Retired Faculty Mentorship Project

One of the University of Minnesota’s current strategic goals is to enhance the research experience for undergraduate students. The Retired Faculty Mentorship of Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS)
project is a collaborative effort between the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and the University of Minnesota Retiree Volunteer Center (URVC). Through faculty mentorship, undergraduate research
scholars gain valuable research experience, skills and connections. Faculty have the opportunity to conduct research with talented undergraduates while making a difference in the academic careers of these students.

The University's Admissions Office offers undergraduate research scholarships to outstanding incoming freshman applicants as an incentive to attend the University of Minnesota. The Office of Undergraduate Research administers the URS program. Scholars must complete 120 hours of research by the end of their second year under the mentorship of a current or retired faculty member. It has been a significant challenge for URS students to identify faculty members who are willing to be prospective mentors. Less than 50% of these students have been successful in securing faculty mentorship and, consequently, they are unable to complete their scholarship award. The goal of the OUR/URS Project is to recruit University of Minnesota retired faculty to mentor Undergraduate Research Scholars.

Description of the project: Undergraduate Research Scholars can work with a current or retired faculty member from the University of Minnesota, including those not in their major or college. Students may join an already established, or a new research project. By working together with a faculty research mentor, URS students must develop and submit their own research project (which can be a subset of a mentor’s larger project) to the Office of Undergraduate Research for review and approval. Retired faculty experienced in working with URS students will be available to assist retired faculty mentors throughout the process.

At the conclusion of their project, working with their faculty mentors, URS students are also required to publicly present the completed outcome of their research. From posters at the Annual Research Symposium, presentations to departments or publishing in peer review journals, URS students have many opportunities to share their work.

Description of volunteer duties:

  • Develop collaborative research project with student scholar
  • Meet objectives of OUR/URS program
  • Be available for continued mentorship and contact with the student scholar
  • Support the student’s final research presentation, such as an oral presentation, journal submission or poster presentation at the Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium
  • Attend the URS presentation
  • Be available for, and supportive of student’s subsequent mentorship and career guidance such as providing letters of recommendation if requested

Volunteer mentor eligibility and training requirements:

  • Current or previous faculty appointment at the University of Minnesota; previous experience with advising or co-advising students or trainee research projects
  • Mentor candidates are not required to be a faculty member in the student’s specific major or college.
  • A mentor`s research interest should relate to a project/field that motivates the student's involvement
  • Graduate students are not eligible to be faculty mentors.

Dates: Spring 2021 through student completion and presentation of their research project

Project location specifics: On campus, as allowed by current University policies. Alternatively, faculty and students can meet virtually at any time.

For more information, or to indicate your interest in mentoring
an Undergraduate Research Scholar, please contact:

Deanne Magnusson, URVC, Retired Faculty Mentorship Program;, 952-465-7381 or
Jonathan Ravdin, M.D., Adjunct Professor of Medicine, URS/URVC Retired Faculty Mentorship Program;; 262-327-5756

Publication date: 
April 16, 2021
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