All projects must have the following characteristics:
Students are responsible for proposing a project that can gain the approval and support of the sponsoring department(s) or cross-disciplinary minor.
2. Methodological Competence
The project must demonstrate methodological competence by identifying an area to be explored and proposing a method of inquiry appropriate for the topic.
3. Achievement, Synthesis, and Reflection
The project must draw on and extend knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. The project must include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which the project is a contribution.
4. Public Presentation
A St. Mary’s Project must be shared with the larger community through posters, presentations, or other means. Students will give a public presentation at the completion of the project, and students should work with their mentor to ensure that a presentation is scheduled. In the spring semester this presentation generally will be made during the St. Mary’s Project Presentation Days, the Monday and Tuesday after the last day of classes. Students presenting posters are required to present their poster for 1½ hours of the poster session. Posters may be put up at 8:30 AM on the day of the presentation and taken down at 1 PM. Fall presentations will be arranged at the end of that term by the student’s mentor. Presentations to professional and community groups may also satisfy this requirement.
The project is supervised by a faculty mentor in the student’s major or cross-disciplinary minor. The mentor assists the student in the development of a plan for the project, supervises the work of the project, and evaluates both the student’s ongoing progress and their finished work. Department chairs are responsible for the allocation of faculty mentors, taking into consideration student preference as well as faculty expertise and workload.
Students are expected to plan for and to bear reasonable costs associated with St. Mary’s Projects. These costs have been set at $200, comparable to costs associated with 8 credits of other academic work. Most departments expect students to prepare an SMP Budget Projection Form outlining the anticipated costs of the entire project if the project costs are expected to exceed $200. Students should discuss the proposed budget with their SMP mentor, and they should indicate on their SMP Budget Projection Form their anticipated $200 contribution to these costs.
Grants to support costs greater than the $200 student contribution are available after the student’s $200 of expenses are incurred. Students should consult with their SMP mentor to determine deadlines and available resources. To be reimbursed for costs over $200, students must fill out the SMP Expenditure Reimbursement Form and provide receipts for any expenses they’ve already incurred, including those covered by their $200 contribution.