Latest News

OSCAR September 2014 faculty newsletter Friday, September 5,2014

OSCAR September 2014 faculty newsletter

What is OSCAR?
The Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) is the home of the Students as Scholars initiative at Mason. OSCAR supports undergraduate research and creative activity by:

  • helping students find a project and mentor
  • funding undergraduate research and creative projects
  • providing student travel grants
  • supporting curricular innovation that includes elements of scholarship and inquiry
  • connecting the Mason community with resources to support student research
  • hosting the annual Celebration of Scholarship  
  • Innovations in Teaching and Learning conference

We invite all faculty to join us for the Innovations in Teaching and Learning conference on September 19th, hosted by the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence. Jose Bowen, author of Teaching Naked and new president of Gaucher College, will be holding a pre-conference workshop (with separate registration) Flipping 101: Designing Assignments and Activities for Massively Better Classes.  Better yet (humbly), Bethany will be holding a presentation/workshop, "Research and Scholarship-Intensive Courses: A Primer and Workshop" in the morning, and Rebecca will be discussing the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program applications in the afternoon. Many other presentations during the day will also highlight Students as Scholars activities.

Research & Scholarship Intensive (RS) designated courses 
Our goal is that every program will offer a regularly taught RS class, and have their undergraduate independent research course designated as RS. There will be two application deadlines for RS designation: October 15, 2014 and March 18, 2015. See our webpage and new FAQ page for more information - also, attend Bethany's workshop at IT&L!

URSP
The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) is our competitive individually mentored program for undergraduate research and creative projects. We now accepting proposals for Spring 2015.  Workshops for students and faculty interested in learning more about successful proposals will be held on October 14, 2014, from 2-3pm and October 28, 2014, from 3-4pm. Both workshops will be held in Johnson Center room G. Applications for Spring 2015 are due November 13, 2014.

"My research with URSP has taught me so much about the subject I am researching and, more importantly, on the methods of conducting higher-level research that I can translate to my future in academia." - Amy Handlan, URSP Participant, Spring 2014

Scholarship Development Grants
Scholarship Development Grants are available for departments and teams again this year. Curriculum Development SDGs support the redesign of program curricula to include scaffolded integration of student scholarship in multiple courses. Initial proposals for these are also due November 6, with a full proposal due February 11, 2015.  Course Development SDGs support the development of Research & Scholarship Intensive (RS) designated courses.  Project SDGs support interdisciplinary, partnership, and pedagogical projects that focus on undergraduate research and creative activities. Course and Project SDG proposals will be due February 11, 2015, and may be accepted during the fall semester on a case by case basis, depending on budget availability. Please see the website for more information.

OSCAR Work-Study Research Assistants
We have a unique opportunity to offer you FREE (to you) support for your research or creative projects! The Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) has coordinated with the Office of Student Financial Aid in order to allow students to use their federal work-study funds for positions as undergraduate research assistants for faculty at George Mason University.  You describe your project and the student's role, we help you find a student and hire them, and then you mentor them as you get assistance on your project.  Students get paid to work on a professor's research project, and are more connected to Mason and their academic work. We accept positions on a rolling basis.

Consultation Hours
Bethany and Rebecca will be holding consultation hours each week this year to help students and faculty with all of our programs. Bethany will concentrate on RS and SDG applications, as well as building inquiry skills into classes. Rebecca will be working with students and faculty on URSP and USTF applications, and mentoring undergraduates. The hours will be posted as events each week on our website. Please stop by or email oscar@gmu.edu to make an appointment to see us!

Some tips to support student scholarship:
  • Talk about your research in your undergraduate classes. Students sometimes don't understand that you, as brilliant and as accomplished as you are now, were once a college student trying to figure out what to do with your life.
  • Share the "Top Ten Things to Know about OSCAR" presentation or the OSCAR video in class to start a discussion about opportunities for students to participate in scholarship. These resources are found in the Faculty Toolbox.
  • Keep a list of potential projects that you could share with undergraduate students.  Undergraduates can assist you on a project, gather background or preliminary data, try new methods, fact-check, and may then be able to formulate their own scholarly questions.
  • Encourage students to investigate their research options.  Successful undergraduate scholars aren't always getting the highest grades, but are creative and motivated students who want to try things for themselves.  Some students, such as transfer, first-generation, female, multilingual, or minority, may think that doing scholarly projects is "not for them." But it is - some of the biggest gains in learning happen for those students when they get involved.
  • Point students towards the Students as Scholars blog to read about other students' projects.
  • Ask OSCAR if you have any questions about supporting undergraduate students- we're always happy to help!

SAVE THE DATES!
We have several exciting events this year, and invite you to join us:
  • Students as Scholars activities will be featured in many of the presentations at CTFE's Innovations in Teaching and Learning conference on September 19, 2014, including a specific RS course workshop in the morning.
  • RS course applications are due October October 15, 2014 and March 18, 2015.   
  • On Friday December 12, 2014, current URSP students will be giving oral presentations from 12-4pm and we will be having an OSCAR open house from 4-5pm. A detailed schedule will be available in early December; all are welcome!
  • The 4th Annual Celebration of Student Scholarship will be held May 5, 2015 in the Center for the Arts.  We will be highlighting excellent student projects from across campus and presenting the OSCAR Mentoring and Student Excellence Awards (nominations will be accepted in the spring). We hope to see and your students there! 

VISIT OSCAR

We are in Johnson Center Room 246, near Admissions.  Please stop by to say hi, get information, or peruse our library of materials on teaching with inquiry and mentoring undergraduate students. Our website is oscar.gmu.edu.  Information, announcements, and applications are all available here. Connect with us on Twitter (@Mason_OSCAR) and Facebook (Students as Scholars at Mason).

Best wishes for a great fall semester!

The OSCAR Team
Dr. Bethany Usher
Dr. Rebecca Jones
Samira Lloyd
Denise Nazaire 

OSCAR September 2014 student newsletter Friday, September 5,2014

OSCAR September 2014 student newsletter

OSCAR supports undergraduate research and creative activity by:
•  helping students find a project and mentor
•  funding undergraduate research and creative projects
•  providing student travel grants
•  supporting interdisciplinary courses
•  hosting the Celebration of Scholarship
•  sharing information about undergraduate research opportunities

Students in the Spotlight
Would you like to learn what undergraduate research looks like in dance? Computer science? History?  Did you know that the current URSP students this fall are all writing blog posts about their experience?  Go to the Students as Scholars blog to read about these amazing students and projects. I guarantee you will be impressed. Curious about how you can get started on a project? Read this blog post to learn more.

OSCAR Work-Study Research Assistants

Want to work with a professor, earn money, and learn more about how research or creative projects are actually done? If you are eligible for work-study, then check out the open positions. We're happy to help you get started - just stop by or email us.
 
Upcoming deadline for Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP)
The URSP is designed to give you an authentic research, creative, or scholarly experience under the guidance of a mentor. Students may receive financial support and/or academic credit for their projects, in addition to developing relevant academic and professional skills. View a list of current and past funded projects here. The Undergraduate Research Scholars program welcomes proposals for the spring semester of 2015. The deadline is November 12, 2014.
 
Traveling to present your research?
Apply for funding from OSCAR to help you get there.  Learn more and apply for USTF. Applications are reviewed monthly.  

Submit your abstract to NCUR

The National Conference on Undergraduate Research will be held in Spokane, WA from April 16-18, 2015.  Last year we had 40 Mason students attend the event in Lexington, KY.  OSCAR will support current Mason students who are selected to present at this competitive with travel funding (amount to be determined). Abstracts will be accepted soon and the deadline will be December 2, 2014.  
 
Student Toolbox
OSCAR's Student Toolbox has been updated with links and tools to help you present your research, access Mason resources, and how to be an ethical scholar. Check it out!
 
Visit OSCAR
We are in Johnson Center Room 246, near Admissions.  Please stop by to say hi, get information, or make an appointment. Our website is oscar.gmu.edu. Connect with us on Twitter (@Mason_OSCAR) and Facebook (Students as Scholars at Mason).

Best wishes for a great fall semester!

The OSCAR Team
Dr. Bethany Usher
Dr. Rebecca Jones
Samira Lloyd
Denise Nazaire 

Events

October 23

OSCAR Weekly Office Hours


Johnson Center room 246

October 28

URSP Proposal Writing Workshop

3:00 PM
Johnson Center room G

November 04

EcoScience+Art Presents The Rain Project

6:00 PM
Research Hall room 163

November 05

2015 Posters on the Hill


Council on Undegraduate Research

See All Events »