COPLAC Grant Focuses on Distance Mentoring for Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate researchers at Geneseo and other COPLAC schools could benefit from a pilot program examing the potential of distance mentoring.

GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo's flourishing undergraduate research programs could benefit from a Teagle Foundation grant awarded recently to the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

Geneseo is one of 11 COPLAC member institutions involved in the design and implementation of a two-year pilot project funded through the $150,000 grant to explore how faculty members can share their expertise across COPLAC institutions via distance mentoring of undergraduate researchers. Distance mentoring is academic guidance and collaboration arranged primarily through electronic tools such as email, online meeting software, etc.

"A strong distance-mentoring program through COPLAC could leverage the academic strength of the entire consortium to offer our students a range of faculty expertise more commonly associated with a large research university," said Geneseo Provost Carol Long. "Among other things, the project will compare such mentoring with traditional face-to-face mentoring and examine the technical challenges and costs involved. We're pleased to be involved with the project and look forward to the results."

With 26 campuses and more than 4,500 full-time faculty members consortium-wide, distance mentoring through COPLAC has the potential of opening up multiple areas of disciplinary expertise. The project also will enable COPLAC to explore new ways of employing distance learning methods to define credit-bearing courses and to support a variety of additional faculty initiatives.

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