Students at Middlebury have a wide variety of options for engaging in research with a faculty mentor.
Informal opportunities for collaborative work can include technician positions or summer research assistant fellowships. Formal research opportunities are available to students enrolled in BIOL0500 (Independent Study). Often students who have completed 1 semester of BIOL0500 or BIOL0700 go on to enroll in BIOL0701 (Senior Thesis). Many student projects culminate in journal publications or presentations at professional meetings. For examples of student research click on the photos below.
Further information about independent research in the Biology Department and BIOL0500, BIOL0700, or BIOL0701 can be found in the Independent Research pages of the Biology website.
For additional information on undergraduate research at Middlebury College please visit the Undergraduate Research Office webpage.
You may also want to check out this NSF funded guide for undergraduate researchers: "The Web Guide to Research for Undergraduates"
Research is the foundation upon which all educational progress is built. Come be a part of the future.
The world of Hebrew teaching and learning is a complex one, rife with opportunity for improved methodology. Researchers with a focus on Hebrew, whether from across the United States, North America, or around the world will find a home for their ongoing research and work at the Institute for the Advancement of Hebrew. They may also find an opportunity to be a part of educational research unlike anything else the field has yet seen.
Librarians want to help. It's what we're supposed to do! If you'd like guidance at the beginning, middle or end of your project, please get in touch. We can help you narrow your research topic, find and cite sources, and more.
Find online guidance at our Research Advice page, or
Find Us in Person At the Davis Family Library
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Check at the Circulation Desk to see if a librarian is available or call 802.443.5496. Librarians are usually available from 8:30 am on weekdays. In some cases, staff at the Circulation Desk will be able to answer your question or get you started. You also may write to a librarian via email or text us.
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Armstrong Science Library
For research and instruction at Armstrong Library, contact them directly:
- Armstrong Science Library 802.443.5018
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Funding summer research:
Biology Department faculty often hire students to work on collaborative research projects during the summer. You are encouraged to talk to faculty early if you are interested in their particular research areas!
Neuroscience students have a variety of research opportunities available to them.
Students may choose to volunteer in faculty research labs, work as a paid research assistant, work as a summer research assistant, or enroll in independent research with a willing faculty mentor. Students enrolling in independent research before their senior year enroll in NSCI 0500. Seniors enroll in NSCI 0700, and seniors who successfully complete at least one term of NSCI 0700 may be able to pursue a final term of senior thesis research (NSCI 0701) described below.
Senior neuroscience students may pursue an honors thesis, a 2-3 semester independent research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Many student-faculty research collaborations culminate in a journal publication, a conference presentation, or a presentation during Middlebury's Student Research Symposium in April.
Students interested in learning more about the research opportunities in neuroscience at Middlebury should consult the neuroscience faculty research page.
Description & Goals
BIOL 0500 Independent Study (Fall, Winter, Spring)
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0500, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in BIOL 0700, Senior Independent Study. (Approval required) 3 hrs. disc.
BIOL 0700 Senior Independent Study (Fall, Winter, Spring)
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0700, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. (Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.
BIOL 0701 Senior Thesis (Fall, Spring)
Seniors majoring in Biology who have completed one or more semesters of BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 and who plan to complete a thesis should register for BIOL 0701. In this course students will produce a written thesis, deliver a public presentation of the research on which it is based, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. Open to Biology and joint Biology/Environmental Studies majors. (BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 or waiver; instructor approval required for all students) 3 hrs. disc.
Provide students with an opportunity to conduct independent research in biology.
Provide students the opportunity for close (one-on-one) contact with the faculty advisor for their research.
Promote opportunities for interactions among students across disciplines.
Provide opportunities for students to interact with seminar speakers and other departmental visitors
As a student of Biology 500/700/701 you are expected to:
- Prepare and submit a budget and full budget justification at the beginning of the semester detailing the expected expenses of the research project. This will be approved by the advisor and department chair. A photocopy of the budget will be made by the department coordinator before being returned to the student. It is your responsibility to read and adhere to all of the funding guidelines presented on the "Funding Your Research" and "Preparing Your Budget" pages of the BIOL 500/700/701 website.
- Attend all meetings and present results/progress report on research efforts once per semester.
- Attend all departmental seminars, and participate in the informal interactions with seminar speakers when appropriate.
- Spend at least 1 additional contact hour per week with advisor, alone and/or in lab group meetings.
Course Director (Fall 2014-Spring 2015):
McCardell Bicentennial Hall 372
Where And When:
Meeting Format for Biology 500/700/701
The design of Biology 500/700/701 recognizes that there are three "spheres of interaction" in which students and faculty participate: (1) one-on-one contact between student and advisor, (2) interactions among all students and faculty with common research interests, and (3) interactions among all members of the biology department and between the biology department and its guests. We have designed a variety of meetings within Biology 500/700/701 in order to promote all three interactions. As participants in Biology 500/700/701, you are required to attend the following meetings.
One day a week (see subgroup head for specific day) 12:30-1:20: reserved for meetings of students & faculty within sub-disciplines. These intra-disciplinary meetings might utilize a variety of formats, but will probably include student presentations, discussions of methodological issues, brainstorming or problem-solving sessions. Students should attend meetings of the sub-discipline that is most appropriate for their research.
One day a week (usually W) 12:30-1:20: reserved for meetings between students and their advisor. This may take the form of one-on-one meetings, or lab group meetings. This meeting will be scheduled by the advisor, and students should consult with their advisor to determine the format and scheduling of this meeting.
Friday 12:30-1:20: Reserved for departmental seminars. BIOL 0500, BIOL 0700 and BIOL 0701 students are required to attend all departmental seminars, including seminars scheduled during time periods other than this Friday time slot. Informal lunches or other gatherings between speakers and small groups of interested students will also be scheduled whenever possible.
RefWorks is a web-based research management tool that will download and store citations and articles, automatically generate bibliographies, and format your research papers in any of hundreds of styles including MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian.
Research involving animals must be approved in advance by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Contact Professor Mark Spritzer, the committee chair, for procedures and forms.
Research involving human subjects must be reviewed by the Human Subjects Review Committee (Institutional Review Board). The committee's procedures and forms are available at http://go.middlebury.edu/irb. Further information may be obtained from Professor Matt Kimble, the committee chair.
1. PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM
Leaves of absence are granted to enhance the scholarly and teaching capacity of the individual faculty member and to promote the general interest of the College.
2. BASIC ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAM
a. Normally, a minimum of four consecutive academic years (eight consecutive semesters, when the last leave was a semester leave) should elapse before a faculty member becomes eligible for a one-semester leave, and, with the exception of the leaves described in paragraph c. below, five years in the case of a full-year leave. Exceptions are sometimes made in the case of intervening familial or disability leaves. Tenured colleagues may request that a future leave be split between an accelerated semester leave that occurs after five consecutive semesters of teaching, and a second semester of leave that is taken five semesters later. A colleague must have taught full time during the academic year preceding a leave. Departmental and College planning will have top priority in determining any exceptions to the policy of the leave of absence program.
Leaves are granted on the basis of a leave proposal submitted to the dean for faculty development and research (DFDR) and are granted, following approval of the proposal by the DFDR, for one semester and winter term at 75 percent of regular salary during that period, or for a full academic year at 55 percent of regular salary, or, if an accelerated semester leave is approved, for a single semester and winter term at 55 percent of regular salary.
Requests for accelerated semester leaves are made to the DFDR, at least three semesters in advance of the proposed leave, and must involve a specific research rationale for why such a leave is appropriate to the colleague’s research program. The colleague’s department chair will be consulted regarding the effect on departmental curriculum, including advising, thesis advising, and other obligations. A colleague who splits his or her leave into two semester leaves, and wants winter term off each of those years, must teach 2 winter terms between leaves.
b. Colleagues, with the assistance of the Grants and Sponsored Programs Office, are expected to seek outside funding in support of their leave proposals. They are also expected to apply to sources for which they are eligible as determined by the DFDR in consultation with the colleague and the Grants and Sponsored Programs Office. Colleagues should make every effort to apply for grants that total up to 45 percent of salary for full year leaves and 25 percent of salary for semester/winter term leaves. It is understood that the College provides 75 percent for a semester leave and 55 percent for a year's leave. A colleague may not receive more than his or her full salary plus summer support (see sec. e), even when the leave salary is fully supported from external sources.
Once outside funding sources have been exhausted, the College will then consider paying (1) up to 100 percent of regular salary in support of a semester/winter term leave when it is taken after four full years of teaching, (2) 80 percent of regular salary for a full-year leave, or (3) 80 percent of regular salary for a semester leave when it is an accelerated semester leave taken after five consecutive semesters of teaching. The amount of an outside grant to a faculty member, and/or the amount of outside funding plus College funding, will not normally exceed the amount of the faculty member's own regular salary for the year in which the leave is taken. In the case of full-year leaves, if a colleague receives outside funding, the first 20 percent is used to make up the difference between 80 percent and 100 percent of salary; further outside funding reduces the College contribution accordingly.
c. Faculty may become eligible for a full-year leave after four consecutive academic years of teaching. Such leaves are granted at 55 percent of salary, with no increase in salary after outside funding sources have been exhausted, and with no College supplementation of outside funding that the faculty member may receive.
d. All faculty who apply for outside funding are required to submit to the DFDR copies of proposals sent to granting sources whether or not the awards involve institutional commitments. The College cannot guarantee leaves to faculty who have applied for and received outside funds for a year in which they are not scheduled for academic leave. However, requests for out-of-sequence leaves may be considered when a colleague is offered an unusual professional opportunity.
e. Colleagues who seek funds for summer salary during academic leaves must discuss with the DFDR the impact of these funds, if awarded, on College contributions to the academic year salary. Normally, a colleague may seek summer support of no more than two-ninths of the previous academic year's salary. This amount may rise to 2.5/9ths with permission of the VPAA/DOF.
f. When the needs of the department or the College lead the administration to request that a colleague postpone a full-year leave according to the normal rotation, after six years of full-time teaching the automatic amount of salary paid will be 75 percent, rising to 90 percent once outside funding sources have been exhausted. If personal circumstances lead a colleague to choose to put off a leave, the normal funding rules will apply (see a. and b. above). The intent to take a full-year leave after six years must be announced at least three semesters in advance and must be accommodated in departmental planning.
g. Normally, a leave of up to a full year for junior faculty colleagues will be scheduled for the second or third year after the first review, if that review is successful and provided the colleague has completed the Ph.D. or the appropriate terminal degree. The leave schedule for colleagues who come to Middlebury with prior service at other institutions will be determined at the time of appointment. Normally, colleagues are expected to teach for at least three years after their initial appointment before they are granted a leave.
h. Faculty going on leave may be eligible for partial reimbursement of moving expenses to and/or from the principal place of leave activity. Such grants will be made, upon presentation of proper documentation, at the discretion of the DFDR. They will normally be made only to those faculty members whose research or other leave activity takes place outside Middlebury, and who will be leaving Middlebury for at least three months of their leave. They will not normally be made to those faculty members granted leave to take outside employment. If the budget of a grant won by a faculty member includes funds to support the expenses of relocation, the College's contribution to relocation expenses will be reduced accordingly.
i. Any publications that result from a College-funded leave should acknowledge the support of Middlebury College.
j. Upon completion of leave, a full report on the faculty member's scholarly activity should be sent to the Office of the Dean for Faculty Development and Research, for inclusion in his or her file. Faculty must submit the report by September 1 following the leave in order to become eligible for future leaves.
a. The needs and resources of the College program, and the ability to plan, will be a major factor in the implementation and maintenance of the leave program. The exact timing of individual leaves is subject to change due to department, program, or college needs.
b. The leave program will be administered by the DFDR, who will recommend annually to the president and Board of Trustees faculty members to be granted leaves of absence for the following year. The Educational Affairs Committee will be consulted regarding the programmatic and staffing implications of a series of leaves and will make recommendations to the VPAA/DOF regarding any leaves to be replaced by outside appointments.
c. Faculty whose names appear on the leave schedule for the following academic year must submit a leave proposal and a plan for seeking outside funding in support of that proposal to the DFDR no later than August 1.
d. Department chairs requesting outside term replacements for colleagues on leave must submit their proposals for replacement positions to the dean of curriculum, for consideration by the Educational Affairs Committee, no later than the first Friday in April two academic years before the leave.
Directed Research (PSYC 0350)
Directed research provides opportunities for students to become familiar with and participate in ongoing research projects under the direction of a faculty member. Students gain first-hand experience in many aspects of the process of psychological research and also learn to write technical articles in psychology by preparing a paper that describes the project using APA style.
Advanced Research (PSYC 0500)
In advanced research projects, majors develop their own research program on a topic of interest. This project is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member and lasts from one semester to a full year.
Senior Research (PSYC 0700)
Senior majors develop their own research program on a topic of interest. This project is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member and lasts from one semester to a full year.
Senior Thesis (PSYC 0701, PSYC 0702, and PSYC 0703)
A senior honors thesis is an advanced research project with a significant independent focus that is supervised by a faculty member. A student considering an honors thesis must also have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in Psychology department courses. Interested students should consult with a faculty member no later than their junior year to actively begin planning their thesis research. Students intending to complete honors work must submit a “Thesis Intent Form” by March 19 of their junior year. Completion of the form involves meeting with one or more faculty to discuss the possibility of thesis work with them.
The psychology thesis requires three semesters (including Winter Term) of independent research and biweekly attendance at a department-run thesis seminar. During the fall term of their senior year, candidates will enroll in PSYC 0701 and its additional section PSYC 0701Z. During the winter and spring terms, after meeting the special requirements listed in the course description and being accepted into honors candidacy, they will enroll in PSYC 0702 (Winter Term) and PSYC 0703A/Z (Spring Term). Students who complete an honors thesis in psychology can count PSYC 0703 for one of their two advanced seminar requirements.
Information for Prospective Thesis Students
An informational meeting for prospective thesis students is held each year in February. The Thesis Application Process will provide you with additional information about the process and guidelines.
Information for Current Thesis Students
- PSYC Thesis Seminar Syllabus/Timeline Fall 2014
- Submitting the Final PSYC Thesis (2015)
Departmental Honors in Psychology
Students who successfully complete all requirements for the thesis and with the minimum GPA also earn departmental honors at graduation.
Political Science Research Guide - library resources relevant for political science.
Technology Helpdesk Support - Help documents and contacts.
Library Homepage - Library resources, hours, contacts, etc.
Library & Technology Resources for Faculty - Shortcuts to library and technology pages used by faculty.
Students and faculty in the computer science department are very active in research. There are numerous new and ongoing student-faculty research projects, independent projects, and group projects. Students present their work at different research forums, both on-campus and off-campus, and there are several faculty research projects with active student participation.
Current on-going faculty research projects involving regular student participation include:
- The MiddGuard Project led by Christopher Andrews. The project aims to develop a flexible web framework for synchronous and asynchronous collaborative visual analytics tools. The framework supports the creation of generic and specialized models and views that can be combined by the analyst into a customized analytic workspace.
- The MiddROVR project led by Amy Briggs and Daniel Scharstein.
Computer science students have also been very successful in programming competitions.
My research program at Middlebury is carried out entirely with the assistance of undergraduate students. Through a variety of other internal and external funding sources, I typically have 3-4 students working side-by-side with me each summer, with a comparable number during the academic year. Since beginning my career at Middlebury in 1986, I have been awarded one grant from The Research Corporation, two ACS/PRF grants, four NSF-RUI grants, and served as PI or co-PI on NSF instrumentation grants leading to the acquisition of an NMR, GC/MS, polarimeter, and LC/MS for use in research and course based-activities. With these grants, I have been able to involve over 80 undergraduate students in my research efforts. Among these students, 24 went on to earn advanced degrees (mostly PhD's) in chemistry, biochemistry, or related fields, or are currently enrolled and progressing towards this degree. A total of 27 of my former students have gone on to careers as physicians, with many of them gravitating towards research-based careers, and 4 have earned law degrees, and have established careers in patent law, putting the technical training which they received in the course of their research to use in a different venue.
The research which I and my students undertake is in the area of radical-based synthetic organic chemistry. In the course of this research, we hope to discover new pathways by which organic molecules (consisting primarily, but not entirely, of Carbon and Hydrogen) can react. Much of this work has culminated in publications and presentations at scientific meetings with Middlebury students as coauthors.
During the last 30 years there has been a resurgence of interest in the development and use of radical reactions. Synthetic organic chemists have become aware of and interested in the potential power of radical reactions, which can often accomplish transformations which are impossible using classic ionic or pericyclic reactions. Our long-term research goals center on the discovery of new radical reactions, and their application to carbon-carbon bond-forming processes of general value to synthetic organic chemists. The use of transition-metal complexes to modify the reactivity of organic molecules, particularly polyenes, has been of great interest to organic chemists since the discovery of ferrocene over 50 years ago. We have noted that there has been very little work at the interface of these two somewhat disparate fields.
Some of the larger questions we will be asking include:
- Can these radicals even be generated?
- Can ligand based, rather than metal based reactivity be ensured?
- Will polyene complexation render radicals more or less reactivity?
- How will complexation affect selectivity?
- Can complexation be used to control stereoselectivity?
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Armstrong Science Library
For research and instruction at Armstrong Library, contact them directly:
- Armstrong Science Library 802.443.5799
Having trouble finding what you need? Ask us for help! Research assistance and instruction is available to groups and individuals in the College community.
For assistance in the areas of biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, geology, physics and psychology, consult our Subject Guides or contact Wendy Shook, Science Data Librarian (802.443.5799, firstname.lastname@example.org).
For assistance in other areas, visit the Davis Family Library Research Advice page.
As senior Alexa Warburton opens the door to the cephalopod lab, a pungent smell escapes into the third-floor hallway of Middlebury College’s McCardell Bicentennial Hall. “It smells like the ocean,” she comments. And it should. Warburton, a senior biology major from Hopkinton, N.H., is spending her summer studying a member of the cephalopod family, Octopus bimaculoides . Her goal is to study the way these saltwater creatures learn, thereby furthering the already-extensive body of research on invertebrate intelligence.
Maria Perille, Class of 2011, is blogging this summer on the intersection of economics and psychology. Her first post is on "The Bachelorette" TV show and choice availability.