The Provost Fellowship is the largest, most flexible, and most diverse fellowship offered by the Loyola Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (LUROP). In recent years, over 60 undergrads have won the fellowship each year. Known as Provost fellows, these students may conduct a research project under the mentorship of a faculty member in either the summer or academic year (although hard science students must apply for the summer only). Significantly, any Loyola undergrad from any program or professional school can be a Provost fellow.
At the heart of the Provost Fellowship experience is the working relationship between the Provost Fellow and their faculty mentor. Before applying, students must find a faculty member who will agree to serve as their mentor. Provost fellows can expect their mentor to teach them the skills needed to conduct the research, meet regularly with them to assess progress, and offer feedback on how to present the research. At the same time, fellows have certain responsibilities to their mentors, completing work on time, communicating their progress regularly, and assisting their mentor where their project overlaps with their mentor’s work. Mentors and fellows are all expected to outline these expectations in a Provost Fellowship Learning Agreement shortly after winning the award.
What makes the Provost Fellowship unique, however, is the opportunity to join a select group of Loyola undergraduate scholars from a wide range of disciplines. At monthly receptions over food or refreshments, Provost fellows get together to discuss their research informally, share ideas about future opportunities, and generally serve as a resource for each other. For example, fellows can present their work for feedback, meet with faculty to discuss graduate school and career options or discuss issues of interest such as the ethics of genetic engineering. In other words, Provost fellows join a true fellowship.
Provost Fellows and their mentors are responsible for setting mutual expectations together, which they do through the application process, and through the Provost Fellowship Learning Agreement. Fellows and mentors are strongly encouraged to read over this webpage with learning objectives and effective practices for researchers.
In terms of time commitment, while Provost fellows and their mentors are encouraged to agree on a project timeline and to meet regularly to assess progress, fellows are not required to fill out timecards. Typically, summer fellows agree with their mentors to work between 10-20 hours per week over 10 weeks, while academic year fellows tend to work between 4-10 hours per week over the course of the academic year. However, the time commitment varies and ultimately depends on the agreement between the mentor and the fellow.
Provost fellows and their mentors are encouraged to exchange regular reports and feedback with each other, but only one formal progress report is required (see form below).
The capstone of the Provost Fellowship is Loyola’s spring research symposium, at which all Provost fellows are expected to share their research projects in either an oral presentation or poster presentation. Provost fellows are also encouraged to present their work at other conferences and should rely on their mentors and other Provost fellows for feedback as they construct their presentations.
Fellows receive a $2,500 award paid hourly through the university's payroll system, KRONOS. Additionally, each fellowship has a $1,000 research budget at its disposal. The research budget is NOT paid directly to students or mentors.
In terms of research budget availability, they are available at the start of the summer sessions for summer fellows and starting on the first day of fall classes for academic year fellows. The last day for either summer or academic year fellows to submit receipts and purchase orders is the last day of class in the spring semester.
If students want to obtain academic credit in conjunction with conducting this research, there are research courses designed to do so that fulfill the university's "engaged learning" requirement. Read here for more information.
Applying for the Provost Fellowship
As with the other LUROP Fellowships, students must apply online for the Provost Fellowship by March 1. Additionally, all applicants MUST have a faculty member willing to serve as a mentor BEFORE applying. Upper-level undergraduates generally apply with projects they have taken more individual initiative over designing, while younger undergraduates tend to apply with projects that their mentors designed (although all fellows should show a distinct individual component and take initiative within the project).
A group of faculty from various disciplines will evaluate each application, including an abstract and project description that includes a project timeline, a budget, and the mentor’s letter of recommendation.
For more information about the Provost Fellowship program, please email email@example.com or call 773.508.3886.