MEMORANDUM

TO: Full-time Teaching Faculty

FROM: R. Joseph Dieker, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

DATE: December 5, 2014

RE: Cornell Institute for Summer Research

Through generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation Endowed Funds, Dimensions, The Berry Center, the Roger Gillette Student-Faculty Research Fund, and the Rebecca Joe Wearin Pulk Student-Faculty Research Fund, Cornell College is pleased to announce the establishment of the Cornell Institute for Summer Research (CISR). The primary objectives of CISR are to:

  • Demonstrate the vitality of summer student-faculty research as a component of experiential learning.
  • Expand student-faculty collaborative research projects beyond the sciences and consider ways in which such activities may be embedded into the curriculum.
  • Provide a living-learning community for student participants to encourage formal and informal dialogue between students and faculty from different academic disciplines, and provide a venue for programming.

To achieve these objectives, the Institute will provide funds for collaborative research between faculty and students during the summer, including student accommodation in an air-conditioned residence hall for up to 10 weeks during the interval May 18-July 25, 2015. The Institute will further provide appropriate summer programming (including research presentations, external speakers and informal gatherings of student and faculty researchers) for CISR participants that may provide a bridge to opportunities beyond Cornell College. The Instructional Technology Librarian will be available, full time, during the summer months to engage faculty and student collaborators integrating the digital liberal arts into their research projects.

As members of CISR, students should be exposed to the diverse goals, research methods and skills to conduct advanced research in their fields of study, prepare research reports of their findings, and present their conclusions to their peers in classes, a departmental seminar for majors, at the annual Cornell College Student Symposium, or at professional meetings. Students are expected to reside in the living learning community and participate in the program opportunities provided. Collaborative research projects should foster a mentor-apprentice relationship between the faculty member and the student, and expose the student to the processes of scholarly inquiry and discovery that characterize the life of a scholar/teacher. Ideally, the relationship between the student and faculty member will continue following the summer.

Awards of up to $5,500 include compensation to the student research assistant (paid on an hourly basis, maximum of $3,000/10 weeks) and a faculty stipend (maximum of $2,500/10 weeks). Additional funding is available to support project costs; the average award under this rubric will be approximately $1,000. Faculty members may include additional project cost support in their proposal budget, thus exceeding the average project cost award (see below).  The Institute will provide student participants with housing in an air-conditioned double room for up to 10 weeks.  Details on a possible option to stay for an additional five weeks, at the student’s expense, will be provided by the Office of Residence Life at a later date.

General Guidelines:

1) Any faculty member teaching full time or team of full-time faculty members may apply for summer student research assistant grants in support of on-going research or in support of a student research project designed in collaboration with the faculty member. Both types of projects should be carried out under the direct supervision of the faculty mentors over what would normally be a ten-week period. Faculty members seeking support for a student for less than 10 weeks should be in contact with the Associate Dean of the College prior to crafting a proposal.

2) Faculty members may seek support for more than one student researcher. However, since a primary objective of the Institute is to expand the reach of collaborative student-faculty research projects across the divisions of the college, the additional students requested by a faculty member will be considered only if funds are available after all proposals have been evaluated.

3) Awards are competitive and based on a proposal submitted by the faculty member. Proposals will be considered by the Faculty Development Advisory Committee. Awarded funds are available May 11, 2015.  Project funds must be expended in full by August 15, 2015.

4) As per U.S. Department of Labor regulations, compensation for the student will be paid on an hourly basis.  The student may work up to (but not exceed) 40 hours per week, at the rate of $7.50 per hour, for a total of 10 weeks.  The student researcher must also agree to submit a final research report to his or her faculty mentor and to the Office of Academic Affairs by August 31, 2015.  The faculty stipend, based on the number of weeks of collaborative research, will be paid in two equal installments: one on June 19, 2015, and the second on July 31, 2015.

5) Employment of the student researcher is contingent upon the results of a background check to be conducted by the college and verification of employment eligibility.

6) Students funded under the CISR are expected to live in the housing provided and participate in related programming. Students involved in research that requires them to be away from campus for a portion of the 10-week interval are expected to live in CISR-provided housing when they are working on campus.

 7) Awarded funds must be used for the purposes described in the proposal.  If a faculty member wishes to use the funds in any other way, he or she must consult with the Dean in advance to seek approval.

Expectations of Faculty: The Faculty member and the student are responsible for designing and implementing a meaningful research experience. The project should involve a process whereby the student carries out the research with a solid understanding of the research question, the theory and methodology informing the research, the methods, skills and technical knowledge required to complete the research, the methods and rigor in recording of data and research results, and the writing of a final report. 

Prior to starting the research, the faculty member and the student should agree on the expectations of the research experience.  During the summer, the faculty member and the student should be in frequent contact with one another, at least several times a week. This close collaboration between the faculty member and student is the foundation for a successful program and a meaningful research experience.

The faculty member will work with the student to make arrangements to share the research results to the campus through presentations in classes, a departmental seminar for majors, the annual Student Symposium, or at a professional meeting in the discipline (as a poster or oral presentation on which the faculty member may be co-author).

The faculty member will submit a written evaluation of the project, the performance of the student, and the accomplishments of the research by August 31, 2015.  The grantee cannot be considered for additional faculty development funding if this report is not filed.

Expectations of the Student Researcher:  The student will be expected to work full-time for ten weeks on the proposed research project under the direction of the faculty mentor. If a student works less than ten weeks, the student compensation will be adjusted accordingly.  The student is expected to reside in the living learning community while they are on campus and participate in all related programming. The student should share the final results of the project with the campus through presentations in classes, a departmental seminar for majors, the annual Student Symposium, or at a professional meeting in the discipline (as a poster or oral presentation on which the faculty member may be co-author). In addition, the student will submit a final research report to the Office of Academic Affairs by August 31, 2015.

Application Procedure:

The Faculty Development Advisory Committee will evaluate the proposals and make recommendations to the Dean of the College.

1)  The proposal must begin with a title and a brief summary of the proposed research.  The writing should be clear, complete and concise, and should use terms and language readily understood by the non-specialist. Please limit your proposal to no more than five pages.

2) The proposal should describe the research project and its objectives, the significance of the research problem being studied, the benefit to the participating student, the role of each collaborator in the project, and the project's relation to the faculty member's on-going research. If the research is designed by the student, the project should be described in full and the respective roles of the student and the faculty member delineated.

3) The proposal should describe the research process to be followed by the student in carrying out the research with the faculty member: specifying the theory and methodologies which the student will learn, the research methods and skills being taught to the student (specific library research strategies, use and application of equipment and instruments, bibliographical research, hypothesis testing, etc.) and their importance, the anticipated outcome of the research, and how the research findings will be shared on campus or at a professional meeting.

4) Other sources of funding, internal or external, in support of any summer research must be indicated on the application.

5) A budget for project costs, with justification for each category (e.g., mileage, reproductions, type of supplies).  Faculty members should submit an itemized and prioritized project cost budget.  Project cost funding will be allocated according to the budgets received and funding available.

6) Other information you consider appropriate.

Submit the proposal to Nancy Rawson, Office of Academic Affairs, by January 16, 2015. Be sure to receive confirmation that your proposal was received. Retain a copy for your file. Awards will be announced at the beginning of February 2015.