New Insight on Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers: CUR Releases Update to Classic Text on Advising Undergraduate Researchers

Washington, DC- During President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he emphasized the importance of education and its role in the competitiveness and growth of this country.  This week the Council on Undergraduate Research is releasing “How to Mentor Undergraduate Researchers,” which highlights the importance of guiding the independent thinking, managing skills and academic and occupational futures of students, along with suggestions on how higher education faculty can do so.

This updated “How to Mentor” handbook reflects many changes over the last decade in the scope and extent of research opportunities for undergraduates in the United States. In this edition, the authors have

called on experts in a variety of different fields to expand the handbook’s usefulness across all areas of undergraduate-research endeavors. This handbook recognizes that the involvement of undergraduates in research has led universities and their faculties to devise new approaches to curriculum that cut across disciplines.  Student/faculty collaborative research is contributing to economic development and job creation and this publication provides the framework for establishing a creative atmosphere.

Council on Undergraduate Research: The Council on Undergraduate Research ( supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. Nearly 600 institutions and over 5500 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.


Louise Temple is a professor in the Department of Integrated Science & Technology at James Madison University, where she teaches microbiology and conducts research with undergraduates into a pathogen affecting turkeys. Her recent work includes development of original research experiences in the classroom, focusing on younger students. She did her doctoral and postdoctoral work at the Medical College of Virginia and then taught at Drew University for 10 years before joining James Madison. She has been active in CUR for nearly 20 years and has been a biology councilor for six years.

Thomas Sibley is a professor of mathematics at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, where he has mentored dozens of undergraduate researchers in mathematics and mathematical biology. His own scholarship includes publishing two mathematics textbooks and a variety of papers. His Peace Corps experience teaching high-school mathematics in French in the Congo set him on his career path. After completing his PhD at Boston University, he taught at Cuttington University in Liberia before joining St. John’s. He was a CUR councilor for nine years.

Amy J. Orr is an associate professor of sociology at Linfield College, where she teaches courses in the sociology of education, race/ethnicity, gender, and social policy. Her primary research focus is educational inequality, particularly issues involving race, gender, and family structure. She served as a CUR social science councilor from 2006–2009 and has written two articles for the CUR Quarterly on conducting interdisciplinary undergraduate research abroad. Orr has served as the senior thesis coordinator for the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Linfield for the past seven years, and actively supports undergraduate research at the annual meetings of the Pacific Sociological Association.

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