Mentoring in Research

Home/ Effective Teaching/ Mentorship/ 

Mentoring In Research

Centre students often reach a point in their college experience when they are ready for challenges beyond traditional classroom discussion and testing. When they are ready for a new level of discovery, Centre offers students the opportunity to become partners in learning with Centre faculty. 

Ways in which you can mentor an undergraduate student in research: 

Students who conduct research with their mentors are encouraged to participate in the RICE Symposium. 

Defining Research

The Council on Undergraduate Research defines undergraduate research as,

A mentored investigation or creative inquiry conducted by undergraduates that seeks to make a scholarly or artistic contribution to knowledge.”

The nature of the partnership may vary according to the student’s field. A drama student might ask their professor to guide him in writing and producing a play, while a chemistry major might want to join their professor for a summer of intense laboratory research. Whatever the field, this collaborative work becomes an important bridge to significant work or graduate study beyond the Centre years. 

As a result of participating in undergraduate research at Centre, students will be able to: 

Mentoring Tips

Content heavily borrowed from Colorado State University, University of Kansas, Metropolitan State University, and Shanahan et al. (2015)—Ten Salient Practices of Undergraduate Research Mentors.

Course-based Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is typically either apprentice-based or course-based. Course-based research has been shown to have similar outcomes to apprentice-based research (Shapiro et al. 2015). Course-based research has an additional benefit in that it makes research experiences available to all students, making research more inclusive (Bangera & Brownell 2014).


Research can be incorporated into a class in varying ways, from fully fledged research projects completed as an investigation by the entire class to focusing on smaller aspects of research to develop research skills, and is also flexible, in that it can utilize independent or group work. Student learning outcomes can be focused on different aspects of the research process. For example, an upper-level course may include all of the steps in the research process to complete a full research project, while an introductory course may focus on research skills related to understanding the scholarly conversation.



Funding for summer undergraduate research projects can be applied for through the Faculty Development Committee.

There are also many external sources of funding in all disciplines that undergraduate students can apply for to support their research. Some may require a letter of support from a mentor or advisor. Note—deadlines may not be up to date depending on the grant cycle.

External Research Funding Sources

The Best Photography Grants

Artist Grant

Kentucky Academy of Science has undergraduate research grants

Share grant and funding opportunities with your mentees, but also students in your classes. Mentioning or posting opportunities at the beginning of class is a good mentorship practice that shows you care about students beyond your individual classroom.

REUs and Internships

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports undergraduate research funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF). REUs are like summer internships, and NSF has research in many fields with opportunities listed here: Search for an REU Site. Share this link with your students. Opportunities are usually updated in the fall, and application deadlines are usually in February.

While not as comprehensive, there are also some lists of REU-like opportunities in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Arts & Humanities | Undergraduate Research Experiences

Social Sciences and the Humanities

American Psychological Association

Pathways to Science database has REUs and internships in almost every discipline.

Keep in mind – New opportunities listed on most of these sites aren’t updated until fall.

Share these links and information with your students. Post it on your course website or take a few minutes at the beginning of class to announce it.

Conferences and Presentation Events

Conferences and presentation events are a great way to help your students practice communication in their field and build their network (Helm et al. 2013; Gumbhir 2014; Little 2020).

At Centre, students can present at the RICE Symposium which is held near the end of the spring semester. Presentation types include oral presentations (talks), poster presentations, performance pieces, and artwork.

The Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) has an annual meeting: KAS Annual Meeting. The 2023 KAS meeting is November 3 & 4 at Northern Kentucky University. Abstracts are due October 1.