Summer Thesis Institute FAQs
Q: I am studying abroad this summer. Do I have to be present the full summer term in order to participate in the BSTI?
A: Yes. Participants must be on campus the full term of the summer program.
Q: I am very interested in participating in this program. How can I be nominated?
A: Students must be nominated by a full-time UD faculty member willing to serve as their Berry Summer Thesis Institute Research Mentor for the summer. The process is similar to that employed for the Honors Thesis process. Approach a faculty member from your major whose research interests you. This may be someone you have had as an instructor in class, or your academic advisor. Discuss the Institute with them, and ask them about the possibility of doing research under their supervision over the summer.
Q: What kind of time commitment is expected of the faculty mentor?
A: BSTI faculty mentors are expected to:
- Work closely with the BSTI fellow to develop the proposal and budget request due February 1.
- Be available to provide thesis mentorship throughout the 12-week summer program.
- Attend the Midterm Progress Report and Berry Summer Thesis Institute Symposium.
- Provide guidance and critical review of the original manuscript or literature review that the student will prepare for publication in the Proceedings of the Berry Summer Thesis Institute.
Q: If I agree to mentor a student for the Summer Thesis Institute, will I be compensated?
A: There is no compensation for the faculty. There is, however, the standard level of thesis funding available to the student--these funds are available for two years instead of one for the students involved in the institute ($1500/year pending needs).
Q: What kind of research projects are students expected to pursue?
A: The type of research the student pursues, and how the time devoted to research is structured (students are expected to pursue their research project about 25 hours per week), is completely dependent upon the project, student and mentor. The summer research experience is to be thought of as an opportunity for the student to initiate an Honors thesis a year earlier than usual. The same type of mentorship that occurs in supervising a thesis project is what should happen over the summer, but is likely to be a bit more intensive, since the committed to research activity is greater than during the academic year. So there is a lot of flexibility on how mentors and students pursue the research component of the Institute. The overarching goal is to provide students an opportunity to pursue a research project in depth, and in a way that will prepare them for the pursuit of a undergraduate Honors thesis.
Q: Will the UHP provide the research topic?
A: The nature of the research project, and how it is conducted, is determined by the faculty mentor and the student. It will likely be an extension of the faculty mentor’s own research/scholarship. In some cases a student may contribute to an on-going research project defined by the mentor. In other cases the student may engage in a separate but synergistic question related to the mentor's main area of scholarship, while others may have the preparation and insight to clearly define a novel question or project which will be pursued under the mentor's guidance. The process could be thought of it as a way to train a new generation of professionals in a specific discipline.
Q: Can I nominate a student who is not a member of the Honors Program?
A: No. Students who are eligible for nomination and selection for participation in the Berry Summer Thesis Institute must be a third semester (sophomore) Honors student in good standing, with a minimum cumulative 3.75 GPA.
Q: Why should I participate as a mentor in this program?
A: Students can meaningfully contribute to a faculty mentor's scholarship in numerous ways. A student at the mid-career stage often has a sufficient understanding of the nature of a problem, but has not yet developed a purely disciplinary perspective. This enables the students to bring fresh ideas to the process. Students bring energy and spark to the discussion and can rejuvenate and motivate faculty in their own research. In addition, research projects can be carefully designed so that student contributions compliment and actually further the scholarship of the mentor, leading to student co-authorship on publications and manuscripts. Mentoring students is also part of the UD mission as faculty, and as academics, to prepare future scholars in mentor disciplines. It is also a way to "pay it forward" in recognition of previous mentors who helped guide and develop current academics and scholars. Plus ... it's fun!