CHM Undergrads - Supervisors of Credit or Pay Undergrads

Supervising credit or pay undergrads.


General Information

Undergrads play a key role in the success of our community. They provide quality labwork in exchange for research credit or pay (scroll down for this info). They also get the experience of working in a real, cutting-edge research lab.

As a supervisor, you are responsible for ensuring your students are adequately oriented to the specific project they will be working on and the larger CHM Community.

When an undergrad is first hired on as a paid student hourly or is authorized to register for research credit in the labs for the first time, they must schedule an orientation meeting with the Undergraduate Coordinator Jane Lambert ( to do the prep work for their new role and to go over the requirements and expectations that come with it. As their supervisor, you are most definitely invited to sit in on that meeting.

Two Weeks Out Checklist

This checklist is a follow-up "safety net" for supervisors to use 2 - 3 weeks after they've hired a new undergrad. Although it is completely optional, experienced supervisors and administrators see it as a very useful tool.

This list is intended to be reviewed with the new undergrad quickly and non-judgmentally after the undergrad has been around the labs for a couple of weeks or so. It is expected that many, if not all, of the items on the list will have been taken care of by that time. However, there are many items to see, so it is very likely that some of them will not have been dealt with yet or perhaps have been stalled due to some unforeseen complication. When going through the list, it is a good idea to probe for details if the undergrad seems unsure of their answer to any specific item. Also, keep in mind that many of the items are as much the supervisor's responsibility as the student's, so the goal is not to "point fingers" or anything like that for items not taken care of yet, but rather to simply determine what still needs to be done and to make sure that it is seen to.

Contact Jane Lambert ( if you have any questions.


  • {U} = Undergrad expected to do this / take the lead on it
  • {S} = Supervisor expected to see to this
  • {A} = Admin (Undergraduate or HR Coordinator) is expected to do this / covered in undergrad’s orientation meeting


  • Do they have the keys/fobs that they need?


  • Do they know how to log into a lab computer? {S,U}
  • Do they have access to all of the network folders that they need? {S}
  • Do they know how to access the necessary folders on a lab computer? {S}
  • Can they, and do they know how to access the CHM KB page? {S,A}
  • Do they know how to print to the nearest lab printer? {S,A}
  • Do they know which computers they should use? {S,A}

Training / IRB:

  • Did they meet with Jane Lambert for general / admin orientation? {A,U}
  • Did they complete their HIPAA and CITI-HS training? {A,U}
  • Can you see their training HIPAA and CITI-HS records in the UW CITI Training Portal? {S}
  • MRI safety video (as needed)? {U,S}
  • Have you added them to your study's IRB protocol(s) (Wiki) if needed? {S}
  • [Optional] Did they do any other training that is required for your team/study? {S,U}

Paid student hourlies:

  • Do they know how to fill out their HRS timesheet? {A}
  • Has Jane Lambert or CHM Human Resources indicated that their paid appointment is active? {A}

Research credit undergrads:

  • Have you scheduled a time to discuss the topic and format of their semester project? {U,S}
  • Have you discussed the total number of lab hours they need to work this semester to meet their 45 hours/credit requirement and the number of credits they’ve registered for? {S,U}
  • Do you feel comfortable that you will have enough work available for them to reach this requirement? {S}
  • Does the student feel comfortable that, given their academic courseload and other obligations, they will have enough time to put in those hours by the end of the semester? {U}
  • Do they and you both know how to record their hours? {U,S} Have they started their own logsheet yet? {U,A}
  • Have they read the pages under the "Research Student Requirements" section in the KB? {U,A}

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Do they know what you expect them to be working on? {S}
  • Do they know who their direct supervisor is (if not you)? {S}
  • Do they know the amount of hours they will need/be expected to work each week? {S}
  • Have you arranged a weekly work schedule with them? {S,U}


  • When and where the FAN meetings will be? {A}
  • Do they know which of your research team’s meetings they should attend, where, and when? {S}


  • Do they know where the nearest bathrooms are? {S,A}
  • Do they know where the nearest kitchen is? {A}
  • Do they know how to get to work (bus, bike, walk, drive)? {S}
  • Where the nearest bus stops are located? {S}
  • Are they getting lost or do they not know where something is located? {S,A}


  • Do they have appropriate phone access if needed? {S}
  • Do they know where the phone they are expected to use is located? {S}


Supervising Undergrads Working for Research Credit

During the Fall and Spring semesters, undergrads typically do research credit since our community requires every paid student to commit to 2 semesters of research credit (to balance out the time and effort we put into their training). This means that they'll actually be registering in a class (usually led by Dr. Davidson and typically run through the Psychology department ), and the research work that they do with you will apply towards the credits they earn and grade that they are awarded in that class.
With Jane Lambert's assistance, they will register for 1 - 5 credits and will be required to put in at least 45 hours of lab work per credit, per Psychology department guidelines. In addition to lab work, research credit students must complete a semester project, participate in a project peer review, and attend FAN meetings. See Research Credit Student Requirements.

When working with research credit students, you will assume the role of their day-to-day mentor (Richie will be the overarching mentor as the "course" instructor), and thus, you should know and understand what is expected of credit students.

As a mentor for undergrads working for research credit, you'll be expected to do several things:

  • Before the start of the semester, determine which students you're interested in bringing into your research efforts. One place to look for them is on the applicants list
  • If possible, meet very early in the semester, or before the semester starts, to discuss their semester paper and the labwork they'll be doing for you. Make sure that their expectations of what they'll be doing are in line with your research needs and that you'll be able to provide enough work for them to reach their 45-hour-per-credit requirements (or that you can "loan" them to another supervisor who can make up the difference).
    • Make sure you are aware of the course the student is enrolled in, as that will impact their expectations and, ultimately, your time commitment to them (i.e. senior thesis, URS, or Bio152 students require more mentoring than someone enrolled in Psychology 621)
    • One requirement for most students working for credit is attending the monthly FAN meetings, and a requirement for you as the supervisor would be to LEAD A FAN MEETING. Work with Jane Lambert to schedule.
  • Oversee their labwork for you throughout the semester. Provide ongoing feedback on the quality of their work.
  • Check in with the students to see if they are working enough hours to meet their credit requirements. It is the student's responsibility to ensure this happens and to communicate to you if they believe they won't be able to work enough hours by the end of the semester, but it doesn't hurt for you to double-check with them. See Tracking Research Credit Hours
  • Mid-semester, meet to review the rough draft of their semester paper. Give them constructive criticism on the paper, and guidance on how to shape the final version. This is also a good opportunity to give a more structured, formal review of their labwork performance and to provide suggestions for improvements for the remainder of the semester.
  • Close to the end of the semester, receive the final versions of their semester papers. Review the papers and their lab work, and use these to determine a grade recommendation for each student. Pass the recommendations on to Jane Lambert, who will compile everything for Dr. Davidson. Dr. Davidson will use his best judgment, based on your recommendation, his review of the semester papers, and other factors, to assign the final grade to each student.
  • At the end of each semester, do an evaluation of each student and ask them to evaluate you. More info can be found here: Undergraduate Evaluations

Grading Research Credit Undergrads (Grading Scale)

At the end of each semester, supervisors must compute a recommended grade for each research credit undergraduate working for them. Jane Lambert will record the recommendations and pass them to Dr. Davidson, who will use them, along with his review of the students' semester papers and other factors, to determine the final grades he will assign.

Jane will provide some or all of the following information to the supervisors so that they can use it in their calculation of the recommended grade:

  • The number of hours of labwork the student needs to reach the 45 hours-per-credit requirement.
  • The number of FAN meetings attended or missed; a number of acceptable FAN meeting make-up papers turned in.
  • Any irregularities or points of interest in logsheets or make-up papers.

Supervisors should use this formula for computing the recommended grade:

  • Give 2 number-grade recommendations: 1 grade for lab performance (80% of overall grade) & 1 grade for the semester paper (20% of overall grade).
  • Important: If a student is to receive an "A" for both their labwork and their paper, there is no need to send in the number grades. Otherwise, assign a numerical score to both their labwork and their paper.

  • CHM Letter Grading Scale
    Center for Healthy Minds Research Credit Undergraduate Grading Scale
    Numerical Grade Range Letter Grade
    93-100 A
    88-92 AB
    83-87 B
    78-82 BC
    70-77 C
    62-69 D
    61 and below F

Supervising Undergrads Working for Pay

During the summer semester, or after at least 2 semesters of research credit work, undergrads can be hired as student hourly employees to work on research projects. This means that they'll be employees of the State of Wisconsin, working for pay. As their supervisor for pay, you'll be expected to:

  • Seek out and hire students who are eligible to be student hourlies. More information on the process can be found here: Hiring Undergrads. Oftentimes, students who have been working for research credit during the spring semester will be interested in student hourly work during the summer. Research credit activity does not imply or guarantee paid work for students later on in the labs.
  • Oversee the students' work throughout the semester. Provide ongoing feedback on the quality of their work.
  • Ensure that they are not working too many hours per day or too many hours per week, as stipulated by Wisconsin law, UW rules, and community policy. In general, no more than 5:59 hours per shift, 8 hours total per day, 29 hours total per week, or 58 hours total per 2-week pay cycle.
  • Every other Monday, log into HRS, review their time records, and approve them. The students won't get paid until you do this, so be sure that you have computer access on those Mondays or that the HR office has someone set up as your delegate in the system. Having a delegate is a relatively permanent assignment, not something you could set up any time you're out of the office.
  • At the end of each semester, do an evaluation of each student and ask them to evaluate you. More info can be found here: Undergraduate Evaluations

Undergrads can also be work-study. This is very similar to working as a student hourly. The main difference is in how they are paid; their pay comes in part from a federal work-study program and in part from our usual funding sources. All of the pay details are handled by the payroll department, and you won't need to worry about them. The other difference is that work-study students are typically exempt from the 2 semester of research credit rule.

Please see Pay Rates and Raises for information on compensation and raises.


The last day a graduating undergraduate can work (unless they have registered for graduate-level classes at any institution): 

  • Summer 2024: May 18, 2024

See: CHM Undergrads - Departure Checklist

Keywordsug undergraduate supervisor mentor hourly paid rc RC sh SH grading grade   Doc ID135712
OwnerJane L.GroupCenter for Healthy Minds
Created2024-02-26 18:25:56Updated2024-05-10 12:29:08
SitesCenter for Healthy Minds
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