Finding a Faculty Mentor

Before you will be allowed to attend BIS 390 you must complete the BIS Educational Contract, have your faculty mentor approve and sign the contract, and you must submit it to the BIS office for approval.  The BIS office will provide a waiver on your student account which will allow you access to register for the course.

Where to Start

•    Identify a faculty mentor soon after your proposed concentration is approved (after completing BIS 300). Students completing a proposed concentration and a BIS Educational Contract at the same time should work with a BIS advisor.  Meet with a BIS advisor for approval if you plan to move from BIS 300 directly to BIS 390 in subsequent semesters.
•    Consider professors that teach courses you have taken or plan to take for your concentration for prospective faculty mentors.
•    Learn more about the professor you are considering for a faculty mentor:
•    Research possible faculty mentors in a department via a library search for publications (books, journal articles, special projects, etc.) concerning a particular area of interest.  Contact a reference librarian for assistance in finding these publications.
•    Most departments/programs across campus have designated a BIS Liaison. After all other routes have been exhausted; the Liaison is the point of contact for a BIS student needing assistance identifying a faculty mentor in a specific department.

Contacting BIS Liaisons

When all other routes have been exhausted, you may send an e-mail to the appropriate BIS Liaison requesting an appointment to meet and discuss potential faculty mentors. Include a short explanation of who you are and what you are interested in studying.  Consider drafting a preliminary BIS Educational Contract and rationale statement to send, as well.

Some items to consider including are:
•    Proposed concentration or list of possible courses to be included in BIS Educational Contract
•    BIS Educational Contract and rationale statement
•    Unofficial Transcript or Degree Evaluation (available on Patriot Web)
•    Resumé

Communicating with a Prospective Faculty Mentor

•    Send an email or speak with the prospective faculty mentor in person to request a time to meet to discuss the role of a faculty mentor.
•    Include a short explanation of who you are and what you are interested in studying.
•    Consider drafting the BIS Educational Contract and Rationale Statement to send, as well.
•    Direct prospective faculty mentors to specific information on the BIS website to learn about the roles, responsibilities and rewards of participating as a BIS faculty mentor or have the prospective mentor contact the BIS office.

Student Responsibilities

When working with a mentor, it is the student's responsibility to obtain and provide the mentor with all appropriate paperwork:
•    Copy of proposed concentration
•    BIS Educational Contract and rationale statement, once approved by BIS department
•    BIS Contract Amendment form, whenever concentration changes are proposed
•    Final BIS 390 proposal (upon completion of BIS 390)
•    BIS 489 Permission to Register form (optional)
•    BIS 495 Internship paperwork (optional)

Nominate Your Faculty Mentor

Students who feel their faculty mentor went above and beyond in supporting them and their research are encouraged to nominate him/her for an Outstanding BIS Faculty Mentor Award. This is a yearly award presented at the Spring BIS Graduation Reception along with the Student Project Award winners.  Students nominating their faculty mentor must fill out the appropriate form and submit a letter of recommendation to the BIS office.

Faculty Mentors and Honor Students

The primary role of the BIS faculty mentor in the BIS honors sequence is to provide academic guidance as the student designs and implements the BIS 490 senior project. For honors students, BIS 490 is then taken as an individualized course section with the faculty mentor as course instructor.  Support from the faculty mentor is essential to the success of a student interested in meeting the challenge of honors-level academic work.