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Southern Oregon University

McNair Achievement Program

The SOU Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is one of the TRIO programs from the U.S. Department of Education. The program is designed to ensure that the student scholars receive a Bachelor Degree, enroll in graduate school, and have the knowledge, skills, and background preparation that are required to successfully complete a doctoral (Ph.D.) program. Nationally, students from low-income backgrounds are eight times less likely to complete a bachelor degree than non-disadvantaged students however the statistics for students participating in McNair programs reveal extremely high rates of baccalaureate matriculation and enrollment into graduate school programs, and these rates are much higher than rates for comparable populations who have not participated in the McNair program.

McNair participants are from disadvantaged backgrounds, have demonstrated strong academic potential, and have been selected for the honor of participating in the program. The program works closely with these participants through their undergraduate requirements, encourages their entrance into doctoral programs, and tracks their progress throughout their successful completion of the Ph.D.

During the SOU McNair program student scholars work closely with the Program Director and with a faculty mentor from their academic major. The SOU McNair program offers McNair students specialized seminars and workshops designed to enhance acceptance into doctoral programs, assistance in locating and applying for funding for doctoral programs, and support to increase the student's potential for post-baccalaureate achievement. The McNair Seminars are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 am to 7:50 am. The program provides financial resources for: travel to conferences, symposiums, and meetings, cultural activities, access to tutors, research related supplies, access to the McNair Computer Technology Center, and the opportunity to develop and conduct a research project related to their major. The students who participate in the SOU McNair Program Summer Research Internship receive a $2,800 stipend.

McNair Program Timeline:

The McNair Cohort year begins on January 1 each year. All scholars are required to attend the McNair Seminars taught by Dr. Dee Southard, the Program Director. These seminars are designed to enhance the success of the scholars in their preparation for doctoral programs. The seminar meetings are scheduled from 7 to 7:50 am on selected Tuesdays and Thursdays to avoid conflict with other academic scheduling.

Winter Term (January - March)

  • Attend McNair Scholars Seminar #1: Preparing for Graduate School
  • Explore the benefits of a graduate education
  • Evaluate graduate school and funding options
  • Work with faculty mentors and academic advisors
  • Receive initial teaching assistant training
  • Begin preparation for the Graduate Record Examination

Spring Term (April - June)

  • Attend McNair Scholars Seminar #2: Planning Research and Writing a Research Proposal
  • Develop and expand research skills
  • Some Scholars will participate as teaching assistants with their faculty mentors
  • Continue preparation for the Graduate Record Examination
  • Develop a realistic research agenda, a practical budget, and a research timeline for review by McNair Director and faculty mentor

Summer Term (June - August)

  • Selected Scholars engage in a research Internship full time (Scholars are paid a $2,800 stipend)
  • Coordinate research with McNair Program Director and faculty mentor
  • Write a research report and present research findings at the McNair Summer Research Symposium
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination
  • Begin to draft essays for applications for funding and graduate school

Fall Term (September - December, Senior Year)

  • Attend McNair Scholars Seminar #3: Doctoral Programs: Gaining Admission and Securing Funding
  • Complete application packets for doctoral programs
  • Complete application packets for funding opportunities
  • Submit applications to doctoral programs and funding opportunities
  • Some Scholars will participate as teaching assistants with their faculty mentors

Winter and Spring Term (January - June, Senior Year)

  • Continue to submit applications to doctoral programs and funding opportunities
  • Some Scholars will participate as teaching assistants with their faculty mentors
  • Compare graduate school acceptance offers and select a program to attend