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SFA Guidelines

Guidelines for SFA students wishing to submit work to SFA’s Undergraduate Research Conference are as follows:

Eligibility

Any paper or project composed at SFA by an SFA undergraduate and supervised by an SFA instructor is eligible for the competition provided the submitter will still be enrolled at SFA during the semester in which the URC is held.

  • SFA undergraduate student work from any department is eligible, including work by non-majors.
  • Work produced in any language is eligible, but abstracts must be submitted in English, and presentations should be designed for a predominantly English-speaking audience.
  • Groups of up to five members may submit papers or projects. At least one group member must still be enrolled during the semester in which the URC is held.

Submission Procedures

Students must make their submissions to the sponsoring faculty member’s department. This member also must be the person who supervised the project. Each submission will consist of three components:

  1. Submission form – contact information for student(s) and faculty sponsor
  2. Faculty recommendation letter – one to two pages
  3. Student-authored abstract – no more than 500 words; should include general information about the project, the theory used to guide the research (or the purpose of the work), the methodology used (or how the project achieved the purpose) and the results

Selection of Projects

Each college and its departments use their own criteria to determine which projects they will submit to the URC conference. For example, in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, each department and division can submit no more than three student projects to the dean’s office. A college committee then chooses the college’s top scholar and finalists.

Each college will submit one top scholar and up to seven finalists to the conference.

All top scholars and college finalists are invited to participate in the URC. Top scholars will give interactive presentations/performances while finalists present their posters.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can a department submit papers/projects done by nonmajors?
    Yes, any scholarly work completed as part of an undergraduate course requirement in the department is eligible for submission.
     
  • Must the $500 prize money be used for scholarship or student travel to conferences?
    No, this money will be deposited into the student’s university account. The students will have access to the money as they would any monies deposited to their account. If the award goes to a group project, it will be divided evenly among the group members.
     
  • Can submissions include scholarly works that are primarily creative rather than research-based?
    Yes, any undergraduate work that demonstrates scholarly methods appropriate to the field for which it was produced can be submitted.
     
  • Can a student who will graduate in December or no longer be at SFA at the time of conference still submit work into the competition?
    No, students must still be enrolled at SFA during the semester in which the URC is held to be selected for the conference. The only exception to this is for group projects; in this case, at least one student in the group must still be enrolled at SFA during that time.
     
  • Must students chosen as top scholars and poster presenters attend the URC conference?
    Yes, for all projects chosen — whether as top scholar or as poster presentation finalists — at least one student must be enrolled at SFA during the semester in which the URC is held and attend the conference to represent the project. In the case of group projects, at least one student who completed the project must be available to represent the project at the conference.
     
  • Must top scholars be enrolled during the semester in which the URC is held and present at the conference to be eligible for the award prize money?
    Yes, for projects completed by a single student, the student must still be enrolled at SFA (either as an undergraduate or graduate student) to be able to receive top scholar honors and prize money. In the case of group projects, students who are no longer at SFA can receive a portion of the prize money provided that another group member is still enrolled during the semester in which the URC is held and presents at the conference.

Guidelines for SFA faculty mentors serving as the instructor for a student project submitted to the URC are as follows:

Faculty mentoring role and responsibilities

Faculty mentors write recommendations for their students who submit projects to the URC and provide guidance in adhering to the URC competition and conference guidelines. This includes mentoring students through the submission procedures and participation in the conference, as described in the SFA student guidelines above.

Each college is given eight spots for student projects in the URC conference:

  • One spot is for the college’s top scholar, who will deliver an interactive presentation in the top scholar session of the conference.
  • Seven spots are reserved for up to seven finalists in the college who will present projects during the poster session.

Faculty mentors should be aware that the students who are selected as URC top scholars or finalists confirm their availability to attend the URC in order to receive their award. If students confirm their participation either as top scholars or poster presenters but do not show up for the URC, their college will lose a spot the next year. Also, no-shows will not count in the tally for the Mentor of the Year award.

Note: Top scholar award recipient mentors will be required to introduce their student(s) at the interactive top scholar session.

Faculty Mentor of the Year

All SFA instructors are eligible to receive the Mentor of the Year award. Each year, the URC coordinators select one Faculty Mentor of the Year from among SFA instructors who mentored the six SFA undergraduate top scholars chosen for the year. Our selection is based on the number of top scholars and poster presenters that the instructor has mentored while at SFA. (Instructors receive five points for each top scholar, two points for each poster presenter.)

Note: Mentor rankings are based on the number of top scholars and posters for all time, not just the current year; however, each instructor can only win this award one time.

Regional College Guidelines

Guidelines for faculty members and students from colleges other than SFA who are submitting student projects to SFA’s URC are as follows:

Eligibility

Any paper or project composed by an undergraduate under the supervision of an instructor at the same institution is eligible for the competition.

  • Entries must have been completed in the context of a university course or project.
  • Scholarly and creative works are eligible.
  • Work produced in languages other than English are eligible, but abstracts must be submitted in English and presentations done for an English-speaking audience.
  • Group papers/projects can be submitted for groups of up to five members.
  • Students whose work is submitted must plan to attend the URC conference at SFA in Nacogdoches.
  • In order for a top scholar to be eligible for the scholarship, she/he must be enrolled at a regional college during the same semester in which the URC is held and be present at the conference.

Submission procedures

  • Each institution will use its own criteria for choosing their submissions to the conference.
  • Each institution can submit one top scholar and up to seven finalists. SFA’s School of Honors will then select the top scholar of all regional submissions.
  • All regional submitters are invited to participate in the URC at SFA. The top regional scholar will deliver an interactive presentation in an auditorium setting; all other regional scholars will present posters in a multidisciplinary poster session.
  • Each submission will consist of four components:
    • Cover memo – Include the name of your institution; project title; department in which the project was completed; and the names, emails and phone numbers for each student(s) and faculty sponsor.
    • Faculty recommendation letter – one to two pages
    • Student-authored abstract – No more than 500 words; include general information about the project, the theory and methodology used to guide the research, and the results
    • A copy of the complete deliverable (written paper, video, etc.) for your top scholar nomination.

Contact

Executive Committee, SFA Undergraduate Research Conference

Dr. Michael Tkacik
936.468.2813
mtkacik@sfasu.edu

Dr. Leslie Cecil
936.468.3980
cecillg@sfasu.edu

Dr. Eric Jones
936.468.1864
jonesej@sfasu.edu

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