Undergraduate Research Mentor Development Program

The Spring 2018 program is currently full for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Add your information to our waitlist below. 

Graduate Students & Postdoctoral Scholars waitlist

Faculty registration is still open.

Faculty Register Here

We are pleased to announce that Christie Toth, Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric Studies, will be our faculty facilitator for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The purpose of the Undergraduate Research Mentor Development Program is to increase the capacity of the University of Utah to provide high-quality research mentors for undergraduate students. Participation in the program is available to University of Utah graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. Upon successful completion of the program, graduate students and post-docs will be eligible to serve in the place of ‘faculty mentors’ in the context of the Office of Undergraduate Research’s funding programs.

The program is designed to prepare participants to provide high-quality mentoring to undergraduate student researchers. The program involves “modules” presented in online course format, in addition to five in-person meetings, with a total time commitment by participants of 10-15 hours over the course of a semester. The in-person meetings use case studies to demonstrate issues that may arise in mentor-mentee relationships, and are intended to facilitate conversation and provide an opportunity for participants to work through problems collaboratively. Topics covered by the online modules and the case studies are organized around core mentor training competencies grounded in academic research (e.g. Pfund et al. 2013). These competencies include: (1) maintaining effective communication; (2) aligning expectations; (3) assessing understanding; (4) cultivating academic literacies; (5) fostering independence; and (6) promoting professional development. Throughout the program, we will develop our capacities to mentor the diverse undergraduate researchers with whom we work.

Eligibility & Registration

  • Eligibility:
    • Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars: open to University of Utah Master’s and Doctoral-level graduate students and University of Utah postdoctoral scholars
    • Faculty: open to University of Utah tenure-line and career-line faculty
  • Registration:
    • Registration for the Spring 2018 program is capped at 30.
    • Registration will open at noon on November 15 and will close when space is filled.
    • You will be asked to provide background information and describe your interest in the program.
    • Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars: the Spring 2018 program is full. Add your information to our waitlist to receive notification if more spaces become available or for priority registration for the Fall 2018 program.
    • Faculty register here.
      • Please note: The Program is designed to be readily “scaled up”, in that the content is presented via Canvas, and the in-person meetings involve discussion of case studies facilitated by a faculty member who is an experienced mentor to undergraduate student researchers. In future semesters, it is our plan to select faculty fellows from among the faculty who have previously participated in the program, each serving 20-30 participants. Before you register, please consider if you would be willing to serve as a faculty fellow during the 2018-2019 academic year. It would involve monitoring the Canvas site (content is already provided), providing feedback to participants on their written mentoring philosophies, and facilitating the five in-person meetings (discussion of mentoring case studies) in both Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters. We want to make sure that we maximize the number of potential future fellows among the 2017-2018 faculty participants.

Program Structure

  • Six online (Canvas) modules plus five in-person discussion sessions
  • NOTE: For the purpose of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students who are participating in order to serve as UROP mentors, successful completion of the Mentor Development Program is defined as follows: Completing all Canvas modules by their deadlines and attending at least four of the five in-person sessions. Those who successfully complete the Mentor Development Program during the Spring 2018 semester are eligible to serve as Fall 2018 UROP mentors (student deadline in June 2018).
  • Required work is due prior to the beginning of the associated in-person meeting.

Mentoring Modules

Module 1. Elements of Effective Mentoring/Developing a Mentoring Philosophy

  • Module Content: Mentor Development Program Information, Readings, Handouts
  • Required Work: Mentoring Competencies Pre-Test due Friday, January 19, 2018

Module 2. Establishing Expectations and Maintaining Effective Communication

  • Module Content: Readings, Handouts, Case Studies
  • Required Work: Reflection “quiz”
  • In-person meeting: Friday, January 26, 2018, 10:15-11:30 AM, Sill Center Room 120 (Large Conference Room)

Module 3. Assessing, Understanding, and Fostering Independence

  • Module Content: Readings, Handouts, Case Studies
  • Required Work: Reflection “quiz”
  • In-person meeting: Friday, February 9, 2018, 10:15-11:30 AM, Sill Center Room 120 (Large Conference Room)

Module 4. Academic Literacy & Writing

  • Module Content: Readings, Handouts, Case Studies
  • Required Work: Reflection “quiz”
  • In-person meeting: Friday, February 23, 2018, 10:15-11:30 AM, Sill Center Room 120 (Large Conference Room)

Module 5. Research and Mentoring Ethics

  • Module Content: Readings, Handouts, Case Studies
  • Required Work: Reflection “quiz”
  • In-person meeting: Friday, March 9, 2018, 10:15-11:30 AM, Sill Center Room 120 (Large Conference Room)

Module 6. Professional Development

  • Module Content: Readings, Handouts, Case Studies
  • Required Work: Mentoring Competencies Post-Test, Exit Questionnaire, Final Mentoring Philosophy
  • In-person meeting: Friday, March 30, 2018, 10:15-11:30 AM, Sill Center Room 120 (Large Conference Room)

Certified Mentors

The faculty, post-docs, and graduate students listed below have successfully completed the Undergraduate Research Mentor Development Program:

Alexis Christensen (Spring 2017)
David  Ede (Spring 2017)
Wilson Good (Spring 2017)
Nicholas Hebdon (Spring 2017)
Inese Ivans (Spring 2017)
Caitlin Kelly (Spring 2017)
Mukund Raj (Spring 2017)
Crystal Sigulinsky (Spring 2017)
James Tabery (Spring 2017)
Jess Tate (Spring 2017)
Christie Toth (Spring 2017)
Roseanne Warren (Spring 2017)
Dawn  Wenzel (Spring 2017)

Alexis Christensen
David  Ede
Wilson Good
Nicholas Hebdon
Inese Ivans
Caitlin Kelly
Mukund Raj
Crystal Sigulinsky
James Tabery
Jess Tate
Christie Toth
Roseanne Warren
Dawn  Wenzel


For information about the Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program, please contact Megan Shannahan at megan.shannahan@utah.edu.

For additional mentoring resources at the U, please visit the VPR’s mentoring site.


Pfund C, House S, Spencer K, Asquith P, Carney P, Masters KS  McGee R, Shanedling J, Vecchiarelli S, Fleming M. A research mentor training curriculum for clinical and translational researchers. Clin Trans Sci. 2013; 6: 26 – 33.