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Information for Faculty Mentors

Due to the increase in competitiveness for Davidson Research Initiative (DRI) Summer Research Fellowships, the Student Study and Research (SS&R) Committee hopes that the following information will help you guide your student collaborators as they prepare to write their 2018 DRI Fellowships proposals.

Proposal Advice & Information

What student collaborator(s) should know to help increase their chances of receiving a DRI:

  1. There are specific application directions that provide information about the application process and guidance for completing applications. In addition, there is a link to the rubric used by the committee when scoring the proposals.
    • Applications must follow all of the guidelines specified and the committee does check to make sure that the word limits and other guidelines are met. Failure to meet these guidelines results in lower scores.
  2. The SS&R Committee is made up of representatives from all three academic divisions: Sciences, Social Sciences, and Arts/Humanities. Proposals that are packed with discipline-specific jargon and acronyms are difficult for some, if not all, committee members to read. These proposals often receive lower scores.
    • Last year, writing center tutors held several workshops on proposal writing during the fall semester and in January before the DRI proposals were due. Students who took advantage of these opportunities received good advice on making their proposals accessible to the non-expert.
  3. In general, the proposals should be clear and concise. Project goals and methods need to be explained so that committee members can determine the value and feasibility of the work. Committee members should be able to quickly understand:
    • What is/are the major goal(s) of the project?
    • Is the work original and how does it contribute value to the broader field?
    • Does the student have unique and individual ownership of the project? Note: This is especially important if a group of students propose projects that are designed to contribute to an overarching body of work. Are the students' proposals distinguishable one from another? Can the committee determine that each project, among these proposals, has a unique and original focus?

Providing Support

What you should know to help support your student collaborator(s) as they pursue a DRI Fellowship:

  1. Faculty mentor letters should detail each student's strengths, talents and preparation for the project, as well as the plan for the mentor-mentee's summer working relationship. Well thought out letters that specifically address the mentor-student relationship and the student collaborator's preparation to participate in the proposed research can positively impact the student's proposal rank.
  2. If you have a number of students applying for the DRI Fellowship, the committee asks that you help them distinguish among the students in your letters, e.g. is the level of preparation for doing the work different when comparing one student to another.