Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Humanities (URA-H) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (URA-SBS)

OURS designed the Undergraduate Research Assistants in the Humanities (URA-H) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (URA-SBS) program to provide meaningful work-study opportunities to students who may not have the opportunity to engage with non-compensated research activities. By engaging in mentored research and scholarship, students have the potential to experience the transformative nature of research, as well as develop academic and professional skills.

In addition to student support, the program focuses on engaging and supporting faculty members in the humanities disciplines by providing a research assistant with no cost to the academic departments.

URAs are student research assistants who work 8-10 hours per week for a faculty member in the humanities or the social and behavioral sciences. URA-Hs conduct library database searches, assist with archival research, and write annotations and literature reviews. URA-SBSs transcribe interviews, code data, perform literature reviews, as well as assist with other research responsibilities. Positions are posted on Laker Jobs. These are paid, work-study positions.

About the Award

The award provides research assistants with a paid wage for 8-10 hours of work for one semester. The wage is determined by OURS in consultation with Financial Aid and the faculty supervisor. Faculty supervisors have the option to renew the position for a second semester.

The URA award is available to all tenure and tenure-track faculty in the Humanities (URA-H) and the Social and Behavioral Sciences (URA-SBS). Preference is given to faculty who have been at GVSU for at least one year and have an interest in building their research in a way that will engage undergraduate students. 

All work-study students are eligible to apply for these positions. URA selection is done primarily by the faculty with approval from OURS. Please note that the URA grant cannot be awarded to support an independent study (499), or an Honors Thesis.

How to Apply

Proposals are due May 8, 2020 for the 2020-2021 Academic Year positions. The proposal needs to be one complete PDF document that you will submit online. There is only one upload button, so please be sure your document is complete.


Proposal Requirements

The proposal must include the following sections:

  • Project Description: (Limited to 2 pages, 12-point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins). This should include the following:
    • Description of the project – Describe the project the student will be supporting.
    • Significance of the work – Explain the significance of student support in this project. What are the goals for the student’s work? What is the ideal outcome of the student’s work?
    • Timeline – Include a timeline of the project detailing the responsibilities of the student during the project. What are the significant research tasks for the student?
  • Quality of the Student Learning Experience: (Limited to 1 page, 12-point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins)
    • Student focus – What are the faculty member’s student-centered goals for this project? What pedagogical techniques will the faculty member use to help the student achieve those goals? What specific techniques will be used to supervise the student’s work?
    • Independence – Describe the steps to be taken to allow the student to become a more independent researcher/scholar during the project.
    • Environment – Describe the work space the student will have, if any. Also, note any supplies and resources needed for the student.
  • Letter of Support from Department Chair:
    • Administrative support from the department is required in order to hire the student within the faculty department. As such, support from the Department Chair is required.


Proposal Review

Proposals will be reviewed by a faulty committee using a rubric.

Grantee Responsibilities

The URA program provides faculty with funding for a work study research assistant. We ask units to hold the position in their office and we will transfer the award directly to your student wages budget toward the end of the semester worked.

Faculty must submit a Job description to Susan Mendoza at mendozsu@gvsu.edu. Once approved, a position number will need to be created for the position by your department before it can be can be posted on LakerJobs. This will need to be done by your office coordinator. The faculty will interview and hire the students, as well as approve the Ultratime. When a student has worked for most of the semester, we will work with the office coordinator to initiate the transfer of funds (early December for Fall semester, early April for Winter semester). The award per semester is up to $500. This will cover the semester of work study wages.

The URA and faculty supervisor are required to meet with the director of OURS once per semester at the beginning of the award period. Also, the faculty supervisor and URA will be expected to complete questionnaires for assessment purposes.