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Faculty Mentor Information

If you have any questions about being a McNair Faculty Mentor, please contact Maria Muccio at

Faculty mentors are central to the mission and success of the McNair Program and its scholars. Students may identify a faculty mentor for their research, or McNair staff and/or CRCA may assist students in locating a faculty mentor.

The McNair Mentor:

  • Demonstrates a commitment to assisting underrepresented students through the research process and in their pursuit of a doctoral degree
  • Is knowledgeable of the McNair Program & Funded Objectives
  • Maintains regular contact with McNair Program Staff on student research progress, and attend McNair meetings or trainings as requested
  • Agrees to the responsibilities listed below

McNair Scholars are Rhode Island College undergraduate students who have expressed an interest in attending graduate school and earning a PhD.  The students will work closely with a faculty mentor to develop and enhance their research, academic, and professional skills in their preparation for graduate coursework.  The following agreement outlines the responsibilities and expectations of faculty mentors in their service to the students enrolled in the Ronald E. McNair Program, as sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities

McNair faculty mentors will guide and support McNair scholars to plan, design, and execute a scholarly undergraduate research project. Mentors must meet with their mentee(s) in face to face meetings on a regular basis throughout the academic year and summer months to ensure the mentee is meeting the established research project timeline (as developed by the mentor and mentee). McNair faculty mentors supervise and approve all aspects of the student research project and agree to keep McNair Project staff informed of student progress, as well as any student issues or concerns.

Time & Effort Reporting: Since the McNair Program is a federal project we will assess, track, and monitor student progress. We respectfully request your cooperation in submitting a time and effort report for each McNair scholar that you are mentoring.

Mentor Time Commitment: Generally, but not always, faculty mentors will provide mentorship to a McNair scholar for (2) Academic Semesters and a minimum of (1) Summer Session. Pending approval from the appropriate Dean or Department Chair, faculty mentors will generally receive 1-credit load hour during the academic year for mentoring a McNair scholar. At a minimum, the mentor will communicate with their mentee at least once a week during the academic year, and at least twice a week during the summer.

McNair Program Research & Scholarly Activity Phases

Student Stipends: Students will receive up to a $2,800 stipend based on the successful completion of the following (3) research related phases. For all phases, faculty mentors must certify that the appropriate research tasks have been completed and the student then must submit their work to McNair staff for stipend processing.

Phase I: Project Development & Research Proposal

*The McNair program serves students from all majors, so we recognize that below guidelines are a general outline, please know that the McNair program will rely on your discipline specific expertise to best define and supervise the research proposal process for your mentee.

  • Mentors will assist their mentee in identifying preliminary readings from scholarly journals and relevant publications, as well as identifying readings/theories the student should be familiar with in their field or area of interest. The mentor will ensure the mentee has an adequate number of sources for their literature review.
  • Mentors will be familiar with and understand the mentee’s current level of research fluency (have they taken research courses at RIC? Any previous research experience?)
  • Mentors will help the student to begin to formulate and/or further define their research questions.
  • The McNair scholar must complete a Research Proposal - The suggested minimum length is 8 to 10 pages (excluding references and appendices). The proposal should consist of the following: (1) problem statement/rationale (2) literature review (3) project design/research methods (4) research questions (5) anticipated outcomes and implications (5) agreed upon timetable between mentor and mentee and (6) only if applicable, resources needed and proposed budget. If needed, and as determined by each discipline, additional sections may be pertinent to the research and the mentee’s experience in said discipline.
  • The faculty mentor will determine if the student project needs IRB approval.
  • The mentor approves the final research proposal, and the student then must submit the final copy to the McNair Program for stipend payment.​​

Phase II: Data Collection

*If needed, pending appropriate IRB approval.

Data Collection Process

  • The mentor will determine when the student begins data collection for the project. All data will collected under the guidance and supervision of the faculty mentor. Mentors will regularly check in with the student to review data and have reflexive discussions, as well as determine where and how to store data.
  • The mentor approves the completion of data collection, and the student then must submit proof of data collection to the McNair Program for stipend payment.

Phase III: Final Results/Write-Up

  • The mentor will decide the format of the final results/write-up, based on discipline-specific norms and/or intended publication. The suggested minimum is 8 to 10 pages in length (which is in addition to the initial research proposal).
  • The mentor will approve the preliminary findings and provide further guidance and/or constructive criticism at this point.
  • The mentor will help students to identify relevant discipline specific conferences. Students may submit requests for funding to McNair for the purpose of attending research conferences
  • Mentee & mentor will collectively work together to identify publication opportunities
  • The mentor will assist with designing a poster presentation to be used at college Spring Expo and/or national McNair conferences.

Other Mentoring/Support Provided to McNair Scholars

Graduate School Support: Mentors will have discussion with the mentee about career/educational goals and share insights about the role of professor and researcher. The mentor will help the mentee understand the graduate school environment and provide support for student concerns about pursuing a doctoral degree. Where practical, the mentor will contact colleagues at graduate schools in advocacy of the mentee, as well as provide letters of recommendations.

Professional & Academic Networks: Mentors will share with students relevant professional and academic networks that are relevant to their field and/or area of study.

Attendance at McNair Monthly Meetings: To support your mentee, we hope to that you will attend at least 1 McNair Monthly Meeting during the academic year.

All faculty must submit the provided time and effort reports to the McNair program.​

Page last updated: April 24, 2018