Following an extensive review of the literature on mentoring undergraduate research, ten salient practices emerged which support effective mentoring of undergraduate researchers. These practices can be used to develop a mentoring pedagogy of high quality.

Page 5 of 5

  • Invest time early in the process for project selection and planning
  • Consider wide variability in preparation, motivation and skills
  • Set achievable timelines
  • Don’t underestimate potential for authentic scholarship

Learn more

  • Attend to fluctuating needs of students at different points in the process
  • Provide strong support early on
  • Gradually give students more independence
  • Outline your expectations in learning contracts or syllabi

Learn more

  • Introduce students to the expectations of research in your discipline
  • Guide students through the technical practices needed to support project goals (e.g., protocols for labs, databases, studios, archives, software)
  • Emphasize the importance of ethical standards and safety

Learn more

  • Provide positive yet constructive feedback
  • Remain approachable to minimize anxiety and bolster confidence
  • Adapt your emphasis to suit student needs

Learn more

  • Build trusting interpersonal relationships on the team
  • Practice intentional team development
  • Engage the team in common interest, non-research activities to foster connections

Learn more

  • Minimize false assumptions regarding ability and progress
  • Provide personalized guidance and advice
  • Exemplify the value of time-intensive, hands-on mentoring experiences with students

Learn more

  • Explain how student tasks relate to larger project goals
  • Welcome student opinions about their work
  • Listen with patience and openness
  • Foster autonomy by giving students ownership of specific tasks and important aspects of the overall project

Learn more

  • Provide networking opportunities by introducing students to colleagues on campus and at conferences
  • Students often report that networking opportunities in informal environments are even more meaningful than presenting research at conferences

Learn more

  • Create intentional opportunities for peers and near-peers to learn mentoring skills
  • Model the characteristics of a successful researcher—as well as of a successful mentor
  • Address different learning styles
  • Provide guidance for expectations of the relationships

Learn more

  • Develop avenues for dissemination: essential to student understanding of what it means to be a scholar
  • Have students present work to peers, experts, community: best way to develop oral and written communication skills
  • Take students to conferences: most important thing mentor did for them, access to students across demographic groups

Learn more