Research Mentor FAQ

What is the role of a first- or second-year undergraduate student in a research project?

As a new research assistant, students are being introduced to basic research principles and methods, and usually in this stage serve to bolster library and literature review support, transcriptions, development of course materials, laboratory/survey research, and application of computer technologies, among other tasks. Mentor discretion is the primary determinant of students' project roles. 

What is the role of a third- or fourth-year undergraduate student in a research project?

At this later stage, many students have had exposure to research projects, while some have not. The research mentor will uncover current skillsets in their interviews and guide the research assistant appropriately to tasks that parallel their experience levels. For many of our former, upper division UROP students, mentors will generally find both ability and willingness to engage greater levels of autonomy and responsibility in the research process.

How is faculty participation in undergraduate research recognized?

As an asset for potential consideration for future promotion and tenure in FSU's CV management system (Faculty Expertise and Advancement System or "FEAS"), additional materials grants support, student-nominated awards for mentor excellence, and potential use in future grants applications. A more comprehensive description is provided in our updated UROP Research Mentors Handbook.

What are some advantages of working with an undergraduate student on my project?

The hallmark of a great research university is the ability to promote quality research opportunities for all students, regardless of background or socioeconomic status. As an undergraduate mentor, benefits are numerous, especially, a) extra research support to enhance greater productivity, b) establishment of interest and visibility to your discipline or study, c) promotion of a pipeline of future interest and support for current or future research lines, and d) satisfaction for playing a role in FSU's nationally recognized undergraduate and university research enterprise. 

What are reasonable expectations of an undergraduate researcher?

As previously stated, mentor discretion is the primary determinant of students' project roles. Likely, first- and second-year students will require greater direct mentoring and supervision, while upper division students may be able to engage involvement opportunities from day one with little support. 

How many hours per week are students available to work on the research project?

UROP students are generally expected to contribute between 5-10 hours weekly during their mentor-led research assistantships, while other students working under either DIS or Federal Work-Study programs may be subject to different time commitments. Much of these details will be worked out during the mentor and research assistant interviews. Consulting CRE Director Latika Young, department guidelines, and our current mentor handbook are valuable assets for more information.

How much time is involved in mentoring a student?

Consideration for time commitments are outlined in our UROP Research Mentors Handbook, in the section, "Your Role as UROP Research Mentor." Although time commitments are expected to be greater in the early phases of initial hire, mentors should consider including undergraduate research assistants in as much of the research planning, meetings, implementation, and dissemination as possible.

How do I hire a student to work with me?

With the support of their UROP leaders, prospective research assistants view mentor project listings and select particular projects of interest. The student initiates contact with the prospective mentor(s), and the research mentor will then select student(s) to schedule interviews with. The mentor makes the selection of the student(s) to hire, and the new research assistant will submit a contract for the mentor to sign, and the CRE will complete the paperwork. Additionally, the CRE supports faculty by advertising undergraduate research assistantships outside of UROP to the student body at large, such as those available through independent funding, DIS credit, or other means of support.

What if I need to be away from the University while I am mentoring a student?

It is understood that mentors may need to travel during the course of a student's research assistantship. In these cases, we suggest that the mentor appoint another research team member for the student to report, and that clear expectations are provided for the work expectations during your absence. If a mentor is previously aware of an extensive travel schedule during a particular semester, it is likely best that the mentor delay working with their undergraduate until the following academic year.

Does my research project need to be funded?

A broad appeal of the UROP program for many of our mentors is that existing or proposed research projects do not need to be funded. In some cases, research assistants have been hired for purposes of supporting preparation for future projects. The CRE supports all research assistants throughout their entire experience, and students are compensated through Federal Work-Study and/or academic credit. Furthermore, assistantships can also be arranged for DIS credit, as internships, or on a volunteer basis.

What if I experience a problem with my student?

Under certain circumstances, the faculty-student relationship or work performance may experience tension. Given the extensive application and interview process, and prior involvement and screening already in place, we expect such circumstances to be rare. As a proactive measure, the CRE already has an existing protocol to address such issues. Student UROP leaders are available as liaisons between faculty and research assistants, and can be contacted for such issues, see here.  If a mentor is not comfortable with this channel, or for any other issues, the CRE asks that the mentor contact our office at 850-645-0987, or communicate concerns with our Senior Associate Director Alicia Batailles at The strength of CRE programs result from our efforts to encourage and keep the lines of communication wide open with our mentor support team.

Can I receive supplementary funding for my research project?

In the UROP program, mentors are able to submit a separate supplementary application for a small materials grant. The process is explained in detail in our UROP Research Mentors Handbook, in the section Mentor Considerations. To view the application, see here.

What is the possibility of keeping a student after they complete their UROP year?

UROP is often the catalyst for enduring and lasting faculty-student scholarly relationships. The CRE enthusiastically encourages students to continue working with mentors following program involvement. In the past, Work-Study funding, DIS credit, internship, and volunteer opportunities have been support methods to continue a student's participation. Mentors may also consider looking into their own departments or faculty members for additional means of research assistant support available.

Are there opportunities for my undergraduate research assistants (or DIS or Honors in the Major students) to present their work?

Presentation is a benchmark of the undergraduate research experience. All UROP participants are required to share, as poster presentations, their research contributions at our annual spring Undergraduate Research Symposium. Furthermore, CRE summer research award winners present in the fall at the Fall Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence. The CRE also encourages additional dissemination events such as presentation opportunities at the ACC's Meeting of the Minds Conferences, and our annual trip to the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC).

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