MAPs at a Distance

A pilot group of MAPs directed from a distance was conducted in summer 2012. We will continue accepting proposals so the Curriculum Committee can formally evaluate the effectiveness and success of the program after sufficient data has been gathered. Summer MAP applications that require the faculty director and the student be separated for a significant amount of time during the standard 10-week period will be evaluated, but the guidelines below will be strictly enforced.

MAPs-at-a-Distance Guidelines

1. Mentoring at a distance will work best if the student and faculty member have already worked together; for example, as adviser-advisee, or when the student has taken at least one class from the faculty member. If the student is unknown to the faculty member (i.e. the student approaches the faculty member because he or she knows the faculty member works in a particular field, but the student has never taken a course with the faculty member) then a mentoring relationship with the student should be established at least a couple of months prior to the start of the MAP.

2. When conducting MAPs-At-A-Distance, the faculty member should keep detailed logs (including emails) regarding their contact time with the student(s), and the specific medium of communication should be identified in the MAP application. The MAP proposal should spell out whatever combination of technologies – telephone, face time, fax, video, conferencing, email, snail mail, etc. – will be used by the students and faculty member and how/when each will be used. If more than one student is involved, the protocol of communication should indicate whether the faculty member will communicate with them separately, or as a pair.

3. Communication between the faculty director and his or her student(s) should take place at least two hours per week. It is important that all communication systems be checked out ahead of time so that their effectiveness can be confirmed. A back-up plan should be in place in case the preferred mode of communication becomes unavailable. While still both on campus, for example, the faculty member and student could should hold a Skype "rehearsal" in which they practice how they will conduct their sessions when they are apart.
4. Whether or not English is the dominant language at the site where the student does research, the student should have local contacts who can help when situations arise that are difficult for the faculty member to assist from a distance. The plan for a local contact or support network should be detailed in the MAP proposal.

5. The default for the student should be to remain on the Grinnell campus during the MAP period. The student can propose to conduct the scholarly work elsewhere if the nature of the research is integrally connected with that particular off-campus site. Otherwise, the student should work on campus to take advantage of campus resources and the scholarly community of other Grinnell research students and faculty.