Graduate Research Consultants
The Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program is designed to support instructors interested in incorporating more intensive research and creative projects into their undergraduate classes. It also provides a professional development opportunity for graduate students to develop their teaching skills.
The GRC program provides financial support ($500 professional development scholarship) 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. 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:
- design a unit of the class in order to scaffold research skill development
- lead in-class discussion on days related to the research project
- hold individual or group consultations with students
- develop writing prompts or assignments
- 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 and creative projects while providing more support for the students as they pursue their projects.
All applications received by the following deadlines will receive full consideration:
- For spring classes: November 9, 2018, 5 pm
We do not currently offer GRCs for summer 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. The instructor of record for any KU course is eligible to apply to have a GRC for his/her course.
Any Lawrence campus, degree-seeking 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 and for the same course. 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 the graduate student is the main instructor of the class, they would not be able to also be the GRC for that course. A graduate student is only allowed to be a GRC for one course per semester. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructors and potential GRCs pair up before applying for the GRC program. Those interested in participating in the Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program should complete the following steps:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Articulation of clear learning outcomes.
Questions about the GRC program or how to apply?
- 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.
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.
Interested in getting ideas about how to effectively incorporate a GRC into your class? Check out our GRC Tips document (pdf) to get some advice based on past GRC experiences.
Here are a few examples of GRC courses at KU:
|Course||Students||GRC Project||Final GRC Reports|
|BIOL 415: Field and Lab Methods in Ecology||21||Students designed, conducted, and presented an independent research project as part of the course. The GRC designed assignments, met individually with students, and provided written feedback on projects.||BIOL 415 Report (pdf)|
|BIOL 688: Molecular Biology of Cancer||50||The GRC facilitated three out-of-class, extra-credit sessions where students learned to read and present scientific research articles that focused on cancer research.||BIOL 688 Report (pdf)|
|COMS 555: Family Communication||31||The GRC facilitated class activities, met with students individually, and organized an end-of-term poster session where students could present results from a semester-long quantitative research project analyzing sibling communication and technology use.||COMS 555 Report (pdf)|
|FMS/LAA 177: Latin American Documentary||7||The GRC designed assignments and class activities to help students on their research projects, which included individual papers on a documentary of their choice and group presentations about common themes.||FMS/LAA 177 Report (pdf)|
|HA 593: Special Study in Medieval Art: Medieval Manuscripts||8||
The GRC provided feedback to students on a series of scaffolded assignments—two three-page papers; a five-minute initial research project presentation; thesis statement; one-page outline; ten-page draft of the final paper; and the final ten-minute presentation—aimed to assist students in writing their final research papers and presentations.
|HA 593 report (pdf)|
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a graduate student be a GTA and a GRC for the same class?
I'm interested, but don't have a grad student/ faculty member to partner with. Can your office help?
I need some help coming up with ideas for a GRC project. Can you help with this?
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?
Does the instructor of the class have to be a faculty member to be eligible for a GRC?
Are online classes eligible for GRCs?
Can GRCs grade final assignments?
Can someone be a GRC more than once? Can an instructor have a GRC more than once?
Instructor/GRC pairs who are selected for funding will be asked to do the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- Evaluation. The GRC will evaluate student learning using the evaluation criteria established at the beginning of the semester. GRCs will provide a short (~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.
- 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.