NSF-AIRE at Reed
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Mentor Program
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Participating Departments
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Biology   Chemistry   Physics   Psychology
Evaluation of an Undergraduate Mentoring Program in the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics at Reed College, 2000-2001
Appendix D

Faculty Responses to Open-ended Questions[13]

Question 3

What were your goals and expectations for the student mentoring program?


A: Mentor Benefits

1. Job-related: training in how to mentor (2)
2. Research training (1)

B: Faculty Benefits

1. Develop course and lab materials (1)
2. Assist professor's research (1)

C: Student Benefits

1.Receive mentor's advice regarding independent student research (2)


Faculty #1: To expose the AIRE student to advanced research techniques such that he could be a mentor in my upper level course. A1

Faculty #2: To develop a new organic chemistry lab experiment. B1

Faculty #3: To give the student research experience during the summer in preparation for the student to mentor other students in an upcoming upper level course. A1

Faculty #4: To assist with faculty summer research and to help the student conduct research. A2, B2

Faculty #5: To give the student mentor to have an opportunity to work with other students in upper level courses. C1

Faculty #6: To have an additional person to help students receive more one-on-one advice/help during independent research projects. C1

Question 7

Do you think last summer's research experience prepared your student(s) for their jobs as mentors this past year? If so, in what ways?


Last summer's research experience taught mentors:

A: How to operate advanced equipment (1)

B: Improved equipment operation (2)

C: How to locate resources (books, journals) (1)

D: How to explain concepts/procedures to students (4)


Faculty #1: Yes, in teaching the mentor laboratory techniques, but not in preparing the mentor to interact with students in the upper level course he was mentoring for. A

Faculty #2: Yes, the mentor learned how to operate research instrumentation and how to find resources in both the chemistry building and in the library. B, C

Faculty #3: To some extent the research was vital, but having taken the course in the past is also vital; the summer research was important in that it helped the mentor see how to explain things to students in the course. D

Faculty #4: Yes, the mentor got a lot of experience with my research methods, goals, and expectations which she was then able to translate to my students. D

Faculty #5: Yes, the mentor learned to use the equipment in a variety of ways that made him more effective in communicating techniques (to my students). B, D

Faculty #6: Yes, by giving them more practical experience with some procedures and the confidence to help the course students work through some issues. D

Question 8

What do you think might make the summer experience more effective for mentors in the future?


A: Selecting mentors with good communication skills (with students) (1)

B: Assigning different mentors to each lab (1)

C: Formalizing mentor's duties (1)

D: Other (1)

E: N/A (2)


Faculty #1: Choosing a mentor with people skills. A

Faculty #2: N/A E

Faculty #3: Not enough mentors for all of my labs. B

Faculty #4: A more formal process to outline the mentor’s duties with regard to mentoring the class. C

Faculty #5: To reorganize the structure of Junior Lab so that students have more opportunities to study their own projects. D

Faculty #6: N/A E

Question 9

How do mentors differ from teaching assistants, if they do?


A: Mentors are student-focused (i.e., assist independent student research), rather than professor-focused (3)

B: Staff more advanced labs (1)

C: Differ from T.A's in title only (1)

D: Other (1)


Faculty #1: No difference other than they are staffing a more advanced laboratory. B

Faculty #2: The student was simply not hired as a teaching assistant. C

Faculty #3: Not much difference. The mentor has a more specific task of helping students with the independent research component of the course - the emphasis is more on enriching the research thinking of the enrolled students. A

Faculty #4: Teaching assistants lighten the professor’s workload by grading papers. The mentor's primary duty was to interact with the students. A

Faculty #5: T.A.'s are only used in instructional labs. The mentors must be flexible in accommodating interests of the students in their own projects and in operating the instruments. A

Faculty #6: No experience with T.A's in the lab. D

Question 10

Are you aware of any students becoming mentors on their own, outside of the official program?


A: Yes, by exchanging ideas or getting advice on research projects (2)

B: N/A (4)


Faculty #1: N/A B

Faculty #2: Juniors and seniors act as research mentors for each other from time to time. A

Faculty #3: I am certain that students talk amongst themselves about their independent research to get ideas from each other or advice. A

Faculty #4: N/A B

Faculty #5: N/A B

Faculty #6: N/A B

Question 13

Did your student mentor(s) spend any time on mentoring tasks not connected with the labs?


A: Yes (2)

B: No (2)

C: Other (2)


Faculty #1: No. B

Faculty #2: Yes. A

Faculty #3: No. B

Faculty #4: Not directly, but as the lecture and lab portion of the course are integrated, the mentors might have helped students with questions that pertained to lecture. C

Faculty #5: Thesis work. A

Faculty #6: Don't know. C

Question 15

Has the NSF-AIRE mentoring program influenced your teaching load? If it has, please explain:


A: Labs ran more smoothly (1)

B: Improved quality of professor-student interaction (e.g., worked out preliminary research questions) (2)

C: Reduced risks to expensive equipment (1)

D: N/A (2)


Faculty #1: N/A

Faculty #2: N/A

Faculty #3: Yes, in one of my labs it has made things less hectic. A

Faculty #4: Yes, the mentor helped with many of the smaller preliminary questions about conducting research. As a result they had better formulated ideas and questions which helped me to better utilize my time. B

Faculty #5: Greater comfort in allowing juniors access to expensive equipment. C

Faculty #6: Allowed greater utilization of time with students. B

Question 16

How has the NSF-AIRE mentoring program modified your usual teaching practices, if it has?


A: Better use of professor's time with students (1)

B: Less supervision by professor of students (e.g., working with expensive equipment) (1)

C: No change (2)

D: N/A (2)


Faculty #1: No change C

Faculty #2: N/A D

Faculty #3: No change C

Faculty #4: Greater utilization of time with students; higher level of discussion with students because the mentor has answered preliminary questions. A

Faculty #5: Greater comfort in allowing juniors access to expensive equipment. B

Faculty #6: N/A D

Question 18

If the NSF-AIRE program had a moderate or substantial contribution to the growth and development of your mentor, describe the changes you have observed.



A: Learned difference between study vs. practice of physical science (1)

B: Gained confidence in research abilities and use of equipment (2)

C: Gained self-knowledge (1)

D: Other (1)

E: N/A (2)


Faculty #1: N/A E

Faculty #2: The mentor learned the difference between the practice of chemistry and the study of chemistry, learned about the things that faculty consider when conducting research or developing new instructional materials, and the mentors learned about their affinity for laboratory work. A, C

Faculty #3: N/A E

Faculty #4: Gave mentor greater confidence in research abilities. B

Faculty #5: Confidence and competence in using equipment; developing ease in explaining technical ideas. B

Faculty #6: Helped solidify concepts. D

Question 20

What do you think might make the mentoring program during the academic year more effective in the future?


A: Select mentors for both research and social/teaching skills (1)

B: Expand mentor’s role to include organizing labs, working in both lower and upper division courses (2)

C: Assign a different mentor to each lab (1)

D: Formalize mentor/professor arrangements (1)

E: Other (2)


Faculty #1: The personality of the mentor (i.e., whether he/she is a people person...) A

Faculty #2: Making better use of the mentor during the school year, but a formal role for the mentor should not be required. E

Faculty #3: Having one mentor for each lab rather than one mentor for all three labs. C

Faculty #4: More formal arrangements between mentor and myself about duties, etc. and also having had the student take my course. D, E

Faculty #5: Incorporate materials for students throughout the curriculum, not just the upper-division. B

Faculty #6: Letting mentors have more responsibilities organizing the labs. B

Assessment Introduction
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F

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