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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities & FAQ

Faculty mentors within the Area of Scholarly Concentration (AOSC) are expected to do the following: 
  1. Work with the M1 student to identify an independent, practical project that can be accomplished during medical school.
  2. Directly assist the student in the development of a project proposal that will be submitted in January of the M1 year.
  3. Review, approve and sign the formal project proposal prior to submission.
  4. Supervise all aspects of the student's data acquisition, experimental design and data interpretation.
  5. Assist in preparation and attend the student’s poster presentation during the M2 year.
  6. Assist in the development of the student thesis.
  7. Review, approve and sign the AOSC thesis.
  8. Assist in all required revisions of the student’s formal project proposal or thesis.

The faculty member is responsible for providing the space, resources and facilities for the project. This effort will be counted toward 25 hours of teaching credit per student, per year. Visit the Medical Faculty Council Resources for the Mentor page for more insight into mentorship.

Frequently Asked Questions

 What is the AOSC program?

AOSC is a four-year longitudinal program in which medical students perform a highly mentored research project culminating in a written thesis or first author publication. Students will perform a hypothesis-driven investigation or other project in biomedical research or a medically-related field. Areas of investigation include clinical investigation, translational medicine, global health, community and family health, medical humanities and the medical social sciences. These investigations will enhance the students’ ability to develop a hypothesis, design a research study, identify and solve research problems, encourage critical thinking and develop a mentored relationship with Feinberg School of Medicine and other Northwestern University faculty members.

 What are the responsibilities for faculty who serve as AOSC mentors?

  • Orient the M1 student to an independent project that can be completed during medical school
  • Assist the student in the development of a project proposal
  • Review and approve the student’s project proposal
  • Supervise the student in data acquisition, experimental design and data interpretation
  • Assist the students in the design of a poster and oral presentation
  • Assist in thesis development and review and approve the student’s thesis
  • Assist in all required revisions of the AOSC project proposals, presentations and thesis

 What are the requirements of medical students participating in the AOSC program?

Student responsibilities and requirements for AOSC students are listed below; further details are available.

  • Develop a research project with a faculty mentor
  • Submit a formal proposal during the M1 year
  • Work on the project for four weeks during the summer and two to five hours per week during the M2 year
  • Complete the project during the M3 and M4 years; research elective credit is available for up to three months
  • Present data at a poster session in the fall of the M2 year
  • Present an oral presentation in the small-group sessions during the M2 year
  • Submit a thesis outline one month following the M3 year
  • Submit a thesis of approximately 10-20 pages in January of the M4 year 
  • Attend small-group sessions and meet with thesis advisers who will help students focus on project development, data analysis, critical thinking and assessment of project progress

 What is the process that students should follow to contact faculty who may be interested in being AOSC mentors?

After Aug. 18, 2017, students will start contacting faculty to determine if they may be interested in serving as AOSC mentors. If interested, faculty can arrange a time to meet or call the student to discuss their research interests. Several university departments and divisions have identified designated staff or faculty members for students to contact. These contacts can help limit the number of emails other faculty receive from medical students. Departments, divisions and centers are encouraged to offer orientation sessions for students to learn about available research opportunities. In addition, a list of interested faculty is available to all medical students.

 How can students be notified of faculty members who are interested in becoming AOSC mentors?

Any faculty member at the Feinberg School of Medicine or throughout Northwestern University can serve as a mentor. Medical students are provided with a list of faculty members who have informed the AOSC Coordinator that they are interested in participating in the AOSC program. If a faculty member wishes to be included on this list, please contact Sean Lynge, the AOSC Coordinator.

 What are the deadlines and timelines for students participating in the AOSC?

The AOSC is a four-year, longitudinal project. Students are required to meet distinct AOSC requirements and deadlines in each of their four years of medical school. Learn more at the M1, M2 and M3-4 pages.

 What are the summer research requirements for AOSC students?

The FSM curriculum includes a requirement for M1 students to perform four weeks of AOSC research at Northwestern University during the summer. Stipends are available for M1 AOSC students who elect to perform an additional four weeks of continuous AOSC research on-site at Northwestern. All students must arrange their AOSC summer schedules with their mentors prior to initiating summer research.

M1 students who are interested in performing an additional four weeks (beyond the required four weeks) of continuous AOSC research on-site at Northwestern University are eligible for a $1,500 stipend. The stipend must be used for research on your approved AOSC project.

 Who do I contact if I wish to be removed from the list of faculty members interested in mentoring students?

If you are no longer interested or able to participate in the AOSC program, your name can be removed from the list of interested mentors by notifying Sean Lynge.

 Are funds available for students to present data at local or national conferences?

Each student can be funded for statistical support for their AOSC project. You can be approved for up to four hours total during your four years in increments of two hours for each request. Please send this completed form to Sean Lynge. Stats support has to be approved by Dr. Langman. The Coordinator will email you when it has been approved and give further instruction.

 Are funds available for statistical support?

Funds are available for statistical support of AOSC projects, more information can be found on the Forms page.

 Who do I contact if I have questions or issues regarding the AOSC?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the AOSC program, please email Craig Langman, MD, AOSC Course Director, or call him at 312-227-6555.