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.
While attendance is not required, Provost fellows and their mentors are strongly encouraged to attend at least one Provost Fellowship event each semester, and are welcome to attend as many as they like.
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.
The meaningful rewards of a Provost Fellowship have little to do with money, but the program does provide financial support. Fellows receive a $2,000 award paid in three installments, $500 at the beginning of their term of research, $1,000 midway through, and $500 in the spring, after they present at Loyola’s spring research symposium. Additionally, each fellowship has a $1,000 research budget at its disposal. The research budget is NOT paid directly to students or mentors.
Receipts for Reimbursement—Because not all purchases can be made through the Purchasing Office, fellows and mentors who make purchases for their research using their own funds should save the receipts, then submit them along with a budget request form (see below). If you have more than 2 receipts, please itemize and add them up. If approved, we will submit a request to the Accounts Payable Office for a check or a direct deposit to reimburse you, which can take 10–15 business days.
Expense Transfer Form—If the mentor makes a purchase for the student's research project using their ProCard or one for their department, they should submit an Expense Transfer Form, which can be found on this page. If approved, LUROP will effectively transfer funds to replace the expense from your research budget.
Mail Order Form—If you are sending out mailings as part of your research, you should use the Advanced Notification of Large or Mass Mailing Form, which can be found here. Leave the budget account number blank when you submit the form to firstname.lastname@example.org. If approved, we will add the LUROP account info, send the form to the Mail Room, and you should be able to send your mail in just a few days.
LUROP ProCard—On rare occasions, we have been able to make purchases directly for fellows using the LUROP ProCard. This method is only available if no other means of accessing the research budget exist. In practice, this has mostly applied to students purchasing airfare and hotel for conference trips when neither they nor their mentors have the funds to cover the cost of the trip.
*Please note that if you are using your research budget for a flight, you must keep and submit your boarding passes.
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.