Why VIP

Through VIP, student teams are embedded in faculty research projects.  Facutly are attracted to the program for a variety of reasons.  In some cases they already work with undergraduates, and VIP provides a framework for more effective management.  Others want to work with students from other departments, and VIP recruits students from across campus (and all teams are multidiscipinary).  Still others seek a low-stakes environment in which to try new ideas, and VIP students provide willing support.  Additionally, VIP can serve as "broader impacts" or educational components required by some sponsoring agencies.  What all teams have in common is that they are established at the request of faculty. Teams evolve with their faculty-member's research and become integral parts of the instructors' research portfolios.  While faculty provide the materials and supplies needed to run the team, there are no programatic fees.

Students can participate in VIP for multiple semesters, with returning students taking on additional technical and/or leadership responsoibilities within their teams.  This lessens the time faculty spend on-boarding new students, freeing them to focus on higher-order work.  Maintaining a team of 10-20 students ensures enough students return each semester to maintain continuity.  Additionally, multiple majors provide incentives for earning 5-6 VIP credits over several semesters, increasing student persistence in the program.

VIP Projects:

  • Defined by faculty advisor
  • Long-term: on the order of 3-5 years
  • Large-scale: Large enough for 10-20 students to work on, at 1-2 credits each semester
  • Multidisciplinary
     

VIP Team Composition:

  • Faculty advisor: defines the project, leads the team, and grades students
  • Graduate students:
    • Mentors: paid by faculty advisor, enroll for a 0-credit section of VIP
    • Students: 1-3 credits
  • Undergraduates:
    • Sophomores: 1 credit
    • Juniors: 1-2 credits
    • Seniors: 1-2 credits, 3 for ECE Senior Design, CS Junior Design
    • For Pay: Students can use VIP for PURA awards.  Faculty can also hire students, typically indispensible students who've maxed-out the number of credits that they can use toward their degrees.