- Undergraduate students may still participate in research projects if the work can be completed remotely, while observing social distancing and any local “shelter in place” or quarantine orders.
- Undergraduate researchers conducting research for credit should work with their faculty adviser to ensure an appropriate plan as it relates to academic credit.
Summer 2020 Contingency Plan: Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow Program (VURF)
To facilitate undergraduate research activities to the greatest degree possible during Summer 2020. The VURF Program contingency plan may serve as a model for other student research programs across the university.
Considerations: Program Dates
- The VURF Program spans 10 weeks; it is modeled after the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Programs (NSF REU).
- The VURF Program dates correspond with the dates of summer room and board offered by Residence Life and the academic calendar for summer courses (Summer Session III). Therefore, the grant period is scheduled to run from the week of May 26 through the week of July 27, 2020.
- Even if University summer housing becomes available at a later date than May 26, the VURF dates cannot shift. The VURF Program must finish prior to the Fall 2020 semester. If the program were to run into August, this would put an undue burden on Facilities and faculty mentors. Facilities needs time to ready for the Fall semester, and faculty mentors often take time off in August.
Considerations: Professional Development
- The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Workshop in its original form consists of a mass gathering exceeding 125 people in early June. This year, the CRF Team will deliver the RCR Workshop remotely, using Zoom, during the first week of the program.
- All professional development workshops for student researchers will be delivered as planned, but CRF will use Zoom rather than in-person meetings.
Summer 2020 Plan:
VURF Program proceeds, but all research activity must take place remotely.
- Campus access remains restricted, with uncertainty around when restrictions would lift. Restrictions could be due to state/federal orders, or due to lack of campus infrastructure that is back up to 100% capacity.
- On-campus room and board is unavailable; students do not come to campus.
- Appropriate campus infrastructure (EH&S, shipping/receiving, etc.) is not in place.
- VURF dates follow the original plans; no need for adjustments.
- Mentors of student grantees will decide if the work can be completed remotely. All student grantees will be able to list having won the grant, but only projects that are completely remote will receive funding to execute the project. Unfortunately, many grantees will be forced to decline the grant due to physical limitations (i.e., no access to the laboratory, fieldwork, or Research Garden). This should not be seen as a subjective choice on the part of the mentor.
- If a VURF project can be revised so that all work is completed remotely, then mentors and grantees should submit a research plan addendum for all grantees by May 1. Grantees and mentors will submit these plans via an Office365 form created by CRF. The VURF Program seeks to accommodate as many projects as possible.
- VURF faculty selection committees submit their funding recommendations by April 1.
- Selection of fellows will not be dependent on ability to complete the project remotely. Students will be able to list the award, but those who cannot do their work remotely will not receive funding and will not conduct on-campus research projects.
- Grantees/mentors whose projects can be conducted remotely are encouraged to consider this option, notifying CRF and the mentor department by May 1.
- Grantees who do not decline will conduct research remotely, corresponding with their mentors regularly.
- If a grantee and mentor do not or cannot provide a suitable remote work plan, then the mentor will inform CRF that the grant must be declined. As declines occur, alternate candidates will receive VURF offers on a rolling basis until the list of alternates is exhausted.
- RCR training and all professional development workshops are delivered via Zoom.
- Program dates: week of May 26 through week of July 27.