Department of Biology
Guidelines for Student Summer Research Stipends
Posted: 18 March 2009
Deadline: Friday, 27 March 2009
A program of student summer research stipends exists to provide support for directed student research for biology majors at Wittenberg. Students interested in this summer program should make application to the Department of Biology by way of a proposal, according to the guidelines outlined below.
A vital component of a solid liberal arts education is the opportunity for students to engage in research that is both original and independent of the normal classroom requirements. This program is designed to encourage this type of scholarly activity primarily by sophomore and junior biology students. The program goals include the following:
- To increase research opportunities for Wittenberg students.
- To foster collaborative research between students and faculty.
- To provide meaningful summer activities for the intellectual growth of Wittenberg students.
- To provide a forum for intellectual exchange between students and faculty.
- To promote the publication and/or presentation of research authored by students, or jointly authored by students and faculty.
Student applicants should be cognizant of these goals when writing their proposals.
- This program is competitive and only a limited number of summer stipends will be awarded to the best research proposal(s) submitted by declared Wittenberg biology majors. This research experience may carry up to 5 academic credits according to the university guidelines for regular Directed Research.
Students interested in conducting research should, in consultation with an appropriate faculty member, prepare a research proposal that shall include the following elements:
- A short descriptive title.
- Abstract and starting date of the research.
- Background information related to the research and a definite statement of the question or hypothesis being investigated.
- Objectives that you believe you will be working towards, and when you intend to start the investigation.
- Methods as specific as possible on how you intend to investigate the problem.
- Proposed plan of study including a schedule for the summer (assumed to be approximately 10 weeks).
- Statement of how appropriate faculty members will be involved in the project, whether through collaboration or supervision.
- A personal assessment that outlines what preparation you have had allowing you to engage in the proposed project.
- A letter from the cooperating faculty member(s) assessing your ability to carry out the project, and outlining the role that the faculty member(s) will play.
- A current copy of your WATCH report.
- Students who submitted grants to the Student Development Board for summer funding may simply submit the same proposal to the Biology Department.
- In keeping with the goals of the program, students receiving research stipends will be expected to present the results of their work at the Wittenberg Poster Session or a department seminar during the academic year following the summer experience. Presentation at other meetings such as an undergraduate research conference, or other professional conferences or meetings, is encouraged. Faculty members working with students should help facilitate this requirement.
- Since this is a competitive program, students submitting proposals must demonstrate a high degree of previous academic success and appropriate preparation for the type of proposed research. Evidence of meeting these qualifications might include, but would not be limited to, such indicators as GPA, course preparation, previous research in the field, faculty assessments, etc. Ordinarily, students of junior class standing will be considered eligible for stipend awards; however, this does not preclude the funding of outstanding proposals from students of lower class rank.
To be a meaningful and successful student research experience, faculty involvement and approval are necessary and encouraged. However, the extent of faculty involvement will vary from project to project on a continuum ranging from supervising students along the way to actual faculty-student collaboration. The faculty member(s) involved in the student's project should prepare and send along with the student's proposal a letter assessing a) the quality of the project, b) the ability of the student to carry out the proposed research, and c) the degree of faculty involvement. Faculty members also should sign the student's proposal.
The Department of Biology anticipates awarding a maximum of 3 research stipends for the 2009 summer-funding period. These stipends will be in the amount of $2,200. In addition, the Department of Biology will make available to each student a maximum of $300, as needed, to cover research costs. To apply for a stipend, students should do the following:
- Consult with appropriate faculty members to obtain approval of the research project, and then draft a proposal according to the guidelines above.
- Obtain a review of the proposal by the cooperating faculty member, and have the faculty member sign the proposal indicating that (s)he has reviewed and approves it.
- Request the cooperating faculty member to submit his/her letter of assessment to Dr. Jim Welch of the Department of Biology by the due date below.
- Submit one copy of your current transcript (a printout of your WATCH report from WittLink is fine), one copy of your curriculum vitae (resume), to Dr. Welch or Margie Shultz, department assistant, by 5 PM, Friday, 27 March 2009. Electronic submissions of proposals to Dr. Welch (email@example.com) will be accepted are encouraged to save paper.
Once the complete proposals have been received, they will be reviewed by a committee of three biology faculty who are not sponsoring proposals for review. Criteria will include, but not be limited to, the quality of the proposal, proposed research, faculty recommendation, and the student vitae. Students will be notified of the committee's decision as soon as possible.
Students are not eligible to receive this award twice while a student at Wittenberg. A student may not receive both the Student Development Board award and this award in the same summer.