Guidelines for Thesis Mentors
Information for Potential Mentors of Program on Justice and Peace (JUPS) Thesis-Writing Seniors
One of the requirements for a Justice and Peace minor/certificate at Georgetown University is the completion of an undergraduate thesis and the corresponding 3-credit course, JUPS 303. Over the course of the year, the JUPS 303 course seniors will meet approximately 8 times for workshops with Kathryn Babin on issues such as editing, ethics, peer-feedback, and library-based research tools, as well as to support one another in the process of scholarly research and writing, and to share with the broader JUPS community at Georgetown the work that they are undertaking. The JUPS 303 seniors will also work in small peer feedback/editing groups and meet individually with Professor Wisler. The JUPS seniors are required not only to write a thesis, but also to “present-act” it in some way, shape, or form to a public audience. Who the audience is and how the “presentaction” takes shape will depend on the thesis. Possibilities include teaching a class, teaching at a local school/church, presenting at a conference, organizing a group on- or off- campus event around the thesis topic, doing direction action, creating a teach-in, writing an op-ed for a newspaper…the possibilities are endless.
If you are reading this memo, then you have no doubt been approached by a JUPS senior for your advisement. You should expect that the student has come prepared with a list of relevant courses taken in preparation for the project, a thesis proposal, a working bibliography, and confidence that you can be most helpful to his or her efforts. The JUPS program has prepared this memo in the hope of clarifying for all constituents in the process the role of a faculty mentor and also in the desire to provide some uniformity to the experience of students in the program. The JUPS program asks you to accept the mentor role not only if you are familiar and comfortable with the proposed topic, but also have the time to mentor. In general, the mentor’s initial task is to provide information regarding research sources, particularly current books, articles and journals that are relevant to the project. It is not necessary for you to be an expert in this particular topic or field, only that you are able to guide and provide structure for the student’s efforts. In the Program’s experience, the most effective mentors are those who ask the JUPS senior questions that move his/her thinking and writing forward.
The JUPS 303 grade will be comprised of the following:
- 2/3 of the student’s grade is based on the final product of the thesis as determined by the thesis mentor and submitted to Professor Wisler by no later than April 15th, 2013.
- 1/3 of student’s grade is based on the student’s process through the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 in his/her peer editing groups, JUPS 303 class sessions, presentaction, and one-on-one meetings
- The final grade for JUPS 303 is awarded retroactively. A student receives an “IP” grade for the course on the Fall 2012 transcript. Upon thesis completion, the grade is changed to a final letter grade.
The JUPS thesis tends to be at least 50 pages, although this length depends on the methodology, research questions, and format of the project. The role of the mentor varies from student to student, thesis to thesis. At the very least, the thesis mentor commits to reading a full thesis turned in by the student no later than Monday, March 18th, 2013 at 9AM, and then submits feedback to the student no later than Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013. The student revises and re-submits the thesis to the mentor, and the mentor submits the grade to Professor Wisler by no later than Monday, April 15th, 2013. However, the mentor-student relationship can take various forms and is flexible. In previous cases: the mentor and student created a chapter-by-chapter feedback plan managed through email; the mentor and student met on a regular schedule to discuss drafts, concerns, and issues; the student’s thesis was complementary to the mentor’s research and thus advisement was delivered through other venues (project meetings, etc.); or the student and mentor met on an “as-needed/requested” basis as determined by the student. It is the responsibility of the mentor and student to create and agree upon a plan that both parties can honor.
Students have been advised to prepare themselves to address and seek the mentor’s assistance in the following areas:
- difficulties encountered finding and incorporating relevant and useful sources;
- focusing, clarifying, and augmenting the specific question and thesis of the paper;
- assessing the logic of arguments developed as pertaining to the research and data presented; and
- discussing possible counter-arguments and developing ways to address and respond to those counter-arguments.
Kathryn Babin is available to support all JUPS 303 seniors, but can not replace the role of the mentor. Thesis mentors are encouraged to contact Professor Amster if they have concerns about their advisee(s) or can no longer commit to being a mentor.