Faculty Mentoring Award FAQ

Q: I would like to get nominated for the CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award. Do I have to be nominated by a faculty member in my own department?

A: No. A nominee can be nominated by a faculty member or a researcher in the computing field. The faculty member does not need to be in your own department.  Please note that a  letter from a departmental representative addressing the nominee’s impact on their own department is expected.

Q: What is the difference between the CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award and the NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring award?

A: Both awards recognize mentoring activities. The CRA-E award is aimed at faculty mentors who have provided research experiences to undergraduates and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of these students to research-focused graduate programs in computing. The NCWIT award recognizes faculty members who conduct research with undergraduate students which embody the objectives of NCWIT.  

Q: Can I be nominated for the NCWIT and the CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring awards in the same year?

A: Yes. However, the awards recognize different aspects of undergraduate research mentoring success, so nominees and nominators are encouraged to objectively review a nominee’s merits with regard to each award criteria.  

Q: I am considering nominating someone who has mentored many undergraduates, including many female students. Many of them considered going to graduate school, but so far none have. Is this person eligible for the CRA-E’s Faculty Mentoring award?

A: No. Please consider the individual’s nomination for the CRA-E Faculty Mentoring award in future years, when your nominee’s application will include students who have successfully enrolled in graduate programs.

Q: The guidelines say that a letter from a departmental representative is expected. Why is it not required?

A: We expect that for most nominees a departmental representative will provide a support letter addressing  the nominee’s role and impact on mentoring activities in the department. However, we can imagine unique situations when the nominee’s mentoring activities do not involve students in the department. For example, a faculty member with an exceptional record of being a mentor in CRA-W’s DREU program may be nominated and outstanding mentoring activities may have centered on students from other schools.

Q: If I am nominated this year and not selected for an award, can I be nominated again next year?

A: All CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring nominations not selected in the first year of nomination are held over for consideration in the following year. Prior year nominees are encouraged to update their nomination packet with new information and resubmit.

Q: A colleague is considering nominating me for this award, and I know another faculty member in the department is also being nominated. It there a restriction on how many faculty from one department can be nominated?

A: No. The CRA-E Faculty Mentoring Award allows more than one application per department.

Q: The evaluation criteria includes diversity of students. What is meant by this?

A: The academic and industrial computing community is working hard to diversify the students studying computing and being involved in research, as well as their representation in the computing workforce. Diversity refers to members of our society underrepresented in computing and includes women, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and other URMs as defined by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). Successful mentoring of members of underrepresented groups into graduate programs in computing is an important component to increasing their representation in the workforce.

Q: The award recognizes guidance on admission and matriculation of students to research-focused graduate programs in computing. What is meant by research-focused graduate programs in computing?

A: The phrase “a research-focused graduate program in computing” is used to describe a graduate program involving the student in independent research which is summarized in a Master’s or Ph.D. thesis in computing. This is in contrast to course-based Master’s degree programs or professional programs such as medical or law degrees. The committee will be sensitive to the interdisciplinarity of computing research; for example, a bioinformatics dissertation done in a biology department may be primarily computing research.

Q: What does the committee look for as evidence of strong mentoring?

A: Examples include co-authored papers with mentees, personal engagement with and impact on mentees (e.g., as described in support letters), evidence of continued communication with mentees after their graduation. The key element is personal engagement with the students, rather than sole responsibility and/or management of an undergraduate research program.

Q: Who can nominate someone for this award?

A:  A nominee must be nominated by a faculty member or a computing researcher. An individual pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in computing cannot make a nomination.

Q: How can a held-over nomination be updated for the next year’s competition?

A: To keep the committee informed of most recent activity, the nominator should update some or all of the nomination information.  Then an entire nomination including these updates should be submitted to the new competition.

Q: With the deadline of Nov. 26, 2018, when will CRA offer prior year nominees the opportunity to update their nominations?

A: Monday, Sept 24, 2018 or later is recommended.