Developed as a complement to W&L’s established R.E. Lee Scholars program, which promotes research between students and faculty during the summer, the SSIR grants underwrite students on independent research and creative projects of their own, with faculty mentoring and supervision.
“The R.E. Lee Scholars program supports collaborative research–where students participate in and contribute to the research projects of their faculty mentors,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the College at W&L. “That model works well in the sciences, but less well in the humanities and arts, where scholarly and creative projects tend to be solo efforts. Plus we wanted to encourage students who have developed their own interests and original projects by supporting their research during the summer before their senior year. We believe these opportunities will result in better and more satisfying honors thesis experiences.”
The grants–up to $3,100 each for four to ten weeks of work–cover travel and living expenses, as well as other costs associated with the recipients’ projects. The program is funded by the College, the Williams School and the President’s Office.
An application should be no more than a two-page description of the project and the work to be accomplished during the weeks of the grant, plus a budget page if applicable, with certified support and a statement by the faculty mentor of the student’s eligibility for honors thesis. During the summer, the student and mentor are expected to stay in regular contact, at least by email, sharing ideas and work-in-progress, and the product of the summer work will be submitted to the mentor for review at the end of the grant period. After the summer, students will submit a brief report of the summer accomplishments to the Dean of the College and the Dean of the Williams School.