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One of the most important components of the McNair Scholars Program is the faculty mentor/scholar relationship. The benefits of this program for the Scholar depend to a large extent on this connection. Thus, while the faculty mentor is certainly instrumental in the completion of Scholars’ research, we envision the faculty mentor commitment to a particular student to continue for the duration of their undergraduate career to encourage, motivate and assist in preparing McNair Scholars for doctoral studies.

The mentor/scholar relationship fosters:

  • Raised self-esteem
  • Affirmation of potential
  • Orientation to department
  • Access to information
  • Connection to resources
  • Empowerment
  • Confidence
  • Networking in the field
  • Understanding of the professorate
  • Academic support

What does a faculty mentor do?

If one commits to a faculty mentorship, the responsibilities assumed include:

  • advocating for scholar’s academic success;
  • sharing stories and insights on navigating through the educational system;
  • providing resources and access to educational contacts in the scholar’s chosen field;
  • academic advising and assisting in the development of an individual academic plan for the scholar;
  • assessing the scholar’s skills and assisting with plans to mitigate deficiencies of skills necessary for successful graduate studies;
  • working with the scholar and the project to help assure the student graduates with the skills necessary for successful graduate studies; and
  • participating in seminars with the McNair Scholars Program.

The faculty mentor relationship is intended to heighten the students’ understanding and enjoyment of their academic experience. Aside from providing academic and career advice and designing the research project in conjunction with the Scholar, mentors will suggest articles to read, share their personal graduate school experiences, listen to and respond to Scholar concerns, discuss strategies for studying/time management, and introduce Scholars to networking opportunities.

Specific Research project guidelines:

  • Faculty mentors will oversee the scholar research project.
  • Research projects will have an academic basis that allows the student to learn the research process.
  • Faculty mentors will monitor and manage the process of the research. Faculty mentors should be available to the students to assist with problems or questions.

Faculty mentors will help the students with all components of the research including:

  • Final draft of the research proposal to be submitted to McNair Staff;
  • Final draft of research paper submitted to McNair program;
  • Formal presentation of the research at a local or national conference;
  • Preparation of paper for submission to the UCF Undergraduate Research Journal.
  • Faculty may be invited to serve as guest lecturers during the spring and summer semester on research applications in their field, statistical procedures used, testing hypotheses and how to interpret and present data.

What is the benefit to the faculty mentor?

The benefit of being a faculty mentor is, most importantly, a deep sense of satisfaction from directly contributing to a student’s academic advancement through positive role modeling. Some funds are available for mentor and scholar pairs to attend appropriate professional conferences to present their research as the scholar prepares to apply for graduate school.

What qualifications are necessary?

A McNair Faculty Mentor must have a strong desire to work with the student population served by the McNair Program, have recent research experience, and adequate time to commit to the McNair Scholar. Mentors’ expectations of the students must be high.