Nominations Sought, Excellence in Mentoring UR in the Social Sciences Award

Each year, the CUR Social Sciences Division awards a competitive Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences (EMURSS) award.  This award recognizes an outstanding mentor of undergraduate research in the social sciences who supports, encourages, and promotes a positive and inclusive scholarly and teaching environment for undergraduate students, as well as contributes to professional and personal development of students inside and outside of the classroom. The awardee will receive $100 and a plaque, and will be featured in the CUR Social Sciences Division’s newsletter. The deadline for nominations is February 20, 2020.

Mentoring involves more than directing projects and honors theses. It entails the ability to guide and motivate 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 a positive role model from which students can develop the skills and confidence needed to excel at the university level, as well as 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 students and faculty involved in CUR and work in the social sciences are invited to nominate candidates to receive this unique honor.

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 to state/regional/national and even international conferences)
  • Excellence in Career Guidance and Preparation (as witnessed in a successful track record of students entering into 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

  • Nominees must be engaged in undergraduate research and must work in the social sciences.
  • Nominees must be a member of the CUR Social Sciences Division, or their institution must be an institutional member of CUR.
  • Although 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 if the nomination letter addresses the nominee’s commitment to research in the social sciences.

Nominations of early-career academics are encouraged.

Nominations should be completed by a person who has a strong sense of the candidate and should be thorough and contain as much detail as possible to help the selection committee with their decision-making process. Self-nominations will not be considered.

Nomination Materials

  • nomination letter that details the nominee’s contributions and excellence and gives specific examples explaining the nominee’s impact.  Excerpts from this letter may be used to publicly announce the awardee.  
  • brief summary (2-page maximum) of the nominee’s qualifications for the award.
  • Mentee statement of support (1-page maximum, which may be cosigned by multiple mentees). Excerpts from this letter may be used to publicly announce the awardee. 
  • Abbreviated curriculum vitae of the nominee (8-page maximum) that shows the nominee’s work and experience in mentoring undergraduate research as well as relevant publications. (a full vitae may be solicited should the need arise)

Ready to Submit a Nomination?
Submit a nomination at this link.

Nomination Deadline: February 20, 2020.

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 evidenced by the mentee statement of support (10 points)and
  • How well the nominee reflects the goals associated with excellence in mentoring undergraduate research (8 points). Examples of these goals can be found in CUR’s Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research (COEUR) and/or George Kuh’s list of high-impact educational practices (
  • Additional consideration will be given to candidates who support diversity and inclusion in their work.

The selection committee expects to render a decision within six weeks of the nomination deadline.

If selected, the nominee will receive a $100 stipend and be given a Plaque of Recognition; they will also be featured in the Social Sciences Division’s 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.

Please note that there is (should the situation arise) the opportunity that one of the EMURSS nominations may be selected to be considered for the Social Sciences Divisional Award, Transforming Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences (TURSS). On those rare occasions that we receive a nomination for the EMURSS award for someone that has had a successful career of mentoring students and has clearly implemented long-term, innovative strategies that have resulted in that mentor having had a transformative impact on the field of undergraduate research, their application will be nominated by the EMURSS selection committee to instead be considered for the TURSS award. This nomination will then be forwarded to and considered by the all SSD Councilors. If deemed appropriate, two awardees will be recognized that year – one for the EMURSS award and one for the TURSS award. The award and stipend are identical for both awards. If the nominated mentor fails to meet the expectations of a majority of SSD Councilors, his/her nominations packet will be returned for consideration for that year’s EMURSS award.

Questions? For more information about the award, the selection committee and/or selection criteria and/or the nomination process, please contact the Social Science Divisional Chair, Carol Strong, Please mention this award in the subject line.

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.