Plan and Run an Orientation Session

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To ensure that the participants in Evaluate UR are familiar with the program's method and design, site administrators should provide an orientation session for student researchers and their faculty mentors, before research begins. Feedback from site administrators who have implemented EvaluateUR has stressed the importance of having all program participants attend the same orientation session. This will increase the likelihood that EvaluateUR will be implemented successfully, since the session will help students and mentors sharpen their understanding of the value of the program's methods as well as the sequence of steps to be completed. In any case, to ensure that both student and mentor members of your program's research pairs receive the same information, every research pair should be required to attend the orientation session together.

This brief video introduces running an orientation session.


Plan to spend a minimum of 60 minutes introducing students and mentors to the EvaluateUR and answering questions. If necessary, schedule multiple sessions to accommodate student an mentor schedules and ensure all participants attend. Avoid scheduling orientation during finals week.

Introducing EvaluateUR and its Structure

Consider beginning the orientation session by providing students and mentors with some background about the development of EvaluateUR and how this approach can be used to strengthen the research experience and benefit both students and mentors, as well as the undergraduate research program at their institutions. You might also want to reassure students and mentors about the level of effort the program requires. Experience indicates that EvaluateUR generally requires several hours over the duration of the research experience and that the conversations that follow each of the three assessments complement (but do not replace) regularly scheduled student/mentor meetings.
Orientation Session Slideset (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 2.3MB Apr16 20)

Student-Mentor Conversations

It is very important to emphasize the purpose of the student-mentor conversations. Key points include:

  • Assessment scores given by mentors are not 'grades.'
  • Student self-assessment scores do not need to agree with mentor assessment scores.
  • The objective is not agreement, but a conversation that can uncover differences in perceptions, assumptions, and reasoning.

For both students and mentors the protocol for these conversations should emphasize the importance of:

  • Careful regard for evidence to support one's views
  • Open-minded and non-defensive listening
  • A spirit of collaboration in the service of understanding and problem solving
  • Consideration of what would be needed in order to resolve important differences in assessment scores
  • Where students and mentor agree that improvement is needed, a focus on strategies that could help to make that happen


You might find it useful to distribute the list of outcome categories and their components along with the scoring rubric. We also recommend that you provide a handout illustrating the Dashboard and showing the sequence and timing of steps to be completed.
Handouts_for_Orientation_Session.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 311kB Apr16 20)

You may also want to create a customized handout to reflect the specific usage of EvaluateUR in your program. View or download the example handout from University of Missouri - courtesy Linda Blockus:

Example EvaluateUR Orientation Handout (Acrobat (PDF) 248kB May23 22)

Depending on the timing of the start of your program you may find it helpful to introduce your students to the initial reflection questions before they actually respond to them in the system.  You can modify the instructions in this copy of the questions to fit your program.

Student Pre_Research Reflection Questions.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 13kB Oct16 23)

Automated Emails

Make sure to emphasize to students and mentors that they will receive automated messages to prompt them to complete steps, remind them if they have missed a deadline, and as confirmation of their completion.

Timeline for Completing Steps

Site administrators should note dates for their program benchmarks (start, middle, and end). These dates can be the same for all participants in the program or can be adjusted for each student-mentor pair when programs have varying beginning and end dates for participants. Based on progress, the dates can be adjusted as needed.

The following timeline identifies EvaluateUR steps for each research phase.

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