The MMUF/ADRF is based on the premise that mentoring can play a huge role in academic development, and Williams fellows typically rate the mentoring relationship as one of the highlights of their undergraduate years.
The Fellowships require that fellows find and work with mentors throughout their two-year fellowship. By working closely with faculty mentors, the fellows learn about research, teaching, graduate school, and life in academia. Fellows are encouraged to seek out mentors whose teaching and research interests are a good match, who can commit to mentoring for at least one year, and who will take an interest in the fellow’s academic and career development.
As in any relationship, the interaction between mentors and fellows will vary, as will the nature of the research project, depending upon the discipline, the interests of the mentor and fellow, and the stage of development of a particular project. Projects can include a wide range of academic activities: independent research and writing, lab work, research assistance, help in course development, and teaching assistance. While the program emphasizes opportunities for fellows to discover and pursue their own interests, mentors are also encouraged to involve fellows in their projects to provide an opportunity for learning about the research processes of advanced scholars. Thus, fellows should be prepared to work as assistants for their mentors at some point in the fellowship. In any case, fellows should consult with their mentors in developing research proposals for each funded term (semesters and summers), and projects should be designed with the fellow’s short- and long-term goals in mind. Mentors should feel free to determine, with the fellow, what types of written assignments or products are most fitting for individual projects. If a fellow is not living up to the fellowship’s expectations, the mentor and the coordinator work together with the fellow to develop a plan to get back on track. The following guidelines should help provide both direction and flexibility in mentoring.
Guidelines for Faculty Mentors:
- Assist your fellow in formulating a research project and written proposal.
- Meet regularly with your fellow (every week during the summer; every other week during the semesters) to discuss the project. Email regularly with fellows studying abroad.
- Teach one class, if possible, during the Summer Research Colloquium.
- Assist your fellow with written work and oral presentations.
- At some point during the two years, involve the fellow in your research and/or teaching.
- Help your fellow locate relevant scholarly activities, and, if practical, take your fellow to a conference (funding is available).
- Write a brief evaluation of your work with your fellow at the end of each school year.
- Keep in touch with the director regarding any concerns or problems.