Office of the Provost, and W.M. Keck Foundation.

The Teaching, Learning, and Resource faculty committee will consider all project proposals and make recommendations concerning the awarding of funds. Projects eligible for grants allow a student and Westminster faculty member to work collaboratively during the summer. Students may approach a potential faculty mentor with a specific research topic in mind or ask a potential faculty mentor to suggest possible research projects that would be appropriate. In either case, a mutual agreement between the student and potential faculty mentor regarding general project goals must be identified prior to submission of an application.

Mentoring Models, Faculty Compensation, and Faculty/Student Expectations

Faculty are compensated based on the faculty responsibilities, including the mentoring model, identified in the proposal. Funding amounts within the ranges listed for each mentoring model are determined by the total number of submissions received, faculty self-report of effort, and number of students supervised. Any faculty participating in the Summer Research program must attend in weekly interdisciplinary research meetings based on their particular field of study. A project’s mentoring model dictates meeting attendance and participation. There are 3 mentoring models. Faculty and/or students working remotely must commit to the equivalent meeting time and style for any of these models using appropriate technology (Microsoft Teams, etc.).

  • Full-Time Student-Faculty Team Model: The faculty mentor is a collaborator engaged in the project along with the student(s) providing consistent supervision, multiple times a week (e.g., due to difficult technical or safety needs) and feedback on the work and/or ideas.
    • Faculty works with students at least 9 hours a week and attends and participates in a minimum of 6 interdisciplinary meetings. Compensation: $3,000.
    • Student works up to 31.25 hours per week which consists of work done on the funded project as well as attending all 8 weekly interdisciplinary meetings. Total summer compensation will range from $2,000–$3,000 depending on how many hours the student records on their timecard.
  • Part-Time Student-Faculty Team Model: The faculty mentor is a collaborator engaged in the project along with a student(s) providing consistent, but periodic, supervision and feedback on the work and/or ideas. Minimum of weekly student/mentor meetings.
    • Faculty works with students at least 6 hours a week and attends and participates in a minimum of 4 interdisciplinary meetings. Compensation: $2,000.
    • Student works 10-20 hours per week which consists of work done on the funded project as well as attending all 8 weekly interdisciplinary meetings. Total summer compensation will range from $1,000-$2,000 depending on how many hours the student records on their timecard.
  • Independent Researcher Model: The faculty mentor periodically advises the student on a project that is by and large the student's idea and effort. Minimum of bi-weekly student/mentor meetings.
    • Faculty works with students at least 3 hours a week and attends and participates in a minimum of 2 interdisciplinary meetings. Compensation $1,000.
    • Student works 5-10 hours per week which consists of work done on the funded project as well as attending all 8 weekly interdisciplinary meetings. Total summer compensation will range from $500-$1,000 depending on how many hours the student records on their timecard.

Once project selection and funding details are sent out, all faculty and students participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program must attend an orientation during April 2024. These orientations will help faculty and students complete the new hire process and review student employee timekeeping, supervisor responsibilities which fall onto faculty mentors, and other employment guidelines pertaining to the program. Faculty and students who do not attend an orientation meeting will not receive funding. Faculty only need to attend one orientation if mentoring multiple students. If you have an issue attending one of the orientations, please email Ann Day (aday@westminsteru.edu).

ORIENTATION DATES

  • Tuesday, April 9 | 12:15–1:15 p.m. | Dick Hall 120
  • Friday, April 12 | 9:30–10:30 a.m. | Malouf 201
  • Wednesday, April 17 | 4–5:00 p.m. | Dick Hall 117
  • Friday, April 19 | 2–3:00 p.m. | Dick Hall 120

Students and faculty in the summer research program only need to attend one of the above orientation dates.

Proposal Details

To be considered for a grant, a project proposal must be submitted using the online form. The proposal should be a collaborative effort between the student and faculty member, but the faculty mentor must be the one to submit the form. If a faculty mentor plans to work with multiple students, they should submit 1 application per student. It may be helpful to compose and edit responses first by using a word processor and then cutting and pasting responses into the text boxes in the online form. There is no "Save Draft" function; once you click "Submit" your application will be submitted. All applications will be evaluated to make sure the information provided meets evaluation criteria where necessary.

Submitted proposal forms must:

  • Address each of the following in text:
    • Explain how the project will meet the research goals and outcomes. Information provided should meet the following evaluation criteria:
      • Well-defined objectives and methods
      • Substantial contact with the literature
      • Potential for original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline

Note: If the research project is a student-initiated, independent project the student should work with the faculty member to provide a project overview (the faculty member will include this in the proposal) that also addresses the research outcomes.

    • Describe the nature of the student responsibilities and activities in the project.
    • Explain how the project will meet the expected student learning outcomes. Information provided should meet the following evaluation criteria:
      • Positive student learning outcomes, emphasizing 1 or more university-wide learning goals
      • Training in the research methods and analysis applicable to the specific project
      • Both oral and written presentation of information
      • Clearly communicated purpose
      • Project evaluation and feedback plan from faculty mentor
    • Describe the nature of the faculty responsibilities in the project. This must include an evaluation and feedback plan.
  • If applicable, provide a checklist detailing the institutional support (funds, materials, human resources) required beyond the funding you would receive if the request were approved. A separate text box has been provided for this.
  • Include a selection indicating each of the following:
    • The mentoring model that best describes the work being done with the student
    • The field of study (science and math, social and behavioral sciences, fine arts and humanities, or professional)
    • Whether or not the project pertains to the Great Salt Lake
    • Whether or not the project pertains to environmental studies
  • Include student-provided answers to the following 3 questions, which should meet the evaluation criteria detailed for each:
    • What is the primary reason you are interested in conducting research and participating in this summer undergraduate research program?
      • Evaluation Criteria: The student's answer demonstrates an understanding of scholarship in their field and its value to their education.
    • What are your research interests and skills that are relevant to this research project? You can include any past research experience where appropriate.
      • Evaluation Criteria: The student's answer demonstrates some specific interest and some research or research-related experience.
    • What are your post-graduation plans? How will your participation in this research program help with these plans?
      • Evaluation Criteria: The student's answer demonstrates an understanding of how research fits into their career plans.

Application

  • Deadline for Submission: March 24, 2024
  • Notification: April 1–April 5, 2024
  • Questions? Email Ann Day (aday@westminsteru.edu).