In an effort to answer some common questions regarding Undergraduate Research, we have put together the following Q &A's.
"Undergraduate research is a comprehensive curricular innovation and major reform in contemporary American undergraduate education and scholarship. Its central premise is the formation of a collaborative enterprise between student and faculty member-most often one mentor and one burgeoning scholar but sometimes (particularly in the social and natural sciences) a team of either or both" (NCUR)
Working on scholarly or creative projects with a faculty member is an opportunity for you to get out of the classroom and become actively involved in creating knowledge and new meaning within a field of study.
This hands-on approach allows you to "get to do it," instead of just learning about it. Not only that, it is typically hard work, fun, and very satisfying. This type of study in not only a great experience, but it provides crucial preparation for both graduate school and the work world.
What will I learn?
You will learn many things. You will learn not only about the specific content area you are researching, but also important skills such as:
- How to pose an important question in your field
- How to design a research plan or an approach to answering the question
- How to collect and analyze data, or analyze texts or other information to test your hypothesis or support your argument
- How to communicate the results of your work through poster and oral presentations and papers
- How to work collaboratively with a faculty mentor and/or other student colleagues
You are also likely to increase your self-confidence in your ability to carry out a major project, and recognize whether or not post-graduate research (graduate school) is for you.
Whether you immediately enter full-time employment or go onto graduate studies, experiencing in-depth research scholarship will help you. The research and presentations that you will be engaged in will help to build impressive resumes and facilitate your acceptance and transition into graduate school.
Both prospective employers and graduate schools recognize that students who have this kind of experience are better prepared than many of their peers. Often student researchers have opportunities to make presentations at professional meetings, co-author papers, and produce other published or juried products.
First of all, research is for students who want to experience growth and learning by doing a project. Consequently, you should be prepared to make some serious commitments.
No two projects are alike, however, some activities/attributes are common to most or all projects. You need to:
- Be self-motivated and work on the project consistently.
- Meet deadlines.
- Communicate often with your advisor/collaborator and any other project participants and be clear on your role in the project.
- Read the literature of the discipline related to your project. Visit the Jim Dan Hill Library or our Journal Section.
- Think deeply and creatively about your project.
- Produce a presentation on the results of your project, typically a poster but perhaps also an oral presentation, paper, a performance or a show, or some combination of these.
- Enjoy the project for the intellectual stimulation and sense of accomplishment it provides.
You need to budget sufficient time to work on the project. Two ways to plan for this time are:
- Take fewer course credits in a semester and take directed studies or research credits in their place.
- Seek funding in the form of a stipend or work study so that you can cut back on hours worked at other jobs.
- Plan to work on the project over the summer months and/or during semester breaks when your schedule may be easier. The McNair Scholars program offers summer research opportunities.
Getting involved is as easy as:
- Visiting department web sites or the internet resources of affiliated schools to to look for listings of available research projects and internships.
- Asking a faculty member whose class you take for feedback on your classroom work; they may observe that you have the potential to work independently, and invite you to participate.
- Learning of projects from more senior classmates who are doing research, or from faculty presentations, and ask the collaborating professor if you may join the project.
- Talking directly to professors in your department about research opportunities-many have topics and need your help.
- Developing your own idea for a scholarly or creative project based on class activities such as reading, research for class assignments, or in-class discussions; approach a faculty member you think would make a good advisor for that project.
- Review Scholarly Journals who's focus is Undergraduate Research.
Be sure to:
Review the undergraduate grant guidelines and deadlines and start preparing your proposal.
What knowledge and skills do I need?
You do not necessarily have to be far along in your major to become involved. Some projects require a lot of content knowledge, but for others you can learn what you need to know during the research project.
The most important attributes you need to be successful are:
- Interest and intellectual engagement in the project
- Open communication with your collaborator(s)
- A work ethic that makes you a dependable partner in the project
- An ability to see the project to the end and produce a final product, be it a poster or oral presentation or an artistic performance
- An optimistic and positive attitude!
There are several opportunities provided students to present their research. Seniors are required to make capstone presentations which are coordinated by their professors and major departments and generally take place in the fall or spring.
UW System Affiliate school, UW-Whitewater, has put together some helpful tips for making presentation posters.
National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR ): Undergraduates nationwide showcase their creative and scholarly research at this annual event held on a university or college campus.
Posters in the Rotunda (UW System):an annual event where UW undergraduates share their research with legislators, state leaders, and UW alumni and supporters in the Capitol Rotunda in Madison, Wisconsin. Held each Spring.
UW System Symposium: UW System undergraduates showcase their scholarly and creative accomplishments at this annual event held on a UW System campus.
There are numerous other opportunities; Be sure to talk to your professors or advisor.
Note: FAQ's were adapted from information gathered from UW-LaCrosse and the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
When applying for grants there is a common set of information that is frequently requested by granting agencies. This information is provided here for your use.
- Political Representatives and Districts
- Authorized UW-Superior Officials
- Human Subjects: Institutional Review Board (IRB)
- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
- Fringe Benefit
- Indirect Cost
- Student Wages
- Travel Rates
- Make Checks Payable To
- Scholarships and Gifts
- Accounting Numbers
Applicant organization is in all cases:
Applicant Legal Name: The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System on behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Superior
NOTE: The Principal Investigator is not the official applicant and is not authorized to accept awards or enter into contracts for The Board of Regents.
Address: Belknap & Catlin, P.O. Box 2000, Superior, WI 54880
Office of Grants and Research Address: Office of Grants and Research, Old Main 103, Superior, WI 54880
UW-Superior Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number: 076483353
(Note: to be used only with external grants)
UW-Superior Employer Identification Number (FEIN or TEIN): 39-1805963
Political Representatives and Districts
US Congress/US Senate: Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Herb Kohl
US House of Representatives: Sean Duffy
Congressional District: Seventh State Senate District: 25 Assembly District: 73
Authorized UW-Superior Officials
When submitting a grant proposal, it is on behalf of UW-Superior. The following individuals are authorized to sign. Submit your grant proposal and forms to the Office of Grants and Research and we will gather required signatures. Allow five business days for this process.
- Julius Erlenbach email@example.com Interim Chancellor, 715-394-8221 , Old Main 212
- Faith C. Hensrud firstname.lastname@example.org Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor, 715-394-8449 , Old Main 210
- Kaelene Arvidson-Hicks email@example.com Grants and Research Administrator, 715-394-8488 , Old Main 103
- Jan Hanson firstname.lastname@example.org Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, 715-394-8014 , Old Main 201
- Jill Laughlin email@example.com Controller, 715-394-8350 , Old Main 202, Post-award Grant Administration
Human Subjects: Institutional Review Board (IRB)
For details about this issue, please visit this link.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
Currently not active.
What are the rates?
These rates include UW-Superior's contribution to retirement, health insurance, FICA and Medicare FICA, unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, income continuation insurance, and life insurance.
Fringe benefit rates are applied when requesting external funding to pay salaries.
How do I know which rate to use?
Fringe benefit rates vary by employee type.
Classification of Salaries 2011-12 Rate
- Faculty and Academic Staff 46.4%
- Classified Staff 83.0%
- LTE 38.8%
- Project & Teaching Assistants 46.5%
- Research Associates & Interns 24.1%
- Ad Hoc Program Specialists and Undergraduate Assistants 8.0%
- Student Hourly 2.9%
Where do the rates come from?
Fringe benefit rates are set by UW System. Visit their website to see a benefit category cost breakdown.
What are the rates?
Indirect cost rates represent costs that cannot be directly linked to a specific grant proposal because they represent shared costs, such as utilities and office support. For example, costs will be incurred to keep the lights and heat on in buildings where grant activities take place; however, these items are shared by everyone at the institution and are not direct or exclusive to the grant work.
There are two rates; both are based on the total salaries, wages, and fringe benefits being requested in the grant or contract proposal:
On-Campus Rate (2009-2012): 52%
Off-Campus Rate (2009-2012): 19%
How do I know which rate to use?
Off-Campus = Work at facilities not owned by UW-Superior and where rent is allocated in the proposal budget.
Only one indirect cost rate may be used per proposal.
If greater than 50% of proposal work will occur off-campus, use the off-campus rate.
Where do the rates come from?
These rates are federally negotiated through the US Department of Health and Human Services. It is the policy of UW System to recover the federally negotiated indirect cost rate from all agencies that are legally bound by that agreement and from all other federal, state, and private funding sources that will reimburse the University at the negotiated rate.
Contact Jenny Kroll, Student Employment Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
or 715-394-8202 at Financial Aid, Old Main 110 for information regarding student wages.
The following policies are in effect as of July 1, 2008. Refer to the Travel guidelines for current rates. http://www.uwsa.edu/fadmin/travel/TravelersReferenceGuide.pdf
For foreign travel, see the UW System policies.
Mileage: See Travel Guide. http://www.uwsa.edu/fadmin/travel/TravelersReferenceGuide.pdf
Lodging In State = $70 per night, excluding tax ($80 in Milwaukee, Racine, and Waukesha counties).
Out of State = $70 per night. UW System has out-of-state lodging maximums for higher cost cities.
NOTE: See UW System for additional regulations and info (e.g., special rates by hotel, conference site hotel policy).
Air Travel: All online air travel must be booked through Travelport. Air travel may also be booked by phone directly through the airlines or through a local travel agent.
Meals: In State = $8 for breakfast, $9 for lunch, and $17 for dinner.
Out of State = $10 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, and $20 for dinner.
Make Checks Payable To
University of Wisconsin-Superior Business Office.
Scholarships and Gifts
Contact UW-Superior Foundation: Kay Biga, Old Main 237.
Each grant must have its own cost center. After you receive notification of a funded proposal, complete the cost center approval form from Business and Financial Services.
You must schedule a meeting with the post award grants administrator to review the grant administration role of both the Business Office and the Principle Investigator. Contact Jill Laughlin at email@example.com.