Virtual Research Mentoring Model (VRMM)

Virtual research mentoring is an important aspect of high impact mentoring and provides opportunities to underrepresented students who are involved in mentored experiences. Furthermore, the recent pandemic environment has resulted in creating better technological resources for faculty and students, and has demonstrated the extensive capabilities of virtual engagement and learning.

However, best practices for virtual research mentoring remain largely unknown. As an outcome of the CAA Academic Alliance’s IN/CO Round 3 grant project award, UNCW, Elon and NC A & T planned and executed a two-day workshop focused on addressing challenges with virtual research mentoring, involving students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty and staff.

Entitled the Virtual Research Mentoring Model, (VRMM), mentors and their mentees attended the pilot event in June, 2023. Joining both traditionally (in person) and virtually, from across the country, UNCW hosted the VRMM event on campus in Wilmington, NC. Using a design challenge format, teams of students and faculty developed low fidelity prototypes that largely addressed two themes: 1) the importance of the mentee/mentor relationship, and 2) developing resources and training tools to improve mentors’ knowledge skills and abilities in a virtual setting.

A pre-post survey indicated improved comfort with virtual research mentoring, and indicated that nearly all students and faculty intended to participate in virtual research mentoring after participating in the workshop. Post event debriefing also elucidated important next steps with the pilot outcomes in the context of increasing opportunities for underrepresented students to participate in mentored research in a virtual environment.

A manuscript has been submitted and reviewed, summarizing the event’s outcomes, and is pending publication. A proposal was also accepted to present at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Join us for a VRMM Discussion Session on Thursday, January 18, 2024 @ 3:30pm.  A toolkit has been developed from the pilot, and will be featured in the AAC&U session. VRMM_Final [Digital]and the final version of the toolkit will be available for dissemination by early spring, 2024.

Mentoring Curriculum links:

Design Challenge Methodology link:

Hosting VRMM links:

News from VRMM