Supporting students, mentors, and instructors engaged in research.

Graduate Research Consultants

Purpose:

Kenneth McChesney, Ned Howard, Robert Knight, Brittany Limones, and Kelly Rodriguez attend the EE Senior Design Lab. Knight is helping the undergraduates develop hardware for a collision-avoidance radar. The Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program is designed to support instructors interested in incorporating research into their undergraduate classes.  Modeled after the successful program at the University of North Carolina, the GRC program at the University of Kansas launched its pilot program in Spring 2014.

The GRC program provides financial support ($500) to a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher who works with a particular course to help design a research project, mentor students, and evaluate student learning.  By research projects, we mean opportunities in which students use the methods of the discipline to pose questions, apply those methods in investigation, and communicate formally their findings to others.  We ask that your course include a mechanism for students to communicate their findings publicly, such as via a class presentation, a poster session, a website, etc.  GRCs are expected to work 30 hours over the course of the semester and attend a half-day workshop at the beginning of the semester.

GRCs are not the same as instructors, lecturers, or graduate teaching assistants.   GRCs have knowledge in research methodology and their role is to help facilitate the undergraduate research process.  They are not involved in grading students' work or administering the class and are not required to attend all class sessions.  The following list includes examples of ways that a GRC might spend their time:

  • lead in-class discussion on days related to the research project
  • hold individual or group consultations with students
  • develop writing prompts or assignments
  • provide written feedback about student projects
  • develop reusable online modules related to research

There are many possibilities for how a GRC might spend their 30 hours to support the students in their research.  GRCs should enable the instructor to require more demanding research projects while providing more support for the students as they pursue their projects.

 

Application Deadline:

The deadline for GRC applications for the Spring 2015 semester will be Friday, November 21, 2014, at 5:00 pm.

 

Eligibility:

All undergraduate KU courses are eligible to receive a GRC, including classes from across the disciplines of sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and professional schools.  Classes of any size, and at any level (introductory to advanced), are eligible.  The instructor of record for any KU course is eligible to apply to have a GRC for his/her course. 

Any KU graduate student or post doctoral researcher is eligible to be a GRC.  A graduate student can be a GTA and a GRC in the same semester.  However, their roles as a GRC and a GTA should be clearly defined, and their duties as a GRC should be in addition to their normal duties as a GTA.  If you have any questions about your eligibility, please email us at cur@ku.edu.

 

Application Process:

Instructors and potential GRCs interested in participating in the Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program should complete the following steps:

  1. Identify a partner: Instructors interested in having a GRC for their class should first identify a graduate student or post doctoral researcher who has the research expertise necessary to assist with the research project.  Keep in mind that this might include locating a graduate student from another department.  Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers interested in being a GRC should approach an instructor who teaches a class that might utilize his/her research interests.  Once you find a partner, the instructor and graduate student/postdoctoral researcher can work on the application together.  If you would like assistance finding either a GRC or an instructor of record to partner with, fill out the GRC Interest List form and staff with the Center for Undergraduate Research will try to help you find a partner.
  2. Fill out the online application: To apply, fill out the GRC Application Form.  You can preview the application here.  Please note that you will not be able to save your answers before submitting, so you might write your answers in a separate document before starting the application. Submissions must be received by the deadline to be considered for funding.

 

Evaluation Criteria:

GRC applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Merit and impact of the proposed project.
  • Degree to which students are challenged beyond normal research requirements for students at that level or in that major.
  • Feasibility of the project within the 30 hours expected of the GRC.
  • Qualifications of the GRC.
  • Potential for outcomes-based assessment, based on the final research product/presentation and the identified learning outcomes.

 

Application Questions:

Questions about the GRC program or how to apply?

  • Send us an email: Email any questions you have to cur@ku.edu
  • Make an appointment: Center staff would be happy to meet with you to generate ideas for a GRC project and answer any questions.  Simply send us an email to schedule an appointment.

 

All applicants will be notified about the status of their application after final GRC decisions are made, about a month after the application deadline.

Example Courses:

All undergraduate KU courses are eligible to receive a GRC, including classes from across the disciplines of sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and professional schools.  Classes of any size, and at any level (introductory to advanced), are eligible.

 

Here are a few examples of GRC courses at KU:

Course Students  GRC Project
ANTH 108: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 160 The GRC worked to improve upon an existing class project where students did group ethnographic research.  The GRC worked to revise assignments that were used in all of the discussion sections and did "Research Corner" talks during part of the lecture period to give students greater exposure to different research methods in Anthropology.
EECS 502: Senior Design Laboratory II 4 (36 in class) The GRC worked with one of the groups in this senior design class.  Students in the class normally work on a project for the class that is disconnected from current KU research initiatives.  The four students in the GRC-led group worked on a project that contributed to cutting-edge research funded by NASA and headed by a faculty PI.  Read more about this GRC class...
EVRN 420: The Wakarusa Wetlands 15 The GRC brought technical video-editing skills into this interdisciplinary partnership to help students create films about people's relationship to the Wakarusa Wetlands.
ENGL 314: Major British Writers after 1800 23 The GRC added to an existing assignment by asking students to incorporate journal articles into their papers.  The GRC spent much of her time giving feedback on drafts of papers.

 

We will update this site with more KU examples as they become available.  In the meantime, please see these resources from the University of North Carolina's GRC program: GRC blog, course examples, and a comprehensive list of classes.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a graduate student be a GTA and a GRC for the same class?
Yes. However, their roles as a GRC and a GTA should be clearly defined, and their duties as a GRC should be in addition to their normal duties as a GTA.

 

2. I'm interested in participating in this program, but I don't have a grad student/ faculty member to partner with. Can your office connect me with someone?
Go ahead and fill out the GRC Interest List Form, and we will do our best to help facilitate a match for you. However, your best bet is to start talking with faculty members and grad students to see if you can find someone who would be interested; we typically have many more graduate students sign up for the interest list than we do faculty.  Most GRC/ faculty connections are made through informal networking.

 

3. I need some help coming up with ideas for a GRC project. Can you help with this?
Yes. Email us at cur@ku.edu to set up a time to brainstorm ideas for a GRC project.

 

These questions might also spark some ideas for you:

  • What does it mean to "think like a [historian, biologist, dancer, etc.]"?  How do people in your discipline "do research"?  How is this different than the typical undergraduate classroom experience in your department?
  • Which parts of the research process are particularly challenging for students?  How could you provide more support for students in these key areas?
  • Which parts of the research process are most important for students to learn at this point in their academic career (i.e. first-year courses vs. a senior capstone)?  Discussions with faculty who teach any prerequisite classes and classes that come "downstream" from your class might help you clarify this.
  • What is feasible to do within the 30 recommended GRC hours for the number of students in the class and their level of preparation?

 

4. Does the instructor of the class have to be a faculty member to be eligible for a GRC?
No. Any instructor of record for an undergraduate class is eligible to have a GRC, whether that person is a faculty member, a lecturer, or a graduate student.

 

5. Are online classes eligible for GRCs?
Yes. A GRC for an online class would perform a similar role to other GRCs, the format of their interactions with students would just look different.

 

6. Can GRCs grade final assignments?
No, grading should not be a part of the GRC role. The purpose of the GRC is to serve as a consultant to the students in the class about the project and/or work with the professor to develop the project. While GRCs might give feedback to students about the project, they should not actually assign a grade under their role as a GRC.

 

7. Can someone be a GRC more than once? Can an instructor have a GRC more than once?
Yes to both. We do not have any limits on the number of times someone can be a GRC or the number of times an instructor can have a GRC for a class.

 

Expectations:

Instructor/GRC pairs who are selected for funding will be asked to do the following:

 

1. Preparation

The GRC will attend a half-day workshop just before the start of the semester.  This workshop will focus on effective research mentoring strategies and evaluation of learning outcomes.  The GRC will develop a plan to assess the learning outcomes of the research project at this workshop, and will then work with the instructor to finalize the research assignment, implementation plan, and evaluation methods.

 

2. Implementation

The GRC and instructor will work together to decide how to best facilitate the research projects in the class.  GRCs will provide their research expertise and mentoring skills to support the students as they pursue their projects.  Students in GRC courses must have some kind of public presentation of their research, such as a class presentation, a work of art, a website, etc.

 

3. Evaluation

The GRC will evaluate the final product of the research using the evaluation criteria established at the beginning of the semester.  GRCs will provide a short (2-4 page) report to the Center for Undergraduate Research evaluating student learning.  Note: GRCs do NOT grade the students' work directly.  All decisions about grades should be made by the instructor.

 

4. Dissemination

Though not required, the Center for Undergraduate Research will ask permission to post the end-of-semester reports on our Blackboard site so future instructor/GRC pairs can learn from your experiences.  We also encourage GRCs to include this report in their teaching portfolios.  Instructor/GRC pairs should consider presenting their experiences to their peers through such venues as a departmental colloquium, the Center for Teaching Excellence Teaching Summit, or a disciplinary conference.


GRC Quick Links

Submit Your GRC Application

Deadline for Spring 2015: 5 pm, November 21, 2014


Need help finding a GRC or instructor to partner with?  Fill out our GRC Interest List form, and we'll help facilitate a match!

Getting Started
Graduate Research Consultants
Undergraduate Research Awards
Research Experience Program
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Countdown to the 2014
Research teaches critical thinking and problem solving — top skills sought by employers
The Research Experience Program has certified more than 2,000 students since 2005
KU is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research
More than 1,200 students have received Undergraduate Research Awards since 1986
More than 160 mentors sponsored undergraduate projects through the Center for Undergraduate Research in 2012-13
KU's first valedictorian, Flora Richardson, conducted research as an undergraduate before graduating in 1873
Research is for everyone: Undergraduates from more than 50 departments participated in 2012-13
Highlight your research on your transcript: Get certified through the Research Experience Program
Use research to apply what you learned in the classroom to a real problem
Students who perform research develop strong relationships with KU faculty
Research is a hands-on way to explore career options
Conducting research is a great way to network with experts in your field