Choosing a Faculty Mentor

Students must work on their literature review with guidance from a Faculty Mentor. Faculty mentors may be any UWSOM faculty members with an Affiliate, Acting, Adjunct, Clinical, or Regular faculty appointment; this includes those at the Instructor level. Fellows and residents do not hold Faculty appointments, and are not eligible to be a research mentor or co-mentor. If your Faculty Mentor does not have a UWSOM faculty appointment, you will need a Faculty Co-mentor who does have a UWSOM faculty appointment. In this case, a Faculty Co-mentor is needed in order to provide assistance through UWSOM in case issues arise, and to be able to provide an evaluation of your work. If you have a Faculty Co-mentor, you will still work primarily with your Faculty Mentor and check in with your Faculty Co-mentor every 2-4 weeks (or more as needed) throughout the summer.

You will work with your Faculty Mentor in two stages. The first stage is in the preparation of your Project Proposal. They must read and provide feedback of your Project Proposal drafts, as well as sign and approve your final Project Proposal.

The second stage is during the execution of your project. Your Faculty Mentor should meet with you regularly throughout the summer (weekly at minimum). Their role is to help you plan your study, keep your project on track, read and provide feedback on your drafts and final paper, and provide an evaluation.

The Faculty Mentor you choose and the relationship you build will be among the most important considerations in making this experience enjoyable and successful. A Faculty Mentor needs to be:

  • Interested in your topic (though not necessarily an expert in it)
  • Familiar with literature reviews
  • Available to meet with you (weekly at minimum) during the Summer term to guide you through your project to the Final Paper.
  • Someone with skills and knowledge that complement those you bring to the project.
  • Enthusiastic about working with you

The ideal Faculty Mentor also:

  • Develops a supportive environment for scholarship
  • Values scholarship
  • Demonstrates professionalism

Once you have identified a few faculty members who you may want to work with, start by contacting them by email. A few best practices for initiating contact are:

  1. Address them respectfully by their title (i.e. Dear Dr. Stack).
  2. Introduce yourself. For example, “I am a UW medical student seeking a summer project and see that we share an interest in…..”)
  3. Explain why you are interested. Is this topic something you enjoy reading about? Do you have experience that could be useful? (Include your resume if this is the case. However, this is not always necessary, your interest is the main requirement!)
  4. Ask to meet. For example, “Could we meet to discuss this further? I am available in person or by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx”
  5. If you are requesting to meet with a faculty member at another Foundations Site, let them know this and that you are able to move for the summer if needed. Consider requesting a meeting by Zoom with your phone number as a back-up.

Once you have chosen a mentor, set up a schedule of periodic meetings to develop your Project Proposal, and prepare what needs to be done in order to execute your work over the summer. Over the Summer term, set up a schedule of regular meetings to ensure your project stays on track to meet the Final Paper due date in the Fall.