MSSRP Mentor and Mentee Responsibilities
Mentoring for summer research projects is defined as supporting and assisting the student (mentee) in the completion of his/her summer project. The mentor possesses the expertise that will facilitate the mentees's academic and professional development through a one-on-one, committed relationship between the mentor and mentee.

The Mentor:

  • Serves both as a teacher and as a supervisor. The mentor provides instruction, helps establish short-term goals and timelines for the mentee, critiques and edits written work of the mentee, reviews and tracks the mentee's progress, provides feedback, and challenges the mentee.
  • Serves as a role model. The mentor imparts knowledge, experience, and professionalism both directly and indirectly through his/her behavior, attitudes, and perspectives.
  • Is flexible and adaptable to the needs of the mentee. The mentor should be willing to adapt his/her educational approach as the mentee progresses in his/her summer project and as the needs of the mentee change. Initially the mentor may need to play an active role in establishing short-term goals and timelines to maintain and reinforce progress. Later on, the mentor may serve more as a guide or consultant to the mentee.
  • Is available and has regularly scheduled, in person meetings with the mentee. The in person meetings can be supplemented with communication via telephone, voice mail, or email. However, these forms of communication should not replace regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings.

Mentor Responsibilities:

  • Although students are encouraged to develop their own project under guidance of a faculty mentor, it is recognized that many students will become involved in larger, ongoing research projects of their mentor. The faculty mentor should also encourage the student to be the first author on abstracts and publications that may result from their work.
  • The faculty mentor should ensure that the student is not simply used as a technician to accomplish someone's research project.
  • The project proposal must be written by the student. In collaborative projects the student's role must be stated in his/her proposal.
  • The faculty mentor should ensure that the student is trained in all appropriate safety precautions, such as biohazards, recombinant DNA, radioactive materials, laboratory safety, human subjects, and animal care, BEFORE the student begins the research.
  • The faculty mentor should ensure that IRB protocol numbers are obtained for the use of any human subjects, or a written exemption, and IACUC protocol numbers for animal subjects. These must be obtained BEFORE the student begins data collection for the project. The mentor or a member of his/her research team should assist the student in writing of IRB/IACUC protocols.  The student must be added to any existing protocol before the project begins.
  • The faculty mentor is responsible for making available space, equipment, and supplies necessary for completion of the project.
  • The faculty mentor should invest sufficient time in supervising the student, including weekly meetings to discuss results and student progress and when required help to focus (or refocus) the direction of the project.
  • The faculty mentor should promptly advise the Summer Program Director, if significant problems arise or if the student needs to change the scope or direction of his/her project, or the faculty mentor.
  • The faculty mentor serves as the first reviewer and gives approval of the student's final project report.
  • The primary mentor must be a faculty member at the Birmingham, Huntsville, or Tuscaloosa campuses. In cases where the primary mentor is external, there must be a co-mentor. The co-mentor must also approve the student's project proposal, and approve the final written project report.

The Mentee Responsibilities:

  • Conduct research in an ethical and responsible manner expected of faculty members.
  • Maintain satisfactory progress and participation in the training program according to the established timeline and as suggested by the mentor.
  • Schedule regular meetings with the mentor and follow through with communication and plans.