Greetings everyone: I would like your input, guidance, and suggestions for guiding undergraduate research.
I teach at a small, two-year college in North Central Texas. My instution is less than supportive of my own as well as student research. Despite this situation, I have a few students who want to work with me. While I recognize my instutition cannot fully embrace research, I am working to change the institutional view to see the value of this for interested students.
At any rate, this summer I have two students from other institutions working with me. We have been sampling insect diversity generally, mostly in a nature park, and conducting some preliminary projects.
Both of these students have a great deal of identification and natural history knowledge. I have encouraged these two students to develop their own research projects for this next year. Even though these students are at other institutions, we plan to work together on the week-ends and use Zoom or Google rooms to communicate otherwise.
We are self-funded -- so basically no funding. I have formed a "lab" on Research Gate with these two as members. They will be doing updates there on their projects.
We have completed a prelimiary investigation into habitat preference of cerambycids and another into the nests of Cerceris wasps and the beetles they prey on. We are developing this work into more formal research for this next year and have submitted a poster of the preliminary work for this year's annual ESA meeting.
I am allowing the students to find questions or insects they are most interested in, letting them spin out their ideas and find literature, and shaping the proposed project into someting doable and that is likely to result in a poster or paper.
While I have mentored students generally, this is my first time to direct student research.
Sorry this is rather disjointed but I hope you understand the situation.
Any response you have would be appreciated.