For Aresty Mentors - RA Program Overview

Are you mentoring a student in the Research Assistant program? If so, find information on the student selection process and the structure of our programs below.

Research Assistant (RA) Program Overview

Application Process:

  • Faculty research projects must be submitted to the Aresty Center by March 3rd.
  • Students will begin applying to RA projects the week of March 5th. The deadline to apply is April 7th.
  • After April 7th, faculty review applicants to their projects and conduct interviews with qualified candidates.
  • Faculty should indicate their top choices in the Aresty system. We are often able to support multiple students per project, so let us know if you would like additional students.
  • Faculty should complete their selections by late April, at which point the Aresty Center will match students to projects. This process is automatic and based on faculty and student preferences. We will detail this process by email to all Aresty mentors.
  • Notifications will go out from the Aresty Center to selected students in early May.

Structure of the Academic Year

Duration of the program: Students should begin research the first week of class. The program concludes with the Symposium (or by arrangement with the professor if more time is needed to complete agreed-upon obligations).

Overview of the 2017-2018 academic year:

  • September 5th: Aresty RAs expected to begin supporting faculty research (5 hours per week)
  • September 18th: Peer discussion group meetings begin (5 total meetings in the fall)
  • September 29th: All RAs submit project plans (aka, Aresty Contracts). Please see details below.
  • December 1st: Faculty mentors submit mid-year assessments via webform
  • December 7th: Research Slam at BSC, the Cove
  • February 5th: Peer Instructor applications due
  • March 1st: RAs submit abstracts for the Symposium
  • April 11th (tentative): Posters due for printing by the Aresty Center
  • April 27th: Undergraduate Research Symposium

Resources and training for students: The Aresty Center is happy to coordinate training for research assistants in our program.

The Project Plan or Contract: By the end of September, all research assistants are required to design a project plan for the year with their faculty mentors and submit it to the Aresty Center. The project plan should cover your expectations of the project, key steps in the research process, and the duties of the RA and faculty mentor. RAs need clarity around your goals and expectations for them. This document should make your expectations explicit. You can find a sample project plan for your reference here. Your RA can put the basic parts of this together using your original project description, but will need your input on goals, checkpoints, and expectations.

Time Commitment: Students are expected to work five hours per week. You may arrange with your RA to do more in exchange for departmental credit. We strongly encourage you to ask your students to track their hours on your project. You can download a sample time sheet to help. A timesheet will both increase accountability and give students a record of activities that can be repurposed for resumes and cover letters.

Peer Discussion Groups: Throughout the academic year, RAs will attend a total of ten peer group meetings (roughly two per month) at the Aresty Center. These meetings support students through their research process by focusing on the role of research in society and professionalism in a research environment. The meetings cover topics like managing relationships, research ethics, and writing abstracts and designing effective posters. You can review an overview of our syllabus and key dates for the year.

Academic Credit: The Aresty RA program awards students three credits, graded P/NC, for the academic year. The Aresty Center enters grades based on feedback from professors and RA completion of program requirements. For students in SOE, credits count toward technical electives. For students in SEBS, credits can be applied to experiential learning requirements. Students in SAS receive general credits. Please note that student eligible for Federal Workstudy may also use the RA program a Work Study job.

Mid-Year Assessment: Before winter break, we will review the progress of all RAs. The Aresty Center will ask all mentors to complete a brief web-based evaluation, and through assessing their participation in their peer discussion groups.

Undergraduate Research Symposium: All RAs present their research at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in April. The Aresty Center will require all students to have plan for securing their professors' approval of their research presentations at the Symposium. Learn more about the Symposium here. Students working in groups may either present individually or together.

If you have any questions regarding your involvement in the Research Assistant Program, see our FAQ or contact us.