FURSCA’s research programs are designed to provide students with the opportunity to work intensively on a research, creative, or scholarly projects, under the supervision of an Albion College faculty or staff member. We have prepared these guidelines to provide some basic information about the program, and to address some frequently asked questions about the responsibilities of research mentors.

General Information

Only students in good academic and social standing are eligible to participate in FURSCA-sponsored programs. Students applying for research grants must have a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.70 or above, and should not be on academic or social probation. Students with a CGPA of less than 2.70 and/or who are not in good academic and social standing should not apply; those who are placed on academic or social probation during the semester will lose their eligibility. If there are extenuating circumstances exceptions may be made; the student will have the option of providing us with more information and you are welcome to advocate on behalf of the student as well.

FURSCA offers academic year research grants (fall semester and spring semester) as well as summer research grants. The deadline for fall research grants is in October and the deadline for spring research grants is in early March, the deadline for Summer is in early February. Please look on the corresponding main information pages for exact deadline dates. The full guidelines for writing FURSCA proposals are found in the Full Guidelines for Writing FURSCA Proposals document.

All research grants are designed to provide funding for project expenses (maximum of $500.00 per semester).

Summer Research Grants

In addition to providing funding for project expenses (maximum of $500.00) summer research grants also provide a weekly student stipend during the research period. During this eight-to-ten week research period, weekly presentations will be held and social events for students will be planned. The student must consult with their  faculty/staff mentor to determine the specific weeks that the research project will take place.

Faculty/staff mentors MUST be available to meet with the students that they supervise. Some projects may require daily meetings with students for several hours a day; others may require only hour-long meetings once or twice a week. However, it is expected that the faculty/staff mentor and the student will meet to discuss the progress of the project at least once a week. Keep this in mind in planning for the specific dates that you will supervise a summer project as you must be available during each week that the student is receiving a stipend from FURSCA. In addition research mentors are expected to attend their students presentation and are highly encouraged to attend all weekly presentation days.  If you must be away from Albion for up to one week during the eight-to-ten-week period, you must make arrangements such that the student will be able to make adequate progress on the project during your absence.

Summer research students are required to devote their full efforts (i.e., 40 hours per week) to their projects during the weeks that they are receiving FURSCA funding. Because they are being paid by the college for 40 hours of work per week, the students may not work at other on-campus jobs. Because of our past experiences, working at an off-campus job is also strongly discouraged. Students who wish to hold an off-campus job during the weeks that they are working on their FURSCA project must receive prior permission from their faculty/staff mentor and must notify FURSCA in writing that this permission has been given. Students are permitted to only take one summer class during the FURSCA research period, and must receive prior permission from their faculty/staff mentor and must notify FURSCA in writing that this permission has been given.

Research mentors will receive a stipend from FURSCA as compensation for their work with summer research students. The amount of compensation will be related to the number of hours of effort that the research mentor must commit each week to supervise the student project (contact hours plus preparation time) as estimated by the research mentor. The exact amount of compensation will be determined at the time that the project awards are made, but is anticipated to be a minimum of $2,250 per faculty mentor (for those who participate for a minimum of ten weeks).
Mentors working with more than 1 students will receive an additional $500.00 (Mentors can only work with 3 students maximum).

As stated above, you must be willing to meet on a regular basis, at a minimum of once per week, with the student whose project you have agreed to supervise. It is strongly encouraged that the minimum project length is 4 weeks.

FURSCA encourages students and their research mentors to resolve some specific issues related to the project before the research project begins. A spring research grant is possible in order to be better prepared for the summer research period.  Some suggested issues of importance are:

  • Student’s responsibilities
  • Mentor’s responsibilities
  • Work schedule
  • Meeting schedule
  • Project deadlines
  • Expected outcomes of the project
  • Evaluation criteria (for student and research mentor)
  • Comments on whether a student’s preparation and ability are appropriate for the proposed project

Occasionally we have encountered projects where a student or a research mentor feels that the other is not fulfilling their agreed-upon duties. Please feel free to contact either FURSCA’s Director or the Associate Director if a problem should arise. Students will be informed that they have the right to discontinue the project if, after making a good faith effort to resolve the conflict (with mediation if needed), the problem cannot be corrected. Similarly, if you encounter a difficulty with the student not fulfilling their portion of the agreement, we will be happy to work with you and the student to try to solve the problem. You have the right to terminate the project (i.e., “fire” your student) if the conflict cannot be resolved.

During the eight-to-ten-week summer research program, you are strongly encouraged to attend as many of the weekly research seminars as possible. The seminars are held on Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. each week. These seminars are a valuable opportunity to interact with the summer research students, and attendance by faculty mentors, even when their own students are not making presentations, is evidence of faculty support for this program.

Your student will be required to make a presentation at one of the weekly seminars, it is expected that you attend your students presentation. We expect that part of your supervision of this summer project will be to assist the student in preparing for this presentation.

Statement of Faculty Support

We ask the research mentor to write a letter supporting the student’s research project. In addition to the usual information, the committee would also like to see in the letter:

  • How you will be involved in supporting your student.
  • Approximate meeting schedule per week
  • Hours per week you plan on working one-on-one with the student (summer only)
  • Support letter upon Proposal submission

Application Process

The student will create a FURSCA/Slate account, and then fill out an application at the FURSCA/Slate application website. They will upload, as a PDF file, a copy of their research proposal. Upon application submission, the student will receive an email stating that they need to email their Research mentor the proposal and request a Letter of Recommendation. While also at application submission, the mentor will receive an e-mail stating that a student has submitted a proposal listing them as a faculty mentor. Mentors will receive the proposal from the student via email, and will then need to write a Letter of Recommendation; save this letter as a PDF, and upload it to the FURSCA/Slate site. The student is responsible for creating the FURSCA account, submitting the application, emailing their proposal to their research mentor, and requesting the Letter of Recommendation before the deadline. Because this is a competitive program, applications received after the deadline will be NOT considered. We try to make it clear to students that it is their responsibility to make sure all portions of the application are turned in on time, but your assistance with providing the support statement and your signature before the deadline is required.

Evaluation of Student Proposals

Each proposal for a FURSCA research grant is evaluated by the FURSCA Advisory Committee, which consists of faculty members from various departments and student representatives. FURSCA attempts to fund a wide variety of projects.

FURSCA does not fund projects that are community service based. FURSCA will not consider funding projects that have not met the standards set by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for human subjects research or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), where applicable.