The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Mentoring Students in Connecting Experiences

To complete the BDP certificate, every BDP student must participate in at least one Connecting Experience under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Connecting Experiences can take several forms

  • Undergraduate research (examples: research assistantship or an independent project)
  • Internship with a non-profit organization, government agency, or business
  • Independent creative project to contribute to students’ digital art/media portfolios (for students in the Digital Arts and Media BDP)

A student’s Connecting Experience must be clearly related to the student’s BDP topic. Connecting Experiences give students hands-on experience applying the skills and knowledge they gain in their BDP classes, a context within which to enhance their understanding of their interdisciplinary BDP topic, and the opportunity to reflect on their interests, strengths, and goals for the future.

Role of the Faculty Mentor

The primary role of the faculty mentor is to provide the academic supervision for the experience.

The faculty mentor

  • Meets with the student before the experience begins to discuss the project, agree on the student requirements and basis for grading, and agree on a meeting/contact schedule for the semester. The Connecting Experience contract guides you and the student through this process.
  • Maintains regular contact with the student (either in person or via email) throughout the semester to check on progress and provide guidance.
  • Helps the student connect their experience with concepts/skills from their coursework and BDP topic
  • Encourages the student to make connections between the Connecting Experience and methodologies, controversies, and trends in her or his discipline
  • Helps the student reflect on his or her growth and development through the Connecting Experience, and on how that growth might lead to new directions or possible career paths
  • Assigns the final grade or credit for the experience

Eligibility to Serve as a Faculty Mentor

In order to mentor a BDP student in a Connecting Experience, you must have a faculty appointment of some kind during the semester in which you are mentoring the student. Lecturers may serve as mentors, as long as they have a current appointment. Graduate students may not serve as faculty mentors, although they may assist a faculty member in mentoring a student in a research experience.

Resources for Faculty Mentors

If a student has approached you about serving as his or her faculty mentor, the following pages will provide you with information about the Connecting Experience process and resources for designing a productive experience.

Connecting Experience Process
Student Requirements and Basis for Grading
Suggestions for Assignments
Grading Connecting Experiences
Tips for Mentoring Students
Forms

Contact Information

For general questions or more information about mentoring BDP students in Connecting Experiences, please contact Emily Watson or call 512-232-7564.

Internship supervisors may contact Christine Anderson, the BDP liaison for internship sites.