Dr. Brian Belland Recognized As ITLS Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year

Brian Belland
Dr. Brian Belland was selected as the Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year for the 2017-2018 academic school year. This award was bestowed by the Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences (ITLS) Department at Utah State.

"I believe very strongly in the idea of multi-level mentoring," Dr. Belland explained. "Each student comes into the program with many skills and experiences. And as a faculty member, I also have a set of skills and experiences. My role in facilitating mentoring is encouraging the types of interactions with other students, other faculty members and myself to help the student gain the skills he/she needs to be successful."

Dr. Belland asked several undergraduate students to present at national conferences last year. Two of the presentations were with full academic papers. Speaking of the students he mentors, Dr. Belland said, "It is wonderful to see them engage with the research, develop research skills, and take ownership over research."

Dr. Belland's mentorship style includes offering close mentorship at the start and then slowly transferring more responsibility over to the student. "As the student gains skill, he/she can take leadership over that project aspect, and serve as mentor to other students," Dr. Belland said.

To incoming students, Dr. Belland encourages them to find topics that really interest them, including topics that emphasize their past experiences. "Research and writing is hard work, so endeavor to find a topic that is of great interest. That, in turn, makes the hard work also fun." He also encourages beginning researchers to find creative ways to build their research off of previous experiences.

Dr. Belland research focuses on scaffolding, especially with middle school students' argumentation abilities. "Scaffolding," he explains, "can be defined as support that helps students generate solutions to complex problems."  His other research interests include problem-based learning, online learning, service learning, and science education. You can read more about Dr. Belland on his ITLS faculty biography page.

2018 ITLS Award Recipient Graphic

See a full list of 2017-2018 ITLS award winners.

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