UR2PhD Overview

The Undergraduate Research to PhD (“UR2PhD,” pronounced “you are to PhD”) Program focuses on engaging more women and gender-marginalized students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents in computing PhD programs. The program aims to ensure that participants have access to high-quality undergraduate research opportunities, positive mentorship experiences, and information about graduate study and research pathways. 

CRA Taulbee survey data indicates that only 23.3% of computer science PhDs who graduated in the 2020-21 academic year identified as women, and 68.7% of those women were nonresidents. There is an urgent need to increase the number and percentage of women who earn PhDs in computing and become leaders in technology research. Computing researchers shape the technology that is built and implemented in the US and beyond, and if researchers aren’t representative of society, we’re not only sacrificing potential technological innovations and their accompanying economic benefits, but we are also at risk of causing irreparable harm to vast segments of society. 

UR2PhD intends to increase the percentage of women and other gender-marginalized students (especially those who identify as Black, Latinx, and Native/Indigenous) entering computing doctoral programs by at least 15% per year, with higher increases for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. To this end, the UR2PhD program will specifically focus on increasing the number of undergraduate research opportunities for women, and closing the gap between a first research experience and a successful PhD application. 

In order to meet its objectives, the UR2PhD program will be comprised of three primary activities

  • Offering a twice-annual virtual, undergraduate research methods course to increase the capacity of computing departments to provide high-quality undergraduate research experiences
  • Growing the capacity and quality of research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) through a virtual mentor training program for graduate students in order to train them to support students in a culturally responsive manner 
  • Supporting and retaining participants via a series of online bridge workshops for students to increase their understanding of the graduate school application process, learn more about research pathways, and engage with current research

UR2PhD is managed by CRA’s Education Committee (CRA-E) and its Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP). Evaluation of the program will be conducted by CRA’s Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP).  

Looking to share information about the UR2PhD program? View and download our Informational Flyer.

Program Objectives

UR2PhD intends to increase the percentage of women and other gender-marginalized students, especially those that also identify as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous/Native, entering computing doctoral programs by at least 15% per year, with higher increases for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. To this end, the UR2PhD program will specifically focus on increasing the number of undergraduate research opportunities for women and closing the gap between a first research experience and a successful PhD application.

Program Activities

In order to meet its objectives, the UR2PhD program will be comprised of three primary activities: 

  • A virtual, undergraduate research methods course to increase the capacity of computing departments to provide high-quality undergraduate research experiences
  • A virtual mentor training program for graduate students to train them to support undergraduate researchers in a culturally responsive manner
  • A series of virtual workshops to increase students’ understanding of the graduate school application process, learn more about research pathways, and engage with active researchers

Program Entry Points 

In order for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in program activities, there are two pathways: individual applications and institutional partners.

  • Individual Applications:
    • Undergraduates seeking to participate in the virtual research methods course must first form a research group (composed of 2-4 undergraduates) and identify a research advisor. Students will then submit an application to the program in advance of the deadline for the term in which they are applying. Learn more about undergraduate student participation.
    • Graduate students serving as mentors for UR2PhD undergraduate participants must complete the mentor training course. Graduate students need not apply; when undergraduate students are selected to participate, the UR2PhD team will reach out to their research advisors and will request advisors identify any graduate student research mentors. Learn more about graduate student participation.
  • Institutional Partners:
    • In an effort to meet the program’s objectives, the program leadership team will work with institutional partners to expand their research capacity by at least 20 new undergraduate researchers.
      • For the 2023-2024 year, Boston University, University of Alberta, University of North Texas, and University of Waterloo are UR2PhD institutional partners.
      • For the 2024-2025 year, Boston University, University of Alberta, University of California Riverside, University of North Texas, and University of Waterloo are institutional partners.
    • The local coordinators at institutional partners are responsible for managing recruiting and mentoring efforts for their school. Undergraduate and graduate students at institutional partner schools should request additional information from their local coordinators about how they can get involved.
    • Learn more about institutional partnerships.

Program Funding

The Computing Research Association received a $5 million grant from a philanthropic partner to support the UR2PhD program. 

Have a question about the program that’s not covered in this section? Please refer to our FAQ, or send us an email at ur2phd@cra.org 

Undergraduate Research Methods Course

The undergraduate research methods course is a virtual, synchronous course that aims to support new undergraduate researchers during their first research experience. In the fall, the course is structured as a 12-week program, and in the summer, it is between 4-5 weeks in length. 

Before enrolling in the course, students must have identified a research mentor, a research group (at least one other student who will work on the same project and also enroll in the course), and a direction for a research project to be completed together under the supervision of the research mentor.  

The course will cover the foundations of research with the goal of supporting students in completing their pre-identified research project. Participants will develop and apply practical research skills, like reading and interpreting research papers, conducting literature reviews, and analyzing and presenting data. Students will hone their research comprehension and communication skills, develop an understanding of research ethics, and build their confidence in their identity as a researcher. All concepts and skills will be taught in the context of their projects. The course will also provide participants with an opportunity to foster a peer network of support. 

The course does NOT cover specific research methodologies and techniques. It is designed to assist participants in identifying the precise technical knowledge required for the successful completion of their research projects. Over the duration of the course, participants will enhance their research, communication, and teamwork abilities. Additionally, they will explore the societal, ethical, and cultural implications of their projects.

By participating, undergraduates will:

  • Learn, practice, and apply crucial skills necessary to conduct research while earning course credit or pay
  • Cultivate connections with undergraduate researchers within and beyond your university, fostering an extensive peer network
  • Develop relationships with research mentors and advisors who can serve as future references 
  • Expand understanding of computing research, sub-disciplines, and topics through engagement with guest speakers from across North America 
  • Grow knowledge about research opportunities and careers, as well as graduate school, with an opportunity to learn more about graduate school application expectations and requirements 

Participants will be asked to certify that they understand and will adhere to the following responsibilities and expectations: 

  • Engage in a research project at your college/institution with your research group, a faculty member, and (if applicable) a graduate student mentor
  • Actively participate in the same course session and time as their research team 
    • Active participation means arriving on-time. The expectation is that participants will have their cameras on during the entire session and will be focused on the course content, participating in discussion when prompted.
  • Attend all course sessions
    • Students will be allowed no more than 2 unexcused absences throughout the course
  • Complete course assignments in a timely fashion
  • Participate in evaluation efforts, as requested

For the Summer of 2024, meeting times have not been determined, but the course will tentatively take place on the following dates: 

Undergraduate Students
Session 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
A 5/20 5/22 5/23 5/29 5/30 6/3 6/5 6/6 6/10 6/12 6/13
B 6/17 6/20 6/24 6/26 6/27 7/1 7/3 7/8 7/10 7/11 7/15

Please note: these dates are tentative (M/W/TH), based on the actual cohort and instructor availability the course dates may change slightly. 

Students accepted into the UR2PhD program will have access to the undergraduate research methods course and the bridge workshops.

We strongly encourage faculty members to provide either course credit or payment to students who participate in the course.

If you are an undergraduate student attending one of our institutional partner schools (Boston University, University of Alberta, University of California Riverside, University of North Texas, or University of Waterloo), please reach out to your local coordinator for detailed application instructions.

For undergraduate students who do not attend one of our institutional partner schools, you will need to submit an application directly to our team. Before proceeding, prospective applicants need to identify a research team, research project, and faculty mentor. Please be aware that the faculty members mentioned in applications will be contacted by the UR2PhD team to verify the submissions and provide additional information.

Applications for the Summer of 2024 session will be accepted from February 1 – March 29, 2024Submit an application today: https://forms.gle/fkJtemebexP5225CA

Eligibility

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

Eligibility for the UR2PhD program is limited to groups of 2-4 undergraduate students enrolled in a North American university or college. Students must commit to attending the live, virtual sessions of the undergraduate research methods course at the same time as their research team. 

Students do NOT need to hold any specific nationality, nor do they need to identify as any specific gender to be considered for this program; however, they MUST be attending a North American-based institution.

Q: Do I have to attend an “institutional partner” school to apply?

No. Students do not need to attend an institutional partner school to apply. Learn more about how to apply here

Q: Do I have to be a CS major to participate?

No. Students do not need to have declared a major (or concentration) in computer science. However, they must be participating in a research project supporting the computing field, which includes computer science, computer engineering, and information science. Fields not housed in one of the departments listed here may be considered on a case by case basis.

Q: Do my research teammates have to work on the same project as me?

Yes. To be eligible for this program, undergraduates must be a part of a team of 2 to 4 students working on a research project. We are hoping that undergraduate students will receive mentorship and support not only from their faculty advisors, graduate student mentors, and instructors, but also from their peers.

Q: Do my research teammates have to attend the same session as me?

Yes. The curriculum for the course is collaborative in nature and was designed to be completed in groups. To participate, students must be able to attend the same session time as their research team. 

Q: Are there any requirements with respect to the length of a research project?

No. While we hope that students are engaged in a research project throughout the academic year, at this time, we do not have strict requirements about the length of a research project. 

Q: Can my research project be completed virtually / remotely?

Yes. As long as students meet the eligibility requirements (i.e. identifying a research team, mentor(s), and project), we do not mind if the research is conducted remotely. 

Applications

Q: How do I apply to participate? 

It depends!

If you are an undergraduate at an institutional partner school, you will follow the application instructions provided by the local coordinator.

If you are an undergraduate student not attending an institutional partner school, you will need to submit an application directly to our team. To do so, you will need to identify a faculty mentor, research project, and research team. 

Q: Can I apply as an individual?

No. At this time, the UR2PhD program is only accepting applications from research teams. A research team is defined as a group of 2 to 4 undergraduate students working with a faculty member on a computing research project.

Q: Do my research teammates have to apply separately?

Yes, every student must submit their own application. The application form provides an opportunity for applicants to tell us more about their lived experience within computing and research. 

Q: How do I identify a research advisor and team?

We suggest inquiring about research opportunities with faculty members and advisors at your institution. They may be able to provide additional guidance on how to identify research opportunities, participate in research projects, and receive compensation for research (either in the form of course credit or payment). We also recommend reviewing CRA’s SPARC page to learn more about how you may be able to find opportunities. 

Participation

Q: Will undergraduate students participating in the program receive funding from CRA?

No, the UR2PhD program does not provide funding for undergraduates. Undergraduate students participating in the program will receive access to the virtual, synchronous research methods course, as well as virtual bridge workshops.

Undergraduate students should direct any compensation questions to their faculty advisor. Faculty advisors are strongly encouraged to provide students with either course credit or pay for their engagement in the research project and course.

Q: Are there any fees or tuition associated with participating in the program?

No, this program is designed to offer free support and mentorship to students who want to explore research opportunities. However, all students must currently be enrolled in courses at their home institution.

Q: Do I have to commit to the entire program to participate?

Yes, to be considered, students must be able to commit 10 hours per week to conduct research for their project, attend the research methods course, and complete any associated assignments.

Q: How often is the undergraduate research methods course run?

We plan to run the undergraduate research methods course twice a year: in the summer and in the fall.

If you are not selected to participate the first time you apply, please consider reapplying for a future session. 

Q: If the course is virtual, how is it taught?

The course is fully virtual and students participate in synchronous sessions over Zoom.

Students are able to view and submit assignments via Canvas. To build community, students are invited (but not required) to join the UR2PhD Discord server. 

Bridge Workshop Series

In order to support and retain undergraduate researchers, the UR2PhD program will offer two virtual bridge workshop series.

  • The Computing Research Engagement and Awareness Workshop Series is designed for undergraduate researchers of all levels. Participants will be able to hear from and connect with active researchers in various computing sub-disciplines through panels and concise research presentations. Participants will also be able to participate in lively discussions on research-related topics, learn more about research career options, and expand their professional network.
    • For the year 2024: there will be two iterations of this series. From February to May and August to December, there will be a monthly 1-hour workshop. Registration for each session is required.
  • The Admissions Preparation Workshop Series, inspired by the CSGrad4US mentoring program, is tailored for undergraduates interested in exploring graduate study in computing. These workshops will be beginner-friendly. Sessions will focus on bridging the gap between a student’s initial research experience and successful admission into a PhD program.
    • For the year 2024: there will be one iteration of this series in the fall. The development of this workshop series is currently underway. Stay tuned for further updates and details.

All spring workshops will be held synchronously on Zoom from 3 – 4pm PT / 6 – 7pm ET.

Date Session Content Additional Information
Monday, March 11, 2024 – Register What does a career in computing research look like? Join us for an informative session about the career paths available within computing research. Participants will learn more about why folks get PhDs, and how it impacts employment options across academia, industry, and government. Whether you’re curious about the possibilities of a doctoral degree or eager to learn more about pursuing a research-oriented career, this session will provide inspiration for your academic and professional journey.
Monday, April 8, 2024 – Register  How will my research change the world? Join us for an illuminating workshop designed for undergraduates interested in the transformative potential of computing research.  Delve into the forefront of innovation as we explore how research in areas like human-computer interaction, robotics, and cybersecurity is shaping the future. Hear firsthand accounts from PhD candidates about their training, experiences, and journey of advancing research in computing. Whether you’re passionate about technology or considering a career in research, this session will broaden your understanding of computing research.
Monday, May 6, 2024 – Register How do I combine other interests with computing? Join us for the final spring session, where we explore the diverse and interdisciplinary nature of computing research. Discover how the varied interests and backgrounds of researchers contribute to groundbreaking applications across fields such as artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, and data science. Whether you’re intrigued by the intersections of technology and other disciplines or eager to explore new research avenues, this session will broaden your perspective on the limitless possibilities of computing research.

We’ll be hosting more sessions in the fall. Stay tuned for more details!

All undergraduates interested in computing research are invited to participate in our monthly, virtual workshops. While workshops will be recorded for future viewing purposes, we strongly encourage students to attend synchronously. Students need not be affiliated with the UR2PhD program to engage with our sessions. Students do not need any research experience in order to participate.

To ensure that the workshop environment fosters respect, inclusivity, and constructive dialogue for all involved, we kindly ask all participants to adhere to the following conduct guidelines:

  1. Respectful Communication: Please engage in discussions and interactions with courtesy and respect towards fellow participants and panelists. Disagreement is welcome, but it must be expressed in a considerate and constructive manner.
  2. Open-mindedness and Inclusivity: Embrace diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. Avoid discriminatory, derogatory, or offensive language or behavior that might marginalize any individual or group.
  3. Maintain Professionalism: While we encourage a relaxed atmosphere, disruptive behavior, use of inappropriate language, or any form of harassment will not be tolerated.
  4. Compliance with Moderation: Follow the guidance of moderators and adhere to the established guidelines for participation. This ensures a smooth and productive flow of discussions.
  5. Accountability and Responsibility: Each participant is accountable for their conduct and contributions. Take responsibility for your words and actions and understand their potential impact on others.

Q: What are “bridge workshops”? 

In the context of UR2PhD, our bridge workshops are virtual, monthly workshops that aim to provide students with opportunities to learn more about computing research, engage with active researchers, and build community with peers in the field. 

The Computing Research Engagement and Awareness workshops will be designed in such a manner that students of varying levels will be able to learn more about research, broadly. The Admissions Preparations workshops will be a cumulative experience that prepares students for completing a PhD application for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) programs. 

These workshops collectively aim to empower students by offering them an enriching and inclusive environment to delve into computing research.

Q: How do I access the workshop?

All workshops will be taking place via Zoom. Each workshop will have it’s own registration link. Please see the schedule tab above for more details. 

Q: Do I have to register by a certain date to be able to join the workshops?

No; registrations will be accepted through the end of each workshop. Please join as able.

Q: What materials or software do I need?

To participate, students will need an active Zoom account.

Q: Is there a schedule/agenda available?

Yes, please visit the “Schedule” tab. 

Q: Can I ask questions during the workshop?

Most of our workshops will be interactive. We hope you come with many questions! 

Q: Will the workshop be recorded for later viewing?

Yes. While we encourage students to attend workshops in a live manner, they will be made accessible at a later date. 

Q: What’s the duration of the workshop?

All workshops will be approximately one hour in length. While we hope participants can engage throughout the whole session, we encourage students to participate as their schedule allows. 

Q: Are there any prerequisites or recommended background knowledge?

For the Computing Research Engagement and Awareness workshops, there are no prerequisites. 

Q: What’s the format of the workshop (lecture, Q&A, breakout sessions, etc.)?

The moderators will be designing each session to be slightly different, but they will all have some interactive component. 

Q: Will there be a certificate of completion or any recognition for attending?

No. There will not be any official certificate of completion for attending sessions for the Computing Research Engagement and Awareness workshops. 

Q: I am having technical difficulties. Who should I contact?

Contact ur2phd [at] cra [dot] org

Date Session Content Additional Information
Monday, February 12, 2024 “So you’ve done some research, what’s next?” Join us for an engaging workshop featuring a diverse panel of researchers who will share their journeys from undergraduate studies to their current roles. Gain insights into how the panel discovered their research interests and overcame challenges. Whether you’re just starting to explore research opportunities or considering your next steps after your first research experience, this workshop will provide valuable advice and inspiration to help guide your research journey.

Panelists:

  • Celeste Bean, Senior Hardware Engineer for Sony Interactive Entertainment’s PlayStation
  • Roman Caudillo, Research Scientist at Intel Corporation / JUMP 2.0 Director at SRC
  • Catherine Delcourt, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Wellesley College 
  • Daniel Ji, Undergraduate Researcher at University of California, San Diego
  • Sofia Kobayashi, Undergraduate Researcher at Wellesley College

Link to video: https://youtu.be/vKgh7vwVxo4

Graduate Student Mentor Training Course

The UR2PhD Graduate Student Mentor Training Program is a virtual, synchronous course that prepares participants to provide culturally-responsive mentorship. The curriculum was created with the intention of familiarizing students with empirically-proven principles and best practices in mentorship. By the end of the series, participants will be capable of explaining and recognizing techniques for fostering inclusive, positive, and successful mentorship environments. They will also have crafted their own personal mentoring philosophy.

Any student that is mentoring an undergraduate participating in the UR2PhD undergraduate research methods course will be required to complete the Graduate Student Mentor Training Program, if they have not already.

Participants in the UR2PhD Graduate Student Mentor Training Program will be asked to certify that they understand and will adhere to the following responsibilities and expectations: 

  • Attend and actively participate in the 1-hour virtual course sessions, missing no more than 2 sessions  
  • Complete course assignments in a timely fashion
  • Support mentees with their research project throughout the program
  • Participate in evaluation efforts, as requested

For the Summer of 2024, meeting times have not been determined, but the course will tentatively take place on the following dates:

Graduate Student Mentor Training Course – Tentative Summer 2024 Schedule
Session 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
A 5/7 5/9 5/14 5/16 5/21 5/28 6/4 6/11 6/18 6/25 7/2
B 5/28 5/30 6/4 6/6 6/11 6/18 6/25 7/2 7/9 7/16 7/23

Please note: these dates are tentative (T/TH); the course dates may change slightly due to cohort and instructor availability. 

Participants who complete the graduate student mentor training program in its entirety will be compensated with a $1,000 stipend. Stipends will be paid by CRA directly to participants.

To be considered as having “completed” the course, graduate student participants must actively engage in and attend all course sessions. Participants must have completed all assigned coursework. Participants are allowed a maximum of two unexcused absences. If a graduate student has more than 2 unexcused absences they will not receive the stipend. This criterion ensures an optimal learning experience for all participants and maintains the integrity of the program.

The course is limited to mentors of undergraduate participants in the UR2PhD program. 

Students do NOT need to hold any specific nationality, nor do they need to identify as any specific gender to be considered for this program; however, they MUST be attending a North American-based institution.

If you are a graduate student attending an institutional partner school (Boston University, University of Alberta, University of California Riverside, University of North Texas, or University of Waterloo), please contact your local coordinator for detailed application instructions

Mentors of undergraduate students in the research methods course who are not affiliated with our institutional partners will be contacted by a member of our team. You do not need to submit an application, as a faculty mentor will be responsible for identifying your participation.

Eligibility

Q: Who is eligible to participate in the mentor training course?

The training course on undergraduate research mentoring is open to any graduate students, MS or PhD, who are engaged in supervising undergraduate student researchers participating in the UR2PhD program. 

Applications

Q: How do I apply to participate in the mentor training course?

If you are a graduate student attending an institutional partner school (Boston University, University of Alberta, University of North Texas, or University of Waterloo), please contact your local coordinator for additional information. 

Graduate mentors of students participating in the program that are NOT from institutional partners will be contacted by a member of our team. You need not apply, as faculty mentors will identify you. 

Participation

Q: I am mentoring a student participating in the undergraduate mentor training course. Do I have to complete the mentor training course?

Yes, any student that is mentoring an undergraduate participating in the UR2PhD undergraduate research methods course will be required to complete the Graduate Student Mentor Training Program.

Q: I am interested in the research mentor training, but I am not currently supporting undergraduate students with research projects. Can I still participate?

Our program is hands-on, allowing mentors to put their learning into practice. At this time only graduate students who are currently supporting undergraduates in the UR2PhD undergraduate research methods course are eligible to participate.

Q: How often will this training be offered?

Twice a year: in the summer and in the fall. We will offer the mentor training course every time we offer the undergraduate research methods course.

Q: When will the graduate student mentor training begin?

It begins approximately 4 weeks prior to the undergraduate research methods course in order to adequately prepare graduate students for mentoring their mentees in the research methods course.

For the Fall of 2023 session, the course will be held from August 21 – December 15 (with dates subject to slight changes).

Dates for the summer 2024 session will be announced at a later date. 

Q: Will graduate students receive compensation for participating?

CRA will be paying graduate students who complete the graduate student mentor training program a stipend of $1,000. Stipends will be paid directly to participants. To receive their stipend, participants will be asked to complete a direct deposit form, and a tax form (either a W-9 or W-8BEN form). 

UR2PhD intends to increase the percentage of women and other gender-marginalized students entering computing doctoral programs. We hope our programming makes it easier for you to mentor more undergraduate researchers. 

Undergraduate Research Methods Course

The undergraduate research methods course is a virtual, synchronous course that aims to support new undergraduate researchers during their first research experience. In the fall, the course is structured as a 12-week program, and in the summer, it is between 4-5 weeks in length.

Before enrolling in the course, students must have identified a research mentor, a research group (at least one other student who will work on the same project and also enroll in the course), and a direction for a research project to be completed together under the supervision of the research mentor.

The course will cover the foundations of research with the goal of supporting students in completing their pre-identified research project. Participants will develop and apply practical research skills, like reading and interpreting research papers, conducting literature reviews, and analyzing and presenting data. Students will hone their research comprehension and communication skills, develop an understanding of research ethics, and build their confidence in their identity as a researcher. All concepts and skills will be taught in the context of their projects. The course will also provide participants with an opportunity to foster a peer network of support.

The course does NOT focus on covering specific research methodologies or techniques. It is designed to assist participants in identifying the precise technical knowledge required for the successful completion of their research projects. Over the duration of the course, participants will enhance their research, communication, and teamwork abilities. Additionally, they will explore the societal, ethical, and cultural implications of their projects.

The course is limited to groups of 2-4 undergraduate students participating in a computing research project, under the guidance and supervision of a faculty mentor (and graduate student mentor, if applicable).

Students do NOT need to hold any specific nationality, nor do they need to identify as any specific gender to be considered for this program; however, they MUST be attending a North American-based institution.

For faculty mentors of individual student groups applying and participating in the program: 

Should you choose to mentor a group of undergraduate researchers to make them eligible for our programs, you will be required to certify that you understand and will adhere to the following responsibilities and expectations:

  • Supervise, mentor, and guide undergraduate researchers on a computing research project 
  • Ensure that students are attending the virtual course and completing the related assignments
  • Compensate student researchers with either course credit or payment 
  • Verify the student’s eligibility to participate in the program (i.e. that they are willing and able to attend the same course session as their research team and that they will actively participate in research)
  • Identify any graduate student mentors and require them to take the graduate mentor training (if applicable)
  • Support program evaluation efforts by completing surveys as requested

For faculty mentors of institutional partner participants: 

Should you choose to mentor a group of undergraduate researchers to make them eligible for our programs, you will be required to certify that you understand and will adhere to the following responsibilities and expectations:

  • Supervise, mentor, and guide undergraduate researchers on a computing research project 
  • Ensure that students are attending the virtual course and completing the related assignments
  • Support program evaluation efforts by completing surveys as requested

Graduate Student Mentor Training Course

The UR2PhD Graduate Student Mentor Training Program is a virtual, synchronous course that aims to prepare mentors to provide culturally-responsive mentorship. The curriculum for the course was designed to introduce students to empirically-proven principles and best practices of mentorship. By the end of the series, participants will be able to describe and identify techniques for cultivating inclusive, positive, and effective mentorship environments. They will have also developed their own personal mentoring philosophy.

The course is limited to mentors of UR2PhD undergraduate participants. Faculty mentors from non-institutional partner schools will be asked to identify any graduate student mentors and require them to complete the UR2PhD graduate mentor training course. 

Institutional partners are North American universities and colleges that partner with the UR2PhD program leadership team to scale undergraduate participation in computing research.

The UR2PhD program aims to increase the number of women and gender-marginalized people entering computing PhD programs by providing educational support and community to assist institutions in providing more high-quality research opportunities to undergraduates. The program does not provide monetary support for or direct mentorship of undergraduate researchers. Instead, it provides mechanisms that help institutions increase their capacity for undergraduate research.  Institutions wishing to grow their undergraduate research program, both in size and gender diversity, stand to benefit greatly by participating in the program. Specific benefits to institutional partner stakeholders are outlined below.

Departmental benefits:

  • Increase the number of undergraduate researchers without increasing the department’s training workload
  • Elevate the quality of research mentoring provided by graduate student mentors, contributing to a more robust and effective research ecosystem within the department

Faculty benefits: 

  • Reduce the time commitment necessary for introducing undergraduate students to research fundamentals
  • Enhance the competence of your research team by ensuring that undergraduate researchers receive training in general research methods
    • In the context of their research project, undergraduates will learn how to: read research papers, conduct literature searches, present data, write technically, etc 
  • Equip your graduate students with the skills needed to excel as effective research mentors of undergraduate and junior graduate students, freeing up your time for more focused research mentoring.
  • Expand the reach and diversity of your research lab 

Graduate student benefits: 

  • Acquire formal training in the art of effective research mentoring, a pivotal skill for long-term career success
  • Learn to design and adapt research projects based on research goals, advisee skills and experiences, and project challenges
  • Hone essential communication skills and techniques for assessing and promoting student development and growth 
  • Develop and formalize a personalized mentorship philosophy 
  • Establish a supportive peer network with students across various universities 

Undergraduate student benefits: 

  • Learn, practice, and apply fundamental skills necessary not only to conduct research but also to thrive in any technical workplace through a formal research methods course while earning course credit or pay from your university 
  • Cultivate connections with undergraduate researchers within and beyond your university, fostering an extensive peer network
  • Develop relationships with research mentors and advisors, who can serve as future references 
  • Expand understanding of computing research, subdisciplines, and topics through engagement with  leaders from academia, industry and government labs from across North America 
  • Grow knowledge about research opportunities and careers, as well as graduate school, with an opportunity to learn more about graduate school application expectations and requirements 

Responsibilities:

To ensure that all stakeholders are able to receive and take advantage of the benefits of our program, we expect our partners to commit to:

  • Designating a local coordinator to manage local recruiting and mentoring efforts
  • Implementing an advertising, recruitment, and selection process with the goal of ≥ 80% of the new researchers identifying as women or other gender-marginalized identities 
  • Recruiting at least 20 new researchers during the program; researchers should be placed in teams of 2-4 undergraduates that are willing and able to attend the same synchronous course sessions. 
  • Supporting undergraduate students with course credit (or pay) for their participation
  • Ensuring any graduate and undergraduate student participants are attending and actively participating in their respective courses; students must be able to attend the synchronous course sessions
  • Encouraging participants to complete evaluation efforts 
  • Ensuring undergraduate students present their work at an on-campus, regional or national venue
  • Encouraging undergraduates to participate in bridge program activities and encouraging graduate mentors to continue to check-in with their mentees after the research experience 

Support:

To enable and encourage departments to meet the expectations outlined above, partners will receive:

  • A one-time $2K stipend for a local coordinator to help manage and organize undergraduate research activities
  • Priority access for their students to all three pillars of the UR2PhD program (NOTE: graduate students participating in the mentor training program will be paid $1,000 for completing* the program; this stipend will be paid directly to the student)
  • Guidance and support in implementing recruiting and selection strategies that result in a high participation percentage of women and other gender-marginalized students in computing, including those from marginalized races and ethnicities
  • Regular, personalized support from experts in implementing scalable, inclusive undergraduate research programs

Student participation:

Undergraduate students at institutional partner schools must also meet the same eligibility requirements as individual participants.

  • To participate, students must be a part of a research team of 2-4 undergraduate researchers. They must work with a faculty mentor on a research project (and a graduate student mentor, if applicable).
  • Students must be able to attend the synchronous, virtual course meetings at the same time as their research group.

We are honored to be able to work with several universities who are committed to expanding their research capabilities, among them:

  • Boston University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Waterloo

Eligibility

All accredited institutions who are able to commit to the institutional partner responsibilities are eligible to apply. Institutional partners will work closely with the UR2PhD program leadership to vastly expand the number of research opportunities for women and gender-marginalized undergraduates, including those from marginalized races and ethnicities, at their institutions.

Accepted partners commit to being partners for a year with the option to renew their commitment. 

Timeline and deadline(s)

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through the start of the Fall course, with a priority deadline of March 15, 2024. Once you’ve completed your application, please allow at least 2 weeks of processing time for our team to review your application. 

Application instructions

There is a three step process for applying: 

  1. Make a copy of and complete the following document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sAuT4O8q-I3D0VecEwOpknXUX6asWujCxnz02QtjE9Y/copy
  2. Obtain a letter of support from your department chair
  3. Upload both documents to this form: https://forms.gle/DGZjy8NYxQja1DX47

Regarding eligibility and applications

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to become an institutional partner?

North American universities that are looking to increase their research capacity and can commit to our expectations are eligible to apply.  

Q: Can Canadian schools apply to be institutional partners? 

Yes, Canadian schools are eligible to apply as institutional partners and their students may apply to our program. 

Q: Are non-CS computing departments (e.g. Information Schools, Electrical and Computer Engineering departments, etc) eligible to be institutional partners?  Can students from these departments participate in the programs?

Maybe. This program is open to departments/schools and students focusing in computing fields, including computer science, computer engineering, and information science.  Other fields not housed in one of the departments listed here will be considered on a case by case basis.  

Q: In order to participate in the undergraduate research course students need to be participating on a research project (often referred to as an REU). Is it sufficient for an institutional partner to host “REU sites” that run primarily in the summer?

Right now, we’re focusing on partners who will engage students during the academic year (in addition to the summer).  We’re also looking for sites to create *new* research opportunities through this program.  

Q: When will institutional partner applicants be notified about whether they have been accepted to the program?

In general, applications for institutional partners are reviewed and evaluated on a rolling basis. We plan to evaluate each application within a few weeks of its submission. If you have not heard from a member of our team, please contact ur2phd@cra.org

Q: On the institutional partner application, there is a question asking about the recruitment strategy. Is this question referring to the recruitment of students who would be engaged in the UR2PhD program or for all students engaged in research positions in the department? 

This question is specifically asking about the recruitment strategy for the students who would be engaged in the UR2PhD program. However, we hope that departments would also be committed to engaging women and gender-marginalized individuals in their other research positions. 

Regarding responsibilities

Q: The institutional partner application requirements specify the need to recruit, support (with credit or pay), and mentor at least 20 new undergraduate researchers. Can you please provide some guidance on what the requirement of 20 new researchers means?

We are looking for departments to increase their research capacity by at least 20 students overall. We expect that most institutional partners will be large universities with hundreds of undergraduate students. If this is not the profile of your university, there are still opportunities for getting involved in the program!

Q: What are the consequences of institutional partners not meeting the 80% threshold of students from underrepresented populations?

This is a goal and we will provide suggestions to try to assist partners in meeting the goal.

Institutional partner schools must commit to following practices that are likely to meet that goal (e.g. advertising, branding, selection processes), but there are no consequences for falling short if best efforts are made.

Q: What is the involvement of faculty and staff at institutional partners during the undergraduate research methods course?   

The goal for this course is to grant students course credit without the need for an additional course at their home institution. While we don’t anticipate the need for another course with an instructor, we understand that some institutions may require a local course number and an instructor of record, who would engage with students for a minimal number of hours.

However, it’s important to note that all undergraduate students participating in the program must have a research advisor, who must be a faculty member, to mentor them on their research project.

CRA has budgeted $2K for each institutional partner to designate a “local coordinator.” The local coordinator will run the student selection and placement process, make sure that the students are keeping up with the research methods course and their research projects, deal with any issues that arise with the students in the program, answer administrative questions about academic credit or pay, etc.  Importantly, local coordinators will not need to mentor students on their specific research projects.

Q: Can the local coordinator be a staff member rather than a faculty member?

Yes, definitely.

Regarding programming

Q: What requirements do students need to meet to participate in the undergraduate research methods course?

Students will need to have (1) a research team, (2) a research advisor, and (3) availability to attend a course section. Research teams should be groups of 2-4 undergraduate students working on a computing research project. Students must be able to attend the same section as their teammates.

Q: How do the undergraduate students get involved in the research? Do they take classes? What are their research topics?

To participate in the research methods course, students need to have a research project and research mentor at their local university.

Local coordinators can either have students identify projects and mentors on their own, or they can decide to match students to faculty and projects. Students would then take the research methods course through our program.

Q: Are “homework assignments” all assessments related to their research project?

The homework assignments will be related to the students’ research project e.g, write an abstract, conduct a lit review, etc.

All assignments will be related to research activities. 

Q: How do we anticipate students dropping out of the program after the first semester/quarter?

We expect students to commit to the whole “program” however long that is defined at their institution. Students must be actively engaged in a research project to participate in the course.  Of course we recognize that some students will drop out, but we will put structures in place to try to minimize this. 

Q: When will the undergraduate research methods course begin?

We anticipate having two cohorts of students each year, with one cohort beginning in the summer and the other beginning in fall.

Our first cohort of students will participate in fall 2023, and the first summer cohort will begin in summer 2024.

Q: What does it mean to be a cohort? 

The cohort is the whole set of undergrads across the different schools being in the same online research methods course together.  Each instantiation of the course will have a cohort.

Program Leaders

Christine Alvarado

Christine Alvarado

University of California,

San Diego

Bio | Website

lori-pollock

Lori Pollock

University of Delaware

Bio | Website

Monique Ross

Monique Ross

The Ohio State University

Bio | Website

Kelly-Shaw

Kelly Shaw

Williams College

Bio | Website

CRA-WP Liaison

Susan Rodger

Duke University

Website

Instructors

Justin Shaffer

Justin Shaffer

Colorado School of Mines

Undergraduate Research Methods Instructor

Dr. Shelly Heller

Rachelle Heller

George Washington University

Undergraduate Research Methods Instructor

ME Directory | Penn State Engineering

Catherine Berdanier

Pennsylvania State University

Graduate Mentor Training Instructor

Josh Sunshine - Software and Societal Systems - School of ...

Joshua Sunshine

Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Mentor Training Instructor

Niema Moshiri

University of California, San Diego

Computing Engagement & Awareness Workshop Designer-Facilitator

Christine Bassem

Wellesley College

Computing Research Engagement & Awareness Workshop Designer-Facilitator

Staff

Erik Russell

Erik Russell

Director of Educational Initiatives

Julia Sepulveda Avalos

Julia Sepulveda Avalos

Program Associate

The UR2PhD program would not be possible without the support of the computing research community. The UR2PhD team is actively hiring instructors for our undergraduate and graduate student courses. 

Please note: Any persons hired will be considered independent contractors, and are not employees of CRA. Stipends represent compensation for services rendered. Stipends are reportable as gross income, but not as wages. By accepting a role and participating in the UR2PhD program, independent contractors recognize that CRA is not required to withhold any taxes, and no such withholding shall be done. CRA will issue 1099’s to independent contractors. It is the responsibility of each recipient to properly report the award as taxable income on their tax return for the year in which it was received. Independent contractors will need to complete and submit the appropriate W-9 or W-8BEN form to CRA for their stipends to be processed. Independent contractors must agree to follow CRA’s Code of Conduct which is outlined here: https://cra.org/code-of-conduct/.

OPENING FOR UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH METHODS COURSE INSTRUCTOR(S)

We are seeking instructors for the UR2PhD program (https://cra.org/ur2phd/), whose goal is to vastly increase the number of women (particularly Black, Latina and Native) students who have high-quality undergraduate research experiences and continue into PhD programs.  

UR2PhD is a national, virtual program with three pillars: (1) early undergraduate research support and training, (2) graduate student mentor training, and (3) a bridge program to support students between their first research experience and application to a PhD program.

We are currently seeking instructors for the undergraduate research methods course. Instructors will teach a virtual, synchronous research methods course for new undergraduate researchers. The course will teach students about the foundations of research (e.g., reading a research paper, doing a literature review, identifying and communicating a research problem, etc.), which they will apply in the context of their local research project. Instructors will also be expected to foster a network of support for undergraduate researchers. Instructors will not need to develop any curriculum. All materials needed to teach the course will be provided to the instructors.   

The course will teach students about the foundations of research (e.g., reading a research paper, doing a literature review, identifying and communicating a research problem, etc.). Instructors will also be expected to foster a network of support for undergraduate researchers. 

Responsibilities:

  • Manage and teach all aspects of the course including coordinating with co-instructors, leading synchronous sessions, assigning homework, engaging with students between sessions, and grading and providing feedback on assignments.
  • Manage and engage with graduate teaching assistants.
  • Empower students to take an active role in their research; encouraging participants to consistently communicate with their peers, mentors, and faculty advisors. 

Qualifications:

  • Experience leading research with undergraduate students (required);
  • Experience teaching student-facing programs (required);
  • History of using identity inclusive instructional practices (required);
  • Demonstrated organizational and communication skills (required);
  • Experience teaching a similar course (preferred);
  • Experience teaching virtual, synchronous courses (preferred);
  • Experience creating interactive learning experiences, facilitating group discussions, and providing constructive feedback (preferred);
  • Experience working with programs designed to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in computing (preferred).

Timeline:

For the summer, the course is scheduled to have two sessions and will require availability from mid-March to July 2024.

The fall course is tentatively scheduled to begin in September and end in mid-December. Prep work will begin in August, but we expect it to be fairly light as the course is already developed.

Compensation:
Instructors for the undergraduate research methods course will each be given a $12K stipend for their work.  

To Apply:
Please upload a cover letter and your CV to this Google form: https://forms.gle/zpDyK58xDdxAikFz5 

Positions will remain open until filled. 

Questions:
Please contact ur2phd@cra.org with any questions.

OPENING FOR GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR TRAINING COURSE INSTRUCTOR(S)

We are seeking an instructor for the UR2PhD program (https://cra.org/ur2phd/), whose goal is to vastly increase the number of women (particularly Black, Latina and Native) students who have high-quality undergraduate research experiences and continue into PhD programs.  

UR2PhD is a national, virtual program with three pillars: (1) early undergraduate research support and training, (2) graduate student mentor training, and (3) a bridge program to support students between their first research experience and application to a PhD program.

We are currently seeking an instructor for the graduate student mentor training course. Instructors will teach a virtual, synchronous course. The course will teach graduate students about the foundations of mentorship and best practices based on empirical research, while they are concurrently advising undergraduate students on a research project.  Instructors will be expected to foster a community  of support for graduate student participants and encourage them to grow as mentors. Instructors will not need to develop any curriculum. All materials needed to teach the course will be provided to the instructors.  

Responsibilities:

  • Manage and teach all aspects of the course including coordinating with co-instructors, leading synchronous sessions, assigning homework, engaging with students between sessions, and providing feedback on assignments. 
  • Empower participants to take an active role in mentoring their mentees; encourage consistent communication between graduate students, their mentees, and their faculty advisors.

Qualifications:

  • Experience working with graduate students (required);
  • Experience teaching student-facing programs (required);
  • Experience mentoring researchers and enthusiasm for student empowerment (required);
  • History of using identity inclusive instructional practices (required);
  • Demonstrated organizational and communication skills (required);
  • Experience teaching a similar course (preferred);
  • Experience creating interactive learning experiences, facilitating group discussions, and providing constructive feedback (preferred);
  • Experience working with programs designed to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in computing (preferred);
  • Experience teaching virtual, synchronous courses (preferred).

Timeline:

The summer course is scheduled to have two sessions, and will require availability from the end of April to late July.

The fall course is tentatively scheduled to have two sessions, and will require availability from mid-July 2024 through the end of December 2024.

Compensation:
Instructors for the graduate student mentor training course will each be given a $8K stipend for their work.

To Apply:

Applicants who apply by March 31 for the summer term will be given full consideration. Position(s) will remain open until filled. Please upload a cover letter and your CV to this Google form: https://forms.gle/zpDyK58xDdxAikFz5 

Questions:
Please contact ur2phd@cra.org with any questions.

Q; What is the UR2PhD program?

The Undergraduate Research to PhD (“UR2PhD,” pronounced “you are to PhD”) Program focuses on engaging more women and gender-marginalized students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents in computing PhD programs. The program aims to ensure that participants have access to high-quality undergraduate research opportunities, positive mentorship experiences, and information about applying to graduate school. 

In order to meet its objectives, the UR2PhD program will be comprised of three primary activities: 

  • A virtual, undergraduate research methods course to increase the capacity of computing departments to provide high-quality undergraduate research experiences
  • A virtual mentor training program for graduate students to train them to support undergraduate students in a culturally responsive manner 
  • A series of online REU-to-graduate-school bridge workshops for students to continue to engage students in research, while increasing their understanding of the graduate school application process

Q: How many students have participated in the UR2PhD program so far?

CRA launched the UR2PhD program in the summer of 2023. We will report final numbers after the first cohort has finished their programming. 

Q: How can I get involved in the UR2PhD program? I am not sure if I am eligible for the activities that the UR2PhD program hosts. How can I learn more?

It depends! If you’re a student, you can learn more about our undergraduate and graduate student activities in their respective tabs. If you’re a faculty member, we strongly encourage you to serve as a research mentor or instructor.  

Q: My question wasn’t answered in this section. Who can I reach out to for assistance?

A member of our team would be happy to assist you. Please send us an email at ur2phd@cra.org. 

Undergraduate Research Methods Course

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

Eligibility for the UR2PhD program is limited to groups of 2-4 undergraduate students enrolled in a North American university or college. Students must commit to attending the live, virtual sessions of the undergraduate research methods course at the same time as their research team.

Students do NOT need to hold any specific nationality, nor do they need to identify as any specific gender to be considered for this program; however, they MUST be attending a North American-based institution.

Q: Do I have to attend an “institutional partner” school to apply?

No. Students do not need to attend an institutional partner school to apply. Learn more about how to apply here.

Q: Do I have to be a CS major to participate?

No. Students do not need to have declared a major (or concentration) in computer science. However, they must be participating in a research project supporting the computing field, which includes computer science, computer engineering, and information science. Fields not housed in one of the departments listed here may be considered on a case by case basis.

Q: Do my research teammates have to work on the same project as me?

Yes. To be eligible for this program, undergraduates must be a part of a team of 2 to 4 students working on a research project. We are hoping that undergraduate students will receive mentorship and support not only from their faculty advisors, graduate student mentors, and instructors, but also from their peers.

Q: Do my research teammates have to attend the same session as me?

Yes. The curriculum for the course is collaborative in nature and was designed to be completed in groups. To participate, students must be able to attend the same session time as their research team.

Q: Are there any requirements with respect to the length of a research project?

No. While we hope that students are engaged in a research project throughout the academic year, at this time, we do not have strict requirements about the length of a research project.

Q: Can my research project be completed virtually / remotely?

Yes. As long as students meet the eligibility requirements (i.e. identifying a research team, mentor(s), and project), we do not mind if the research is conducted remotely. 

Q: How do I apply to participate? 

It depends!

If you are an undergraduate at an institutional partner school, you will follow the application instructions provided by the local coordinator.

If you are an undergraduate student not attending an institutional partner school, you will need to submit an application directly to our team. To do so, you will need to identify a faculty mentor, research project, and research team.

Q: Can I apply as an individual?

No. At this time, the UR2PhD program is only accepting applications from research teams. A research team is defined as a group of 2 to 4 undergraduate students working with a faculty member on a computing research project.

Q: Do my research teammates have to apply separately?

Yes, every student must submit their own application. The application form provides an opportunity for applicants to tell us more about their lived experience within computing and research.

Q: How do I identify a research advisor and team?

We suggest inquiring about research opportunities with faculty members and advisors at your institution. They may be able to provide additional guidance on how to identify research opportunities, participate in research projects, and receive compensation for research (either in the form of course credit or payment).

Q: Will undergraduate students participating in the program receive funding from CRA?

No, the UR2PhD program does not provide funding for undergraduates. Undergraduate students participating in the program will receive access to our virtual, synchronous research methods course, as well as bridge workshops.

Undergraduate students should direct any compensation questions to their faculty advisor. Faculty advisors are strongly encouraged to provide students with either course credit or pay for their engagement in the research project and course.

Q: Are there any fees or tuition associated with participating in the program?

No, this program is designed to offer free support and mentorship to students who want to explore research opportunities. However, all students must currently be enrolled in courses at their home institution.

Q: Do I have to commit to the entire program to participate?

Yes, to be considered, students must be able to commit 10 hours per week to conduct research for their project, attend the research methods course, and complete any associated assignments.

Q: How often is the undergraduate research methods course run?

We plan to run the undergraduate research methods course twice a year: in the summer and in the fall.

If you are not selected to participate the first time you apply, please consider reapplying for a future session.

Q: If the course is virtual, how is it taught?

The course is fully virtual and students participate in synchronous sessions over Zoom.

Students are view and submit assignments via Canvas. To build community, students are invited (but not required) to join the UR2PhD Discord server and a private LinkedIn group.

Bridge Workshops

Q: What are “bridge workshops”? 

In the context of UR2PhD, our bridge workshops are virtual workshops that aim to provide students with opportunities to learn more about computing research, engage with active researchers, and build community with peers in the field. 

Q: Do I need to be involved with UR2PhD to participate?

No, our workshops are open to all undergraduates who are interested in computing research.

Q: Do I need to register to attend? 

Yes, all of our sessions require registration. Registration will remain open through the end of each workshop.

Q: Who is eligible to participate in the mentor training course?

The training course on undergraduate research mentoring is open to any graduate students, MS or PhD, who are engaged in supervising undergraduate student researchers participating in the UR2PhD program.

Q: How do I apply to participate in the mentor training course?

If you are a graduate student attending an institutional partner school, please contact your local coordinator for additional information.

Graduate mentors of students participating in the program that are NOT from institutional partners will be contacted by a member of our team. You need not apply, as faculty mentors will identify you.

Q: I am mentoring a student participating in the undergraduate mentor training course. Do I have to complete the mentor training course?

Yes, any student that is mentoring an undergraduate participating in the UR2PhD undergraduate research methods course will be required to complete the Graduate Student Mentor Training Program.

Q: I am interested in the research mentor training, but I am not currently supporting undergraduate students with research projects. Can I still participate?

Our program is hands-on, allowing mentors to put their learning into practice. At this time only graduate students who are currently supporting undergraduates in the UR2PhD undergraduate research methods course are eligible to participate.

Q: How often will this training be offered?

Twice a year: in the summer and in the fall. We will offer the mentor training course every time we offer the undergraduate research methods course.

Q: When will the graduate student mentor training begin?

It begins approximately 4 weeks prior to the undergraduate research methods course in order to adequately prepare graduate students for mentoring their mentees in the research methods course.

For additional information about schedules and dates, please visit the “Graduate Students” tab.

Q: Will graduate students receive compensation for participating?

CRA will be paying graduate students who complete the graduate student mentor training program a stipend of $1,000. Stipends will be paid directly to participants. To receive their stipend, participants will be asked to complete a direct deposit form, and a tax form (either a W-9 or W-8BEN form).

More information to come!

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to become an institutional partner?

North American universities that are able to increase their research capacity and can commit to our expectations are eligible to participate.

Q: Can Canadian schools apply to be institutional partners? 

Yes, Canadian schools are eligible to apply as institutional partners and their students may apply to the programs.

Q: Are non-CS computing departments (e.g. Information Schools, Electrical and Computer Engineering departments, etc) eligible to be institutional partners?  Can students from these departments participate in the programs?

Maybe. This program is open to departments/schools and students focusing in computing fields, including computer science, computer engineering, and information science.  Other fields not housed in one of the departments listed here will be considered on a case by case basis.

Q: In order to participate in the undergraduate research course students need to be participating on a research project (often referred to as an REU). Is it sufficient for an institutional partner to host “REU sites” that run primarily in the summer?

No. Right now, we’re focusing on partners who will engage students during the academic year, so we’re looking for schools that can engage students during the year (in addition to the summer).  We’re also looking for sites to create *new* research opportunities through this program.  

Q: When will institutional partner applicants be notified about whether they have been accepted to the program?

In general, applications for institutional partners are reviewed and evaluated on a rolling basis.  We plan to evaluate each application within a few weeks of its submission. If you have not heard from a member of our team, please contact ur2phd@cra.org

Q: Is question 7 on the institutional partner application asking about the recruitment strategy for only the students who would be engaged in the UR2PhD program or for all students engaged in research positions in the department? 

Question 7 on the institutional partner application is specifically asking about the recruitment strategy for the students who would be engaged in the UR2PhD program. However, we hope that departments would also be committed to engaging women and gender-marginalized individuals in their other research positions.

Q: The institutional partner application requirements specify the need to recruit, support (with credit or pay), and mentor at least 20 new undergraduate researchers. Can you please provide some guidance on what the requirement of 20 new researchers means?

We are looking for departments to increase their research capacity by at least 20 students overall. We expect institutional partners to be large universities, with hundreds of undergraduate students. If this is not the profile of your university, there are opportunities for individual students to become involved in the program through individual applications. Details for individual students to participate can be found under the “Undergraduate Student” tab.

Q: What are the consequences of institutional partners not meeting the 80% threshold of students from underrepresented populations?

This is a goal and we will provide ways to try to meet the goal. Institutions must commit to following practices that are likely to meet that goal (e.g. advertising, branding, selection processes), but there are no consequences, per se, for falling short if best efforts are made.

Q: What is the involvement of faculty and staff at institutional partners during the undergraduate research methods course?   

The goal is for this to be the course and the university to give course credit or pay to the students for taking this online course, with no need for another course at the institution itself.  We have no expectation of another course with an instructor, but we understand that the university might require a local course number and an instructor of record who also engages in some minimal number of hours with students.

That said, all undergraduate students engaged in the program will need to have a research advisor to mentor them on their research project, and this will need to be a faculty member.

CRA has budgeted a one-time $2K for each institutional partner to designate a “local coordinator.” The local coordinator will run the student selection and placement process, make sure that the students are keeping up with the research methods course and their research projects, deal with any issues that arise with the students in the program, answer administrative questions about academic credit or pay, etc.  They will not need to be mentoring students on a research project.

Q: Can the local coordinator be a staff member rather than a faculty member?

Yes, definitely.

Q: What requirements do students need to meet to participate in the undergraduate research methods course?

Students will need to have (1) a research team, (2) a research advisor, and (3) availability to attend a course section. Research teams should be groups of 2-4 undergraduate students working on a computing research project. Students will need to attend the same section as their teammates.

Q: How do the undergraduate students get involved in the research? Do they take classes? What are their research topics?

To participate in the research methods course, students need to have a research project and research mentor at their local university. Local coordinators can either have students identify projects and mentors on their own, or they can decide to match students to faculty/projects. Then they would take the research methods course through our program.

Q: Do you have an estimate of what the workload for students would be?  Are “homework assignments” all assessments related to their research project?

The homework assignments would be related to their research project e.g, write an abstract, conduct a lit review, etc. All assignments will be related to research activities.

Q: How do we anticipate students dropping out of the program after the first semester/quarter?

We expect students to commit to the whole “program” however long that is defined at their institution. Students must be actively engaged in a research project to participate in the course.  Of course we recognize that some students will drop out, but we will put structures in place to try to minimize this.

Q: When will the undergraduate research methods course begin?

We anticipate having two cohorts of students each year, with one cohort beginning in the fall and one cohort beginning in summer.

Q: What does it mean to be a cohort? 

The cohort is the whole set of undergrads across the different schools being in the same online research methods course together.  Each instantiation of the course will have a cohort.

All contracted persons:

Q: Will my stipend be paid to me directly, or will it go through my institution?

Your stipend will be paid directly to you by CRA.

Curriculum developers:

Q: How much time do you anticipate curriculum developers will spend creating materials?

Our team has developed several resources, but they will need to be adapted and extended. We estimate that over 8-10 weeks (mid-May through the end of July), the time commitment will be about 7-10 hours per week. This is flexible depending on the needs of candidates. 

Q: How many curriculum developers will be hired and how will they work together?

We anticipate hiring two developers per activity. We imagine they would work together closely early on, and then as the overall structure was set, they could divide the work. 

Q: Will the courses be offered online? Will they be synchronous or asynchronous?  

The courses will be fully online. The courses will be synchronous, but there may be work that is asynchronous. 

Q: In what format will the courses be offered?  What materials will the curriculum developers be responsible for producing?   

We anticipate that the courses will be a mixture of video instruction, reading, synchronous activities and homework assignments. The precise design will be determined by the curriculum developers.

Curriculum developers are responsible for creating a syllabus and all materials needed to run the course including creating or finding videos, readings, and assignments, as well as creating notes about the overall structure of the course and any synchronous activities.  The curriculum developers will have flexibility in determining the best way to meet the learning objectives of the course.  

Q: How many hours of instructional material should be produced?

We envision that much of the course will be activities that the students engage in, either synchronously with the instructor, or asynchronously. 

For the undergraduate research methods course, we anticipate that students will spend ~10 hours per week watching videos, participating in synchronous sessions, and doing assignments, including their research tasks. Meaning, the content and assignments will require them to work closely with their research mentor for up to 10 hours of work per week, including the 2-3 synchronous contact hours.  

For the graduate student course, we anticipate that engagement with the course will take ~3 hours per week, in addition to their mentoring activities. This will include 1-2 synchronous contact hours.

Q: How will students in the course be assessed?  

Assessment strategies will be at the discretion of the instructors. We have resources for instructors and (when the course is larger in future years) teaching assistants who will both teach/coordinate the course and handle the course assessment.