Benefits of Mentoring

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The majority of UNC-Chapel Hill faculty serve as mentors for undergraduate research projects or theses each year as reported by faculty A&S Faculty involvement in undergraduate research 2012.13 in data collected from faculty. They generally view their mentoring of undergraduates as a deeply satisfying form of teaching, although one that can require a major commitment of time and resources. Some are energized by the enthusiasm and fresh perspective that undergrads can bring. Others feel the responsibility to “give back”, and honor the faculty who mentored them by helping the next generation. With the launch of the Quality Enhancement Plan (pdf) in 2006, the University has declared its intention to make undergraduate research a distinctive feature of a Carolina education. An important part of the plan is the acknowledgement of faculty efforts in mentoring at both the Departmental and University levels, in addition to more resources to enable expansion of the potential mentor pool. We at the OUR hope that your “curiosity will lead you” to deepen your involvement with this essential aspect of the University’s research mission, and we welcome your ideas and feedback (our@unc.edu).

 

Responsibilities of Mentoring

Environment, Health and Safety

The University encourages the involvement of undergraduates in laboratory research, and recognizes that there may be special safety considerations when minors (including both undergraduates and high school students) are involved. Please review this website, ask your undergrad volunteer to fill out the on-line Laboratory Worker Registration Form (.pdf), and insure that your undergrad receives all the appropriate training. If you or your department have specific liability concerns, the OUR can assist your undergrad in obtaining a Student Internship Insurance Policy which is equally appropriate for students receiving course credit, students who are being paid, and students who are volunteering. Please contact us (our@unc.edu) if you have further questions about this.

Research involving human subjects

An understanding of the complex issues that can arise when research involves human subjects, and how to proceed in an ethical manner are valuable lessons that undergraduates need to learn under your guidance. The University appreciates the importance of such training, and encourages undergraduates to conduct such research after they are qualified to do so. To facilitate the process for you and for the undergrad, the OUR has prepared a checklist of faculty and student responsibilities, together with links to the appropriate sites for certification and application for IRB approval.