Mentoring and Student Research

One of the greatest privileges of being a university professor is the opportunity to work one-on-one with a great number of students, both as a mentor and as a facilitator of independent student research projects. Students are why I bother to show up; they are the reason I do this work. So mentoring and supporting their research has long been a centerpiece of my teaching. The following documents both reflect my attitudes toward this work and show working examples of it.

Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award Nomination (2015) — As a humanities professor at a STEM institution that engages thousands of undergraduates in research in probably nearly a hundred labs across campus, I never expected to win a university-level award for mentoring undergraduate research. Nominating materials for the award included a colleague’s letter, student letters of support, and my own philosophy of mentoring undergraduate researchers.

Academic Advising Award Application (2013) — I was one of Montana State University’s first recipients of its new university-wide advising award in 2013. This application includes a description of my advising work to that point, my advising philosophy, and supporting letters from students and my department chair.

“Uniform Meets Rhetoric” — Chapter co-authored with undergraduate Angie Mallory for Generation Vet: Composition, Student Veterans, and the Post-9/11 University (ed Sue Doe and Lisa Langstraat, USUP, 2014). Angie proposed the project to me and we ran the project as co-PIs.

Commented Undergrad Research carried to publication — In my Spring 2014 capstone research seminar for writing majors, a student produced a study of student-writer ethos which clearly had the potential for development to publication. This piece is the first complete draft I saw; the writer eventually submitted it to Young Scholars in Writing (the year before I became editor) and it was published.

Initial Edit of a YSW Submission — For ten years before becoming Editor of Young Scholars in Writing, I served as a Faculty Advising Editor, conducting initial reviews of students submissions and their accompanying peer reviews, deciding whether to accept the submission, and working with the writer on subsequent revisions. This commented draft is the first in-depth revision feedback after I’ve accepted the piece and the writer has agreed to the necessary revision.

Commented Graduate Student Drafting — To show some of my habits in commenting on student writing when the student is quite advanced and in a thought-constructing mode, I’ve included this synthesis paper written by a graduate student at the end of an independent study that led into her M.A. professional project, which I chaired.