What is the James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar program?
The program enlists faculty and researchers to mentor juniors through part-time, paid research assistantships. The program provides opportunities for students to experience research first-hand and is intended to prepare students for undertaking senior honors theses.
Can any student be a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar?
Only students who have attained a GPA in the top 40% of the class at the end of fall term of sophomore year are eligible for the program. Eligible students are notified winter term of sophomore year. Students apply for the program during sophomore year (winter and spring), and the assistantships take place over two terms during junior year. Assistantships must be completed during the junior year, and students who are unable to complete the two terms of the assistantship during junior year will be discontinued from the program. Questions about student eligibility should be directed to the Undergraduate Advising and Research office.
Can any faculty member affiliated with Dartmouth have a Presidential Scholar?
The policy on who is eligible to supervise undergraduates in research can be found HERE. This policy applies to faculty affiliated with the Arts & Sciences (undergraduate program), Thayer School of Engineering, Geisel School of Medicine, and Tuck School of Business. If you have questions about the policy, please blitz "undergraduate research."
How do I get a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar?
Faculty are invited to submit project descriptions to the UGAR online project database. Note that this database is available to all students, but faculty may choose to indicate that specific projects are only available to Presidential Scholars. Students are notified of their eligibility in the winter, and the application/interview process takes place during winter term and the first half of spring term. Faculty are encouraged to interview prospective Presidential Scholars in person (or via phone/Skype for students not on campus). Once you have selected a student, the student will complete an online application form. You will receive an email directing you to an online confirmation form which must be submitted to complete the application process. PLEASE NOTE: a completed application form and faculty confirmation does not guarantee acceptance into the program. If we have more applications than stipends, selection will be based on factors such as academic standing and the relevance of the project to the student’s major.
How many James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars can I have?
Faculty members can select up to TWO Scholars per academic year. Funds for the program are limited, so we are not able to fund more than two Scholars per faculty member per year. Faculty should therefore be sure to complete online confirmation forms for no more than TWO students. However, faculty who are willing to pay the $850 stipend from their own accounts for each of the two terms of the assistantship can choose to select additional Scholars.
How do I write a project description for the James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar program?
Project descriptions should not be overly technical or use jargon or acronyms without explanations. The description should identify some responsibilities of the intern, the skills and knowledge to be developed, and the qualifications (or lack of) needed for the assistantship. While specific responsibilities may be redefined later, this type of description allows a student to get an idea as to what the assistantship entails. James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar projects need not be self-contained in the two terms or be an independent project. Many projects are "works in progress" as part of the larger research effort, depending upon the sponsor and upon the inclination and abilities of the student. It is beneficial to identify in your description if a graduate student or others on your research team will have the day-to-day contact with your Scholar in addition to you.
Are there guidelines for interviewing potential James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars?
The interview is the appropriate time to clearly state for students the basic requirements that you feel are important (e.g., needing a 4-hour block of time to set up and complete a procedure, or attending a weekly research group meeting at a set time). It is beneficial to have students think and talk realistically about how a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar commitment fits in with their academic and extra-curricular commitments and to express where their priorities lie. For example, students often underestimate study time (including study groups), x-hours, office hours ,and athletic commitments (including practice plus games). You also may want to suggest that students contact your past Presidential Scholars to hear what the experience was like from a peer.
If I list a project in the on-line database, am I guaranteed a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar?
No, there is no guarantee that every interested faculty member will find a Scholar or that every interested student will find a faculty mentor.
How many hours can I expect my James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar to work?
Scholars are expected to work 7-12 hours per week for two terms.
What kind of work can I assign to my James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar?
It is expected that Scholars will assist faculty in their research. Students participating in this program are not expected to generate their own independent research projects. Many students become independent during the course of their Scholarship, but independence should not be expected at the outset of the assistantship. The faculty advisor and student should set up a work schedule at the beginning of the term, and this schedule should include weekly or biweekly meetings between the student and advisor. This will help to ensure that projects remain on track and that students are receiving adequate supervision.
How are James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars paid?
Scholars are paid through the Dean of Faculty office from an endowment made by John (Launny) L. Steffens, Dartmouth Class of 1963. Students receive $850 for each term of the assistantship, although there is an option for independent study credit in lieu of a stipend for the second term of the assistantship (see below for more information).
Are there funds available for research expenses incurred by Presidential Scholars?
No. Since Presidential Scholars are working as research assistants for faculty, it is assumed that the faculty mentor will cover any research-related expenses (e.g. photocopying, books, travel, etc.).
Can James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars receive academic credit for their work?
In the second term of the assistantship, students may receive independent study course credit instead of a stipend if it is deemed appropriate by the faculty advisor (subject to departmental criteria). Assistantships for which independent study credit is to be granted will involve a greater commitment of time and/or effort than non-credit assistantships. The faculty mentor ultimately makes the decision as to whether independent study credit is an option, and the student is responsible for registering for the independent study through the faculty mentor’s department. Undergraduate Advising and Research is not involved in the course registration process, but students must notify the office if they will receive academic credit for the second term so that they are not mistakenly issued a check for that term. Students may not receive both honorarium and course credit for the same work.
How can I get more information about the James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars program?
The program is administered by the Dean of Faculty’s Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research, located in 107 Parker House (main office). The contact information is as follows:
Last Updated: 1/11/16