Divisions – Social Sciences Faculty Excellence in Mentoring of Undergraduate Research Award

Each year, the Social Sciences Division (SSD) of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) awards a competitive ‘Faculty Excellence in Mentoring of Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences’ (FEMURSS) award. This award recognizes an outstanding mentor of undergraduate research in the social sciences for their role in 1) supporting, 2) encouraging, 3) promoting a positive and inclusive scholarly and teaching environment for undergraduate students, and 4) contributing to their students’ professional and personal development inside and outside of the classroom. 

Mentoring involves more than directing projects and honors theses. It entails guiding and motivating students academically by tapping into and understanding their interests, passions, and personal circumstances. More than just teaching students to adhere to deadlines and follow instructions, successful mentors must be positive role models from which students can develop the skills and confidence needed to excel at the university level and attain their career goals. This often begins with proactive mentoring of undergraduate research projects, which enhance student aptitude, cultivate intellectual reasoning and growth, and foster their critical thinking and public speaking skills.

All faculty or students involved in CUR who work in the Social Sciences (e.g., anthropology, communications, economics, international studies, marketing, political science, social psychology, or sociology) are invited to nominate candidates to receive this unique honor. Except for those in social psychology, please apply for the psychology division mentoring award instead of the social sciences award.

Nominees should demonstrate one or more of the following:
  • Excellence in Research Guidance (as witnessed by student single-authored or co-authored conference papers and publications, interdisciplinary group projects, honors thesis supervision, etc.)
  • Excellence in Presentation Mentoring (as witnessed by a successful track record of students presenting their work at university-level research forums through state/regional/national and even international conferences)
  • Excellence in Career Guidance and Preparation (as witnessed in a successful track record of students entering the workforce and/or succeeding in graduate/law school)
  • Excellence in Mentoring Underrepresented Groups/ Nontraditional Students (as witnessed by unique teaching models and/or course structure/activities meant to incorporate a wider group of students into the research process)
Eligibility Criteria:
  • The nominees must be a CUR Social Sciences Division member, or their home university must be an institutional member of CUR. 
  • Self-nominations will not be considered.
  • The nominee must be engaged in undergraduate research.
  • The nominee must work in the social sciences (e.g., anthropology, communications, economics, international studies, marketing, political science, social psychology, or sociology)
    • While CUR has a separate Psychology Division, different streams of psychology intersect with the social sciences. Hence, psychology-focused nominations will be accepted if they meet the preceding criteria, and the nomination letter explicitly addresses the mentor’s commitment to research in the social sciences.
  • Early career academics are invited for nomination and will be given special consideration.

The deadline for nominations was March 1, 2024.

Nomination and Review Process:

Someone with a strong sense of the candidate should complete nominations. The nomination should be thorough and contain as much detail as possible to help the selection committee decide.

New nominations must be submitted by the primary nominator, who is responsible for collecting and merging supporting documents in a single document (PDF or Word) in this order:

  1. A nomination letter (which does full justice to a nominee’s contributions and excellence and gives specific examples explaining the nominee’s impact.)**
  2. A summary (2-page maximum) of the nominee’s qualifications for the award
  3. Mentee Statement of Support (1-page maximum, which multiple mentees may co-sign)**
  4. Abbreviated curriculum vitae of the nominee (8-page maximum) – There should be a particular focus on the nominee’s work and experience mentoring undergraduate research and relevant publications. (A complete vita may be solicited from the selection committee should the need arise.)

** Please note that if the person you nominate is the recipient of this award, selected passages from your letters of support will be used in the Social Sciences Divisional Newsletter when the award is announced.

Nominations will be evaluated and ranked on the following basis:
  • Nominee’s actions and activities that make him/her an Outstanding Mentor in the Social Sciences (12 points);
  • Nominee’s impact on students, as witnessed by the student’s statement of support (10 points); and
  • How well the nominee reflects the goals associated with excellence in mentoring undergraduate research (8 points). For ideas on what to comment about, please see one of the following:
    • For non-members and CUR members, reference George Kuh’s List of High-Impact Educational Practices (www.aacu.org/leap/hips).
  • Additional consideration will be given to candidates who support diversity and inclusion in their work.

The review process is expected to last 4-6 weeks after the nomination deadline has passed.

If selected, the nominee will receive a $200 stipend and be given a Plague of Recognition; they will also be featured in the Social Sciences Divisional Newsletter – Mentor Edition and will be expected to provide a 300-word citation and photo(s) of them with their award and/or working with students to be included in this publication.


For more information about the award, the selection committee, and/or selection criteria, and/or the nomination process, please contact the current Social Science Divisional Chair, Dr. Doreen Sams. Please mention this award in the subject line.

All CUR Award recipients are responsible for any and all applicable tax obligations associated with receipt of the award.

All students, faculty, mentors, organizations, and institutions honored with becoming a part of the CUR award recipient community, you have the professional and ethical responsibility to maintain the highest professional conduct standards and embody the CUR Code of Ethics for Undergraduate Research in your words, actions, and deeds. In addition, all participants are expected to abide by the CUR Code of Conduct. Expectations for awardees are to show courtesy and civility in both their personal and professional communications while forever representing CUR and the distinguished honor of the specific award rewarded. One must conduct oneself in a manner both professional and ethical.

Social Sciences Faculty Excellence in Mentoring of Undergraduate Research Award Recipients