Research Work Study Program

Justin Andries '23 and Dr. James Waters

The Center for Engaged Learning is pleased to announce the Research Work Study Program. The goals of the program are to expand undergraduate research opportunities to students from under-represented groups by creating research assistant positions for first- and second-year students who have Federal Work Study (FWS) awards. 

The Benefits of Undergraduate Research

Students who participate in undergraduate research: 

  • develop a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a Providence College faculty member;
  • engage in the creation of new knowledge and apply that knowledge to the real-world;
  • acquire a deeper understanding of their respective academic discipline;
  • enhance critical skills in communication, independent thinking, creativity and problem-solving,
  • enhance academic credentials to support applications for scholarships, awards, career employment and entry into graduate and professional schools.

Application Procedures and Eligibility 

Faculty who would like to hire a student worker to assist with research-related tasks for the upcoming academic year are urged to apply. All full-time faculty (i.e., ordinary, visiting, and practitioner faculty) will be eligible to mentor. Joint applications (teams of 2 faculty) will be accepted. Faculty from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Only one application per faculty member will be accepted. 

Faculty should design position descriptions with first- or second-year students in mind and with the expectation students will work 5-10 hours per week on tasks which support the faculty member’s scholarship (i.e., there is no expectation students will conduct their own research). Applications will include: 

  1. Information about the position which includes a brief job description, qualifications, and expectations.  
  2. A description of how having a research assistant will benefit the faculty member’s scholarship.
  3. A brief description of whether the faculty member has access to other research assistants (e.g., through teaching a research course, external or department funding, etc.).
  4. A supervision/mentoring plan.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis while funds are still available. 

Undergraduate Research Assistant Application

Page 1

The Center for Engaged Learning is pleased to solicit applications from faculty who would like to hire a student with a Federal Work Study award to assist with research-related tasks during the academic year.
Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis beginning immediately.

Page 2

In this section, provide information about the research assistant position as if you were writing a job posting.
Please design positions with first- or second-year students in mind and with the expectation students will work 5-10 hours per week on tasks which support your scholarship (i.e., students should not be expected to conduct their own research).

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Application Review 

Personnel from the Center for Engaged Learning will review applications and choose which positions to approve. The selection criteria that will be used when reviewing applications will be 1) the degree to which the position would be a valuable academic experience for the student (i.e., the position will facilitate student learning; the faculty member is available and willing to mentor the student), and 2) the degree to which the faculty member would benefit from having a research assistant. In addition, care will be taken to award positions to faculty from a variety of disciplines and faculty who have no other research assistants if possible. Preference will be given to applications that support first- and second-year students. 

Program Procedures and Requirements

The Center for Engaged Learning will post a research assistant position announcement online at the beginning of each semester. Personnel from the Center for Engaged Learning will match relevant applications to the position and send to the Faculty Member. Faculty will be responsible for interviewing candidates and notifying the CEL which candidate s/he would like to hire. The CEL will coordinate with the Office of Financial Aid to confirm the preferred candidate’s FWS eligibility before s/he is hired. Once hired, the faculty and student will complete a Research Learning Contract, which will be kept on file at the CEL. Funds for this program are budgeted to and controlled exclusively by the CEL, not departments. No funds will be provided for research supplies or stipends for faculty. 

Students and faculty must follow all existing policies published by the Office of Financial Aid regarding student employment (e.g., students must maintain satisfactory academic progress, student cannot work more than 20 hrs/week during the academic year, etc.). Students cannot have another FWS job at the same time as they are working as a research assistant without explicit approval from the Office of Financial Aid. 

Faculty Expectations 

Faculty will be expected to serve as both a good supervisor and a good mentor to their student employee. Faculty cannot receive workload/course load credit for their mentorship in this program. 

Faculty will be required to agree to the following as a condition of participating int his program: 

  • ensure that the student will have enough work to do, all work will be directly related to the faculty’s scholarship, and the student will have adequate training/support to do the work 
  • make time to meet with the student regularly and connect the work the student is doing to his/her educational, personal, and career goals 
  • submit all paperwork (e.g., approving student timesheets biweekly and end-of-the-semester evaluations/reports) correctly and on-time 

If the faculty mentor fails to fulfill his/her obligations, the position will be terminated, and the Center for Engaged Learning will make efforts to find the student a suitable replacement. 

Student Expectations 

Student research assistants cannot receive course credit in addition to FWS for their work. Students will be expected to serve as good employees. Students may be terminated from their position by the faculty mentor if they are unable to fulfill the obligations of the position (i.e., poor attendance, unsatisfactory performance, unethical behavior/dishonesty). Students must also agree to submit their timesheets and end-of-semester evaluations/reports correctly and on-time. 

Position Length 

Positions will be for the academic year. This program was designed to support student employment during the fall and spring semesters only. Working during school breaks (e.g., winter break or spring break) is possible, but students/faculty should request prior approval from the CEL to ensure funds are available to support this extra work. 

Student application

Positions will not be automatically renewed for the next academic year. Faculty must re-apply each year to the program.