The SURE Program is a student-oriented program, meaning that project proposals are conceived and written by students. Faculty serve as mentors and should provide students with advice and feedback while they are formulating and writing their project proposals. Below is some basic information about the SURE program that is relevant to faculty mentors and recommendation writers.
Mentoring a SURE Applicant
If you are willing to serve as a SURE faculty mentor, you should be prepared to actively interact with your SURE student for 10 weeks over the summer. It is preferable that both the student and the faculty mentor will be co-located during the project period, however, there may be cases in which this is not practical nor ideal. Because research and scholarship models vary across the disciplines, student-faculty collaborations will take different forms.
SURE students will require constant oversight and feedback, and the faculty mentor is responsible for ensuring that the project is successful and progressing as proposed. Before agreeing to serve as a faculty mentor, you should assess how other scheduled professional and personal summer activities might impact your ability to be an effective and attentive mentor.
Payments to SURE Faculty Mentors
SURE faculty mentors receive a small sum of money for being a faculty mentor. The stipend does not serve as hour-for-hour compensation, but is meant to acknowledge the faculty member's effort and leadership on the project. Faculty mentors may opt to receive payment as research funds, money for travel or supplies, or as a stipend. Please note that stipends are considered taxable income. Faculty mentor payments are calculated each year depending on funding and number of applications. In 2012 each faculty mentor received $3500.
Mentoring More than One SURE Applicant
Faculty may agree to serve as a mentor for more than one SURE applicant, however, beginning in 2013, only one project per faculty mentor will be funded. If you have been asked by more than one student to serve as a faculty mentor, please inform the students that they are all eligible to apply, but only one project may be funded.
Letters of Recommendation from Faculty Mentors
If you have been asked to serve as a faculty mentor, you will be required to write a letter of recommendation for the SURE applicant. Your letter will be important in evaluating the feasibility of the project and the student's qualifications. Please make sure you include a discussion of your planned mentoring activities and what you will do to oversee the project. This is especially important to include if the student will be traveling to do field work or archival research and you will not be physically co-located. If you have been asked to serve as a faculty mentor on more than one application, please make sure your letter provides the review committee with an indication of which project should be funded.
Letters of Recommendation from Non-Mentors
You may be asked to write a letter of recommendation for a SURE applicant even though you will not serve as the faculty mentor. SURE applications require two letters: one from the faculty mentor and one from another faculty member who can comment on the student's intellectual and academic abilities. If you are writing a non-mentor letter, please address the student's overall intellectual abilities and how well you believe the student can undertake the proposed project. Please keep your letter relevant and concise.