The Undergraduate Research Center (URC) provides information for students on research opportunities, financial support to conduct research, and a forum for the dissemination of student accomplishments. It is located in Library/Academic Commons, 2nd floor, Old Wing, Rooms 253A, and can be reached at 323-259-1414 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Occidental's Strategic Plan encourages undergraduate research as a key component of the Occidental experience: "The College's long-held commitment to undergraduate education is also reflected in the emphasis on providing opportunities for students to participate in research and related scholarly endeavors. . . This focus on undergraduate participation in the creation of knowledge is a principal ingredient of the academic experience of an Occidental student" (Pursuing the Vision of Excellence and Equity 1997-2001; Occidental's Strategic Plan).
Faculty: Some student and mentor relationships go beyond the research project and may have resulted in co-authored publications. Share your most current publications with the URC by completing this form.
Information for Mentors
For important upcoming deadlines for research opportunities please visit our calendar.
Who May Serve as a student research mentor?
- For Academic Student Projects (ASP) and ASP Conference Travel all Oxy faculty members including research, teaching, and visiting faculty may serve as mentors.
- For ASP Research Travel all Oxy faculty members including research, teaching, and visiting faculty may serve as mentors.
- For the Summer Research Program only tenure-track and continuing non tenure-track faculty who will be on-campus during the summer are eligible to serve as mentors.
- For the Science Scholars Program only tenure-track faculty in the fields of Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Geology, Kinesiology, Physics and Psychology (Neuroscience emphasis) who will be on-campus during the award year (Spring, Summer, Fall and Spring) are eligible to serve as mentors.
Role of the Mentor
The mentor advises the student beginning with writing the proposal, continuing throughout the data collection and research period and until the presentation of the results. Some student and mentor relationships will continue beyond the initial project period and may result in co-authored publications or other successes.
Although the mentor provides guidance, keep in mind that the student has primary responsibility for her/his own project. Although collaboration between student and mentor will vary with the nature of the student's project, mentoring a research student generally involves the following:
- Consult with the student on the design of the project and review a draft of the student's proposal and budget. The mentor may not write the proposal. Please bear in mind that funding is intended for student use on independent projects, not as a means to augment departmental or lab budgets.
- Complete the required recommendation form and a letter and submit it directly to the URC. Visit our Letter of Recommendation tab for helpful information on writing your letter or to download the required recommendation forms.
- Oversee the student's work on the project and consult at appropriate intervals. If the mentor will be away for a short period of time, he or she should designate a colleague to supervise the student. In general, remote supervision is not consistent with the goals and objectives of the URC and will NOT be supported.
- Collaborate with the student as needed in writing the abstract and final report.
- Assist the student with project-or time-management, outlining deadlines or setting progress checks.
- Mentors should avoid taking vacation time during the 10 week summer research period.
- If you think you might be interested in participating as a faculty mentor in the Summer Research Program, please have look at our SRP Faculty Info. It describes how the program works, the role of the faculty mentor, and suggests some ways to encourage students to participate.
- Help the student prepare for any oral presentation, e.g. "End of Summer" conference or the SCCUR or NCUR conferences (even “poster” presentations require students to be prepared with a descriptive narrative!). You can find more information on preparing a talk or poster or applying for funding to present at a conference on our Presenting Your Research page.
- Contact the URC if administrative problems arise.
Occidental College Faculty members: If you have agreed to serve as a mentor, or are still considering it and wondering what might be expected of you, please visit the Occidental College Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) Moodle Page and look at the resources posted under the "Undergraduate Research" heading. In particular, we suggest you look at the document entitled "Mentoring Undergraduate Research Faculty Guidebook," which was written by a Faculty Learning Committee. However there are a number of other links that we're sure you'll find useful, too!
Sponsored Research Office
The URC has been designated the support office for Sponsored Research, including preparation of forms necessary to complete and submit proposals for outside support. Policies, forms, and information regarding Sponsored Research are available at www.oxy.edu/sro.