Research Apprenticeship Program
What is CURCA-RAP
(Research Apprenticeship Program)?
A collaboration between the Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity (CURCA), faculty mentors, and Student Financial Services to provide work-study eligible, early-career students opportunities to gain mentored research or creative project experiences at Westfield State University.
This program allows students to make a meaningful contribution to a research or creative activity project while learning about the process of scholarship in their field of interest. Faculty will gain a full member of their research or creative team at no additional cost to the faculty mentor or their department.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much are students paid?
Students will be paid reflective of current minimum wage for the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters. The actual number of hours per week that students work will be determined by the student and faculty mentor. Students many NOT work during regularly scheduled class time, even if the class does not meet. Students may not exceed payment of $2,000/academic year, this generally averages to 5-6 hr/week/semester. Student employees are paid every two weeks and may earn up to the amount of the work study award. Additional hours beyond the work study award amount will not be paid.
How do students keep track of their hours?
Students are responsible for logging into and out of Payroll and to complete a shareable spreadsheet to track their hours. Failure to do so will result in NOT getting paid for hours worked. CURCA will assist with approving payroll hours.
Where does the money come from?
Student funding will be covered through Federal work study. All students will be paid minimum wage not to exceed $2,000/year.
When do students begin working?
Students may begin working as soon as they complete payroll requirements and have met with Work Study Office and CURCA Director to go over work and project requirements. Please note the timeframe for which it takes for this process to be completed by the University can fluctuate between students. No student may work before the hiring process has been completed. CURCA will notify both faculty and student as soon as the student is active in the payroll system, at which point they may begin working. We will do our best to expedite the process. However, we do not have control over the amount of time it takes for the hiring to be completed.
When can students work until?
Students may work during the beginning of the semester up to the last day of the semester.
What happens if I run out of work study funds for the semester?
Students can no longer continue to get paid after their work study funds are depleted.
What happens if two or more faculty members wish to hire the same student?
Students are hired on a first come/first serve basis. If students get hired for one work study position – they may not get hired for a second one consecutively. Therefore, students should be encouraged to apply only to those positions that they are seriously interested in.
Can a Department or multiple faculty share a student?
Yes, a department may choose to hire a student that is working on a department-based project or a project involving multiple faculty members with a shared project/collaboration.
Are there policies in place if a student employment does not work out?
Yes. Faculty members have a right to terminate a student’s employment. Faculty members should make every effort to coach the student and offer them the opportunity to improve before termination of employment. However, some situations may warrant immediate termination. In either case, please notify CURCA of any situation that arises. Faculty members are responsible for bringing their concerns about job performance to the student’s attention. Progressive discipline should be used when applicable, including verbal warnings, written warning, and finally discharge. Written documentation of each disciplinary action should be maintained. Terminated students will not be replaced during the current academic term.
What is expected of me as a work study student?
You are expected to give regular, punctual, efficient and cooperative performance on any job that you accept. Work study positions are real jobs. Your faculty supervisor is counting on you to be there when you are scheduled. It is unacceptable for you to make a habit of being late or not showing up. Always contact your supervisor if you are unable to work. Consistent lateness or missing work is cause for termination. If you have an unexpected emergency, please make sure to call or inform your faculty supervisor. You should arrange a mutually agreeable work schedule with your supervisor. Arrange a work schedule that does not interfere with your class schedule.
If I am a student who wishes to quit my work study job – can I do so?
You should give a written notification of at least two weeks if planning to resign from your CURCA-RAP position to both your faculty supervisor and to CURCA Director.