Faculty Handbook: Mentoring Undergraduates in Research and Scholarship

Dear Colleagues,

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) has made significant headway in fostering a new culture of undergraduate research and scholarship.  Undergraduate faculty mentors have enhanced the quality and scope of their research programs, resulting in an enrichment of UAA’s research mission and reputation. The growth in undergraduate research experiences at UAA has also given our students a better educational experience, making them more competitive for graduate school and industry jobs.

For some, the research experience can be a life-changing event. For example, we have seen students pursue advanced degrees and careers as scientists as a direct result of their undergraduate research experience. Moreover, undergraduate research projects have proven to be excellent instruments for students to challenge themselves, learn how to work as a team, interact meaningfully with their mentor, and learn important scientific and problem-solving skills.

This handbook is intended as guidance for mentoring undergraduates in research and scholarship at UAA. To get a broad picture of how undergraduate researchers are mentored at UAA, we solicited and received essays from twenty-one faculty members across different disciplines, schools, and colleges. We would like to thank all of these faculty members for volunteering their time to make this handbook possible.

The following collection of essays represents a concerted effort by UAA faculty members who truly believe in UAA’s mission to “discover and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, engagement, and creative expression.” These essays are as diverse as the faculty who wrote them.  A common thread, however, is each faculty member’s commitment to mentoring their students in research and scholarship. Several faculty describe how rewarding it is to see their students grow in maturity, confidence, and expertise as they engage in research. We invite you to explore the rewards that come from close interaction with intelligent and stimulating students.


Eric S. Murphy, Ph.D.
Chair, Task Force on Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

Kenrick Mock, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Computer Science

Mentoring Manual



Download the complete Faculty Handbook


or download individual chapters found below





Part I:  Engaging Undergraduates in Research and Scholarship

     Value of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship 
     Undergraduate Research: An Overview

Part II:  Library Research

     Library Research:  Principles & Practical Considerations

Part III:  Mentoring Undergraduates at Extended Campuses

     Mentoring Students Doing Research at Extended Campuses

Part IV:  Community-Based Research

     Mentoring a Community-Based Research Project: Adding a Community Partner to the Mentoring Mix

Part V:  Undergraduate Thesis Projects

     Mentoring Undergraduate Thesis Projects

Part VI:  A Bridge to the University

     Mentoring High School Students in Biological and Biomedical Research
     Mentoring Rural Students

Part VII:  Undergraduate Research Across the Disciplines

1.  Social Sciences
     Lessons I've Learned from Mentoring Undergraduate Students in Research
     Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Psychology

2.  Natural Sciences
     Undergraduates Mentoring in the Biological Sciences
     Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Astronomy

3.  Mathematical Sciences
     Mentoring Undergraduate Research Assistants in Computer Science

4.  Engineering
     Mentoring Undergraduate Engineering Students

5.  Arts
     Mentoring Undergraduates in the Performing Arts

6.  Humanities
     Mentoring Undergraduates in the Humanities
     Mentoring Undergraduate Research Students in History

7.  Business and Economics
     Mentoring Business Majors in Undergraduate Research
     Mentoring Undergraduate Research Assistants at ISER

8.  Health and Social Welfare
     Undergraduate Research in the School of Nursing
     Mentoring Undergraduate Research Assistants in Justice

9.  Education
     Mentoring Students in Education Research