FAQs for UG students
1. What does the programme involve?
Students as Scholars is intended to support undergraduates in getting the most out of research seminars and events. As part of the programme, you attend three research events over the course of an academic year. You select the events which interest you from a list which will be made available to you by email. You will be informed of all research events going on in the Faculty of Arts so you can select whether to stay within your own department or try something new. Before each event, you spend a few minutes preparing – in consultation with your mentor – using the guidelines suggested in a form provided by us. During the research events, you take notes, again with some guidance from a template which the programme provides. Following the event, you spend some time considering what you’ve learnt from your event – again in consultation with your mentor – and how you can take that to your studies.
2. What will I get out of the programme?
First of all, the programme will help you experience some of the cutting-edge research being carried out and discussed in the Faculty of Arts. The University of Leeds is one of the major research universities in the country; this programme gives you the chance to experience directly the ideas at the forefront of knowledge, which are being discussed, debated and reshaped in and around your field of study. It’ll enable you to find out about the latest developments in your subject, and open up new perspectives on the work you’re doing in your modules. Sometimes you’ll be listening to the people who are teaching you; sometimes you’ll be listening to visiting scholars, who will bring different approaches.
Secondly, the programme will help you hone your academic and employable skills. You’ll be learning about how researchers frame problems, build up solutions, communicate their ideas to audiences – these are precisely the skills which you’ll be aiming to build up over the course of your degree, and they’re also skills which are very highly prized by employers. Students who’ve taken part in the programme in the past have found that listening to research seminars – even on topics not directly related to their studies – helped them shape their own studies and think in fresh ways about their subject.
Thirdly, participation in the programme will give you something distinctive to put on your CV. At the end of the programme, you’ll receive a letter confirming that you’ve completed the programme; this will then form part of the material which your personal tutor can use in writing you a reference.
Finally, the programme should be enjoyable! It’s a chance to find out about new ideas and developments in your field, and also to take part in interesting debates. The aim of the programme is to be supportive of you as you go along to research events. A previous participant commented: “I was struck by the camaraderie of the events, how it didn’t matter whether you were a lecturer, a postgrad student or an undergraduate: if you had a view on something, or a query, it was taken seriously. Everyone helped further the discussion.”
3. What can I expect at a research seminar?
Research seminars are the times when academics and post-graduate students present their work to each other. The exact format of seminars varies, but usually they involve one or two papers (i.e. presentations), followed by discussion. Because these are research events, the papers usually include much less background material than an undergraduate lecture – as one participant commented in a previous year, “going to a research seminar is like stepping up a gear from a lecture – my head was spinning at first but I quickly got used to it, and it was just really interesting”.
Precisely because attending a research seminar is “like stepping up a gear”, the programme aims to help you prepare for the events, and to make sure that you’re getting the most out of them. The chances are that you won’t follow the research papers you listen to in quite the same way as you follow undergraduate lectures – and so the programme helps you to figure out what’s going on in research papers, and gives you the chance to follow up on the events you’ve attended by pursuing and picking up on things you might not have fully understood and grasped.
In the past, visiting speakers have been absolutely delighted to see undergraduates at their research events, and to talk to them afterwards – so although it might seem like a very different environment from your usual lectures, you should be assured that you’ll be very welcome indeed.
4. When should I see my mentor?
You should see your mentor before and after each research event. Your mentor will be supporting you out of goodwill, so please respect their time – if at all possible, try and see them during office hours. It is your responsibility to contact your mentor when you need to see them. Please allow plenty of time for organizing the meeting before your events as your mentor may not be available to see you at short notice. Any questions regarding the administration of the scheme should be sent to Ruth Chester (email@example.com) and Matthew Treherne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
5. How do I find out about events?
You will be sent by email lists of events as they become available.
6.What do I do with the forms I complete?
You will need to complete three seperate forms for each event you attend – so nine in total. They are for your own benefit to help you organize your thoughts before, during and after the event. You will discuss what you’ve written with your mentors who then need to sign the completed form to confirm they’re complete. Keep your forms until you’ve attended all three events, then send all nine completed forms together to Ruth Chester, Postgraduate student in the Department of Italian through the internal university mail. They should be sent by the 15th June 2012. Forms received after this date will not be accepted unless under exceptional circumstance.