The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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The Connecting Experience Process

There are three main pieces of the Connecting Experience process

  • Completing the contract
  • Mentoring during the semester of the experience
  • Reporting the grade

Completing the Contract

Before the student can be registered for a Connecting Experience, he or she must complete a contract with the faculty mentor who will be overseeing and assigning a grade for the experience.

The deadline for the student to turn in the Connecting Experience contract is the 4th class day of the semester, although these deadlines are earlier for Connecting Experiences outside the US and for summer experiences. The student is responsible for meeting these deadlines.

The contract includes the following components:

  • One-page statement: This describes the student’s proposed Connecting Experience, how the experience connects with his or her BDP topic and strand, and why he or she chose his or her faculty mentor. Your student should share their one-page statement with you, and you may need to help them refine the statement. For example, many undergraduates need help with narrowing the scope of a research project to make it achievable in one semester.
  • Completed contract form: Students must consult with you to complete parts II and III of the form, which outline the student requirements/basis for grading, the meeting/contact schedule, and other expectations for the student. See Student Requirements and Basis for Grading for more information.
  • Internship information: For students in an internship experience, students must also coordinate with their on-site Internship Supervisor to complete information related to the internship. You may ask to see this part of the contract if you choose, but students are responsible for filling it out with the Internship Supervisor and returning it to the BDP office.

Once submitted, the BDP office will review the contract, and the student’s BDP advisor will contact the student with any questions or revisions required. During this review and approval process, students may contact you with questions about the requirements/basis for grading. In some cases, we may ask the student to revise the one-page statement, typically either because the connection with the BDP topic is not clear or because there is not enough information about the experience itself. Also during this review process, we check with students who are planning human subjects research to ensure that they have IRB approval to proceed with this work. Students may be in contact with you if they have not already obtained IRB approval.

The review and approval is typically concluded before the 12th class day of the semester during which the Connecting Experience is occurring. Once the 12th class day has passed, you will receive an email from the BDP office with a scanned version of the contract.

Mentoring During the Semester

Meet regularly (we recommend biweekly) with your student to check in on progress and provide guidance for the project or internship. You may also maintain contact via email, either in addition to in-person meetings or in place of them, particularly if the student is pursuing a Connecting Experience abroad.

The student will also be required to check in electronically with the BDP office three weeks into the semester and attend an in-person check-in meeting late in the semester. The first check-in is designed to ensure that students are getting off to a good start, including maintaining good contact with you and with their internship supervisor, if applicable. The second check-in is designed to prepare students to write their reflection essay, which they turn in to the BDP office and to you on the last class day of the semester.

Reporting the Grade

If the student is registered to receive credit for the Connecting Experience through a BDP course number (e.g. BDP 320, 320F, or 321), you will receive an email from the BDP office with information about grade reporting deadlines and a link to the reporting system close to the end of the semester. The contract you completed with the student will be attached to this email. For internship experiences, we will also attach comments from the internship supervisor as available.
Grades for independent study courses (including BDP 320, 320F, and 321) are submitted using the Registrar’s on-line grade reporting system. There are two important differences to keep in mind for independent study courses:

*Grades for these courses are typically due early in the