Frequently Asked Questions
Planning and Events
UDRs seek to facilitate faculty-student engagement, guide fellow students through the unique opportunities provided by their major/minor and initiate community-building activities within their department/program. Learn more about UDR responsibilities.
We've compiled a list of ideas for communicating with members of your department.
UDR program administrator Diana Filar is the primary contact. Lauren Buckley, assistant dean for undergraduate education, can also be of assistance.
UDRs have organized a wide variety of events, including lectures, group discussions and exhibitions. But you don't have to limit yourself to events; you could provide a service (e.g., digital newsletters), attend faculty meetings to provide the student perspective or hold office hours to meet with and advise students.
Consider these ideas:
Brainstorm with your academic administrator and/or undergraduate advising head.
Review past UDR reports and surveys for ideas.
Ask yourself: What specific information would be most useful to the department/program?
Investigate which programs were well-received in the past? Which programs were not successful? Examine why some programs were successful and some weren’t.
Talk to your co-UDR(s) and tell them how you feel about the situation. Don’t accuse, but try to discuss the situation as a problem that you would like to have them help you solve. Instead of saying, “I feel like I’m doing all of the work and would like some help,” you could say, “I feel overwhelmed by the amount of UDR work I have to do right now, and I would appreciate it if you can help with some if it so that our event is successful.”
Many times it is not that your co-UDRs don’t want to help; they may be very busy themselves and feel like they can’t commit the time. If you plan ahead, you can each try being responsible for a particular event/initiative, choosing a time of year when you know you can take on the work. If you try to work out the issue with your co-UDR and still feel like there is a problem, talk to the UDR Council or the UDR program administrator.
Make an appointment to talk with someone in the dean's office; they can suggest strategies for negotiating with your department/program.
If you would like to cast the widest net, draft a message and ask the UDR program administrator to broadcast it to the UDR listserv. If you would like to focus on a smaller group, e.g., all UDRs in the creative arts, you can find their names on this website.
There are many Brandeis offices and departments that can offer support for UDR programming. Do not hesitate to contact them to collaboratively plan initiatives.
Here are a few to get you started:
Plan ahead. It is very hard to get services and book on-campus space on short notice.
Attend a conference and events services Event Support meeting to help plan your program
Food draws a crowd, so consider serving at least light refreshments.
Secure all required funding before incurring expenses.
To minimize conflicts, check university calendars when deciding on initiative dates and times.
Have a sign-in sheet at initiatives to collect names of students who may want to be on your distribution list.
Some tried-and-true methods of publicity include:
Stuffing student mailboxes.
Advertising in the student newspapers.
Posting to social media.
Making announcements in class.
Evaluate your event. Do this as soon as possible after the event so that the details are fresh in your mind. If several UDRs were involved in the planning, schedule a short meeting to evaluate the event as a group. Take notes that can be referred to when planning future events and can be used to complete required UDR activity reports.
There may be many reasons for a small turnout, but the most common problems are the day, time or location of the event, and inadequate publicity. Follow these suggestions when planning future events:
Begin planning as far in advance as possible.
Check in with the department/program staff and consult campus event calendars to ensure that your event is not competing with other programming for the same type of audience.
Schedule the event at a time of day that does not conflict with classes and is convenient for students to attend.
Make sure that you adequately publicize the event by sending emails, posting flyers and spreading news by word of mouth.
Consider collaborating with one or more other department/program UDRs to encourage more students to attend.
There is no set amount of UDR funding for a particular initiative; however, funding is limited, so spending should be kept modest, i.e., snacks instead of a full dinner. Typically, the UDR program allocates about $75 per initiative. Ask your department/program and co-sponsoring organizations whether they have additional funds to contribute. You may also wish to seek grants from campus departments who have an interest in the topic of your event.
Probably, but we cannot guarantee it. Situations with missing paperwork are handled on a case-by-case basis. Talk to the UDR program administrator about your options.
UDRs are considered the primary student contact for information about the specific major, minor or program that they represent. You should familiarize yourself with the requirements of your major/minor, which are listed in the University Bulletin. You can expect questions from current majors/minors, undeclared undergraduates and students applying or interested in applying to Brandeis.
You are not required to address any question you do not feel qualified to answer. However, you should be prepared to find the answer by consulting with someone else, such as the undergraduate advising head, or to refer the questioner to another staff member at the university.
The academic advising website is the best source for general information. For specific questions about your major/minor, speak with your undergraduate advising head.
There are five key elements of active listening. Together, they help ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you understand what they are saying:
Show that you're listening.
UDRs are required to report on their activity throughout the semester and also to submit a Year-End Reflection Survey at the end of the academic year. These reflections inform us about the valuable and impactful work being done by UDRs and form the basis of a planning resource catalog that can be shared with other departmental representatives.
In order to report on UDR initiative activity during the semester, students should follow the steps outlined in the UDR Initiative Planning Checklist and fill out the UDR Initiative Reporting Spreadsheet for each initiative.
The information provided in the UDR Iniative Reporting Spreadsheet is the also basis on which UDR Recognition Prize winners are selected each semester.
All UDRs are asked to prepare a year-end reflection of accomplishments and works-in-progress to share with the incoming UDRs in their department/program.