Research Class Time

A signature staple of McNair is our research writing class taught by Dr. Brooke Harrison. As new scholars beginning your McNair journey, Brooke will lead you in the process of starting work with your research mentors and basically sets the stage for what it means to be a scholar. Having this weekly dialogue and exchange on the research process, in conjunction with receiving guidance from your mentor, is pivotal in setting yourself up for success in McNair. Use this time wisely – getting support from Brooke as you craft your research proposal, sharing your experiences, your questions, your excitement with your fellow scholars, and supporting them in their journeys.

The Camaraderie

The beauty here is that you will be receiving baseline instruction on research writing, you’ll be doing some peer editing, you’ll also be hearing firsthand how others are progressing in the process. What’s great is sharing in this process as each of you evolves – in your thinking and understanding of your research – but also in your development as scholars. You will start to notice slight shifts in one another that only become more and more apparent in the summer into the fall as you each grow your confidence in your knowledge and abilities. Being that we always have a range of disciplines represented in McNair, scholars are intimately exposed to each other’s work. It’s one of the things we really love witnessing – scholars asking each other questions, really getting into each other’s work, supporting one another in this process. It’s awesome – especially when it comes time to present results and findings!

What’s great is sharing in this process as each of you evolves – in your thinking and understanding of your research – but also in your development as scholars.

The Structure

One thing we really try to do is provide structure in this process of developing your academic writing skills and doing original research. Brooke has developed a step-by-step plan for constructing your research proposals which includes a timeline that will help keep you on track during the semester and be fully prepped for the summer. It can be “tricky” facilitating this course in conjunction with each of you having you own individual research mentors in your own distinct disciplines. We dialogue quite a bit with our faculty so that everyone is “one the same page” with our intentions for the class as well as the McNair experience overall. Key point to keep in mind – always defer to your mentor for their guidance in the discipline and your specific project. Brooke’s role is to provide that generalized framework and baseline writing support. She can also help troubleshoot any particularly challenging issues the might come up. Bottom line here is that it’s a team effort – know that you are fully supported from all angles.

Key point to keep in mind – always defer to your mentor for their guidance in the discipline and your specific project.

The Talk

You’ll notice that besides focusing on the writing, we will also be focusing on the communication of your work – verbally that is. This is probably one of the most important things we do in my opinion. Being able to effectively talk about your work – one-on-one with people, in small group settings or even in large-scale conference venues – is essential. You need to be able to communicate about your work – why it’s important, what you are doing, what you hope to achieve. That’s why we supply you with multiple opportunities for honing these skills. You’ll be presenting your proposals in spring and your final results on several occasions in the fall.

We also have the support and expertise of the lovely Dr. Shelly Hinck – an impeccable communications coach. She’s been working with our McNair scholars for many years now – readying them for their presentations – coaching them on the interviewing process as well. Shelly “delivers the goods” in a way that’s super compassionate and gets to the heart of the matter all at once. She can read a situation like no other and insert suggestions for improvements (sometimes they are only small tweaks) that can turn your presentation into a real showstopper. You’ll work with Shelly one-on-one over the course of being a McNair scholar. I encourage you to take full advantage of her guidance and really work to implement her strategies and techniques – you’ll for sure be walking out the door with a much greater capacity to engage with others and talk about your work in the most compelling way.

Shelly “delivers the goods” in a way that’s super compassionate and gets to the heart of the matter all at once.