There are two primary sets of expectations for BDP students completing Connecting Experiences: the BDP program-related requirements, and the expectations agreed upon between the faculty mentor and the student that apply only to the individual student. In addition, students completing internships are responsible for the expectations and requirements of the supervisor at the internship site.
BDP Program-Related Expectations
Once the Connecting Experience is approved, the BDP program has the following requirements and expectations of all students engaged in Connecting Experiences:
- Attendance at two mandatory Connecting Experience Check-In Meetings during the semester of the experience.
- Completion of a 3-5-page Reflection Essay due on the last class day of the semester. As the student’s faculty mentor, you may request that the student also turn in a copy of the Reflection Essay to you; however, instructions for the Reflection Essay should not be changed.
- Students participating in internship experiences are required to complete 160-180 hours of internship experience.
In addition to these requirements, students must meet the following expectations, which are included with the Connecting Experience contract:
- Agree on a plan for the semester with the faculty mentor before the connecting experience begins. The plan should include academic requirements, the basis for grading the experience, and a plan for student/professor meetings for the semester.
- Use good communication skills. It is the student’s responsibility to report progress and seek guidance when needed.
- Be self-motivated. Students are expected to be active and reliable participants in the research or internship experience. The faculty mentor or internship supervisor should not have to prompt students to show up for work or a meeting or to finish a project.
- Know the expectation for course credit. The student is responsible for knowing and fulfilling any departmental requirements.
Additional Faculty Expectations of the Student
The academic expectations for the student are at the discretion of the faculty mentor. Please work with your student to develop expectations, requirements, and a basis for grading that makes sense with the specific focus and details of the student’s experience. Whether the Connecting Experience is a research experience or an internship, you have the discretion to ask the student to complete readings and assignments that will enhance the experience and support the academic side of the student’s learning. We do ask that you consider the level and intensity of the requirements for the experience as a whole, so as not to either overburden the student with or make the workload too light. (For example, if a student is dedicating 160 hours to an internship, it might be more appropriate to require short writing assignment, readings, or journals entries rather than a long research paper.) We also ask that you agree with the student on the requirements before the experience begins, and that the signed Connecting Experience contract outline in detail these requirements and expectations.
What follows are some possible models for designing a Connecting Experience. This list is not meant to be prescriptive or exhaustive, but rather to offer you some ideas:
- A student engages in an individual research project and produces a research paper (of a predetermined length) at the end of the semester. The student also writes up ongoing progress reports at specified points during the semester.
- A student participating in an internship writes weekly journal entries on the experience. The student might also be assigned several reading assignments over the course of the semester to enhance the experience and give it additional academic grounding.
- A student participating in a faculty member’s research project is assigned weekly or bi-weekly reading assignments to help connect the research project to the student’s own BDP focus, and the student writes up reflections on the reading assignments.
- A student engaged in a research experience abroad sends regular reflections and questions by email, then continues the work once back in Austin to write a research paper on the experience.
- A student creates a short film (or podcast, or web site, or creative project, etc.) that incorporates his or her learning from a research or internship experience.
- A student in an internship is already required by the internship site to conduct research on a regular basis, so the faculty mentor chooses to require only regular updates from the student, since s/he is already getting a rich academic experience.
- A student participating in a faculty member’s research experience or an individual research experience is required, in addition to other requirements, to produce a poster about the research. The student might submit the poster to be presented at a college research poster session and/or at the BDP poster session in the spring.