Research Paperwork FAQs
|Information for Students||Information for Mentors|
As in the past, each student must be associated with a specific project and mentor for the duration of the progam.
Applications for position and funded projects must be submitted and reviewed by the Associate Dean for Medical Research prior to approval and appointment.
The available slots will be allocated based on merit and mentor. There will be ONE deadline for submission and review of the projects: February 15. Materials submitted by the February 15 deadline will be considered for approval and matched with students who are interested in that field of study.
Applications that are not submitted by the February 15 deadline can be submitted for consideration by until March 15. There is no guarantee that paperwork submitted after these dates will be funded.
1. If I do not have a mentor, what should I do?
Don’t panic. All students are encouraged to examine the postings for potential projects ("Project Index" pages). Not all student applicants will know where exactly they want to be placed but you should have a good idea of what field you would want to work in. We do encourage that you check out the new listings for 2013 after Feb 15. If you have a preference or find a project that would be perfect, please let the office know or indicate it on your application, which is due March 15.
2. What paperwork does each student and mentor need to complete?
After a student has contacted their assigned mentor, a "Commitment Form," posted on the Medical Student Research Page, will need to be completed. We use this as the contract that signals the student understands what the mentor expects of them before the summer program starts.
3. What are the appointment dates?
The summer research period for 2013 is Tuesday, May 28, 2012—Friday, Aug. 2, 2012. Students are permitted to take a week off during the ten-week period.
4. When are students paid?
Students are paid at the end of each month. A $3,000 stipend is provided for the entire period, unless you are identified as an NIH-grant student.
5. Is there an orientation?
Yes. There is both a HR orientation as well as a safety orientation. Both are mandatory for all students.
6. Are there other requirements of the program?
Yes. Each student must submit a summary of their research experience at the conclusion of the program. The description should include 1) the question asked, 2) the methods employed, 3) the results obtained, and 4) the conclusions drawn. Note that with proper formatting, a variation on this summary would be acceptable for submission as an abstract to the Annual UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Forum (abstracts submitted to the research forum are published and can be listed on your curriculum vitae).
7. What are my obligations to the program once the commitment form has been completed?
Mentors make considerable effort to organize their schedules and lab activities to permit students to come into their labs to conduct research. Student appointments via the Summer Research Programs obligate students to a full-time commitment to their research projects (i.e. 40 hours per week and lectures). No other form of employment is allowed during this time.
8. What should I do if I have problems in the lab or with my mentor?
Often issues may present problems that a small amount of clarification or discussion can resolve. The issue should be taken to the Associate Dean for resolution. If problems are larger and resistant to such interventions, students may be assigned to other laboratories.
1. How can I attract a student to work with me?
Submit a clear project description that identifies the areas in which you are working. Be sure to identify successful student mentoring experiences that you have had as well as what exactly you would like your student researcher to be working on this summer with attainable goals.
2. What details do I need to provide in the "Project Description"?
The "Project Description" is designed to serve two purposes. As a posting on the "Potential Projects" page, it is designed to alert potential students to the opportunities available for potential students in a particular laboratory / research group. A mentor can submit more than one potential project. Prior to posting, each project will be reviewed to ensure that the description clearly outlines what problem the student will be approaching and the role that the student will play in the project. Information pertaining to either IRB or animal subject protocol approvals must be provided prior to posting the project description. The Mentor Funding Requests are due February 15.
3. What can be expected of me as a mentor?
Mentoring students - particularly those without prior research experience - can be a demanding role. By the same token, the impact that an effective mentor can have on the subsequent career of a student can be profound.
Before the program, I encourage all mentors to define the project that a student will approach as early and precisely as possible, including the resources that this office can provide. Provide as much background and direction in advance as is possible. Students are most productive when associated with a well-defined project, are given the requisite knowledge/tools, and provided abundant opportunities for feedback and discussion. Generally, students are unhappy when associated with a poorly defined project and that they feel unprepared to approach.
During the program, try to meet with your student as frequently as possible. The happiest students are consistently those that feel that their efforts are toward a worthwhile goal and are appreciated.
After the program, mentors will be asked to comment on the running of the program as well as possible writer letters of recommendations for their students. Because our programs are run off of grants, mentors will be asked to submit current Biosketches with student projects and other grant awards to complete our applications.
4. How many students can be associated with a single mentor?
In order to provide the most meaningful learning experiences possible, in most instances only a single student will be assigned to an individual mentor’s project. Unless compelling reasons can be presented, no more than two students will be associated with a single mentor.
Please note that there may be limitations in the number of spots that can be supported in any given summer period. In these instances, awards will be made after an assessment of the quality of the proposed project, the number of students associated with an individual mentor / division, and consideration of the proposed mentor. Paperwork completed and submitted after deadlines may not be eligible for stipend support.
5. How are mentors judged?
The health and viability of the summer research program depends on the continued demonstration of this program’s effectiveness in training future physicians to understand and conduct research. At a minimum, mentors should recognize that they are evaluated 1) by each of their students and 2) by measures of their impact on student productivity. These latter measures relate to the tangible outcomes, such as abstract submission to the UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Forum, abstract submissions to regional and national meetings, and manuscript submission / publication.
6. What should I do if I have problems with my student?
Often issues between mentor and students can be clarified with some discussion. Please contact the Associate Dean at any sign of continued problems to help mediate the concerns. If problems are resistant to such interventions, students can be assigned to other laboratories. For the purposes of comparison, issues have arisen only once every 1-3 years that have necessitated a student be reassigned. Most of the previous problems have stemmed from a failure of the mentor to clearly communicate the expectation of the project to the student and the student generally being unhappy with their assignment.