Undergraduate Research Center

URECA Scholar


Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activity (URECA)

  • Guidelines
  • Proposal
  • Application
  • Review Criteria
  • Reporting Requirements

Program Description

For a comparison of all award types, click here.

These awards will be available to students who may be collaborating with one or more faculty members, but who will have more ownership of or take the lead role in their project (from design to implementation to report writing/presentation). The Scholar award is for students who have successfully completed an URECA Assistantship or other similar research or creative experience as documented by a letter from their faculty mentor. The amount of the stipend should be determined in consultation with the faculty mentor(s) based on the number of hours the scholar will contribute to the project. During the academic year, the stipend award amount may not exceed $1000 per semester (100 hrs @$10/hr) or $2,400 for 2 semesters (240 hr @ $10/hr.). Summer project stipends can be requested for up to $3500 (350 hr). An additional award of up to $400 ($500 for international travel) may be used to cover costs associated with travel integral to the conduct of the project. Costs of materials, supplies, library/studio charges, or technical documents connected with the discipline may be supported up to $300 . The size of this award will depend critically upon the justification of need.

Projects can remain open for a maximum of 3 semesters. Stipends not claimed past that time period will not be paid. Projects completed during that time period will earn $500 extra compensation for the mentor.



Guidelines
  • A student must have a well-focused project to work on, with a reasonable likelihood of significant outcomes, and one or more faculty mentor(s) willing to collaborate on that project.
  • Faculty mentors must have been consulted prior to submission of the proposal because they are expected to collaborate with the student to the degree necessary for the successful completion of the project. Faculty mentors must have a shared interest and a high degree of expertise in the subject area of the project, because they will be mentoring the student throughout the project.
  • A final report must be submitted before final payment will be issued or before more URECA funding is requested.
  • If the student's project is directly related to the work of the faculty mentor(s), two things may take place: a) the student may develop his or her own spin-off project from a faculty project, to which URECA funding will be applied, or b) the student's involvement with the faculty project should be at a level such that published/presented works resulting from the collaboration would include the student as co- and preferably first-author or lead role artist/producer. In either case, students are expected to play a primary, not an assistant role.
  • The faculty mentor(s) will be familiar with the expenses, including equipment, supplies, publication costs, library, studio, or laboratory fees, copy costs, travel or other expenses that are allowed in the program and should be consulted in the preparation of the budget portion of the application. Supplies are limited to $300 at the Silver Scholar level and $500 at the higher levels of funding.

Proposal

The proposal is the heart of the application packet and due thought and reflection should be devoted to its preparation. It must clearly state the intended goal of the project and must contain sufficient background and documentation to permit a rigorous assessment of the potential for success.
Also please note:
  • Be aware that the reviewers of the proposal will be drawn from a broad cross section of disciplines.
  • Proposals should not exceed five typed, (12 pt. font) double-spaced pages, excluding figures, tables, and references.
  • Proposals must be written by the student.
Students applying for Scholar funding who have not completed an URECA assistantship, but who have other similar experiences that will prepare the student to engage in a research or creative problem at the Scholar level, must provide evidence/documentation/verification of that experience.

Although parts of the Application form are to be completed by the faculty member(s), the student must write the statement of the proposed project. When two or more students will assist on the same project, each student should prepare separate applications and write his or her own statement of the proposed project.
The specific elements of the proposal will depend on the discipline, but proposals might include the following elements:

Introduction: The Introduction should begin with a brief description of the project in layperson's terms before the more technical aspects of the project are discussed. Provide a statement of the objective(s) of the proposed work, and the anticipated significance of the work. Consider...
  • What problem(s) will be investigated?
  • What hypothesis/hypotheses will be tested?
  • What will the artistic endeavor explore?
  • What is the overall concept/treatment and significance of the project?
Background: As appropriate for the discipline, either provide a brief review of the work that has already been done in the project area (together with complete references in the appropriate professional style) or provide a description of the context within which the project fits. This section should also include any personal information about the student, which would indicate to the reviewers the student's qualifications to successfully complete the project. A resume or curriculum vitae (as appropriate for the discipline) may be attached to the proposal to supplement this section.

Purpose: Tell what the project will entail and describe the expected outcome.

Methods: Provide a detailed description of the research methods or creative process that will be used in the project. This description should include a justification for the specific approach that will be used.

Time Schedule: Provide dates for the initiation and completion of each phase of the project. Propose a detailed timeline taking into consideration all phases of the project and the writing of the final report.

Collaboration with Faculty Mentor(s): Provide a description of the way the student and faculty mentor(s) will collaborate on the project. The faculty mentor(s) should play a significant role in responding to ideas, providing advice for new directions and resources, discussing the implications of the results, and reading drafts of the final report. Will there be regularly scheduled meetings between student and faculty mentor(s)? Explain how the project relates to the on-going work of the faculty mentor(s), if this is the case.

Application

Each application packet should include: (Please Type all sections-Fronts only!)
  • application checklist (page 1 of application forms)
  • student application (page 2 of application forms)
  • faculty mentor section (page 3 of application forms) plus
    faculty mentor recommendation letter
  • project budget with budget justification (page 4 of application)
  • project proposal (5 pages maximum, excluding figures, tables, and references)
  • timeline (1 page maximum)
  • academic transcript (unofficial OK. You may print from Pipeline)
  • travel authorizations if applicable

Incomplete applications will be returned unread. Use the application checklist to make sure that your application is complete. The original application with all signatures must be submitted electronically to Julie.Gannon@mtsu.edu by 4:00 pm on the deadline date.


Review Criteria

Application packets must be complete to be considered. Incomplete packets will be returned for possible resubmission in the next request for applications. The applications will be evaluated and ranked on the basis of how well the instructions are adhered to and the degree to which the application meets the outlined criteria. These criteria include the following:

  • Thoroughness of application and adherence to guidelines in the request for applications.
  • Clarity of the project proposal.
  • Quality of the project.
  • The strength of the faculty mentor endorsement.
  • Assessment of student transcript.
  • Potential for successful completion of the project.
Reporting Requirements

The award is made with the expectation that broad dissemination of the outcome is a high likelihood and that the student will play a significant part in the preparation of the product to be presented. It is anticipated that the project will result in a presentation, publication, exhibit, or performance in a forum with greater-than-regional audiences. Should a student's work result in a publication, conference presentation, exhibit, recital, etc., support from the URECA program should be acknowledged, and the VPR's office should be notified. URECA scholars will submit a final report describing their project. If publication of a report is standard practice for a scholar's discipline, then a report conforming to the appropriate style manual will be expected. This report should be suitable for submission for publication in whatever outlets are standard for the discipline. For disciplines in which publication is not a traditional requirement, the scholar should submit a reflective summary of the goals of the project and of the extent to which the project has met those goals as well as the completed project, a project portfolio, or other documentation as is appropriate for the discipline. In all cases, the final report will be from five to ten typed (12 pt. font) double-spaced pages. At some point(s) during the project the student will also be expected to share his/her work with a campus audience. The report should be submitted within one semester of the completion of the project. Final award checks will be disbursed when the completed report is submitted. Funding for any new projects will not commence until after a final report for a previously funded project has been received in the URC office.