Faculty Information: First-Year Honors Mentor Program

For more than 20 years, this spring-semester program has provided opportunities for faculty to work with talented first-year students in their research. This program introduces students to the world of research beyond the classroom, and faculty can connect with high-ability students in the first stages of their college careers.

Students participate in a variety of scholarly projects from many disciplines. They can be mentored directly by faculty or by someone on a research team (e.g., a post-doc or graduate student). The first-year students work three hours a week per academic credit of Hon 290H, with a limit of six hours/two credits. In addition to their research, students take part in faculty-facilitated discussions at midterm. They may also apply for grants of up to $250 in support of their research activities. At the end of the semester, faculty assign an S/F grade for Hon 290.

We make every effort to match students and faculty on the basis of mutual interests and specified skills. Potential mentors register via a web-based system early in the fall term. Registration is followed by opportunities for both students and faculty to indicate preferences. The next steps are preliminary matches, interviews and – if all parties are in agreement – completion of a contract and the students’ registration. Work begins in the spring term.

If you are interested in participating in the First-Year Honors Mentor Program, contact Dana Schumacher (dschumac@iastate.edu).

Register to Participate (site is open Sept 2-19)

Examples of Mentor Program Projects

Mentor Program Timetable:

  • September: Faculty register and describe their research
  • October: Students register and preference mentors; mentors review and preference students.
  • November: Students & faculty are matched (and sometimes re-matched) on mutual interests; students meet with prospective mentors; complete and submit contracts; register for HON 290 credit.
  • January: Students begin working with mentors.
  • March: Students meet for a midterm discussion group.
  • April: Projects completed; final evaluations completed.

Hear from Past Mentors and Students: