Student-Faculty Engagement Programs

A divisional core value is to work in partnership with all areas of the university, a critical component being our academic colleagues. Campus Life provides numerous resources to all UA faculty, a sampling of which is represented here.

Our Goals

Engaging our academic colleagues in ongoing collaborations is a divisional core value. To that end, the Campus Life offers three signature programs - Faculty Fellows, Arizona Mentors, and Student/Faculty Interaction (SFI) Grants – that strive to:

  • Connect UA students to the faculty and to the UA community
  • Create an individual experience for students
  • Help students apply their classroom knowledge to real world situations


The Faculty Fellows is a group of over 55 outstanding UA faculty dedicated to undergraduate student engagement. Dedicated to undergraduate student engagement, and informed by research indicating that students tend to be more academically successful when they are immersed in a supportive campus environment with tailored guidance, the University of Arizona established the Faculty Fellows program decades ago. Faculty Fellows work to effectively involve students in research, collaborative projects, career-readiness efforts and community outreach.

Each Fellow is assigned a campus site for the academic year (whether a residence hall, a cultural center, or a resource center) and spends time at that site each week, building connections and relationships with students outside of the classroom.

Faculty Fellows:

  • Create avenues for student/faculty relationship building;
  • Help make a large school feel much smaller; and
  • Foster students’ connection to UA as a whole.


The University of Arizona's Faculty Fellows program was initiated in 1984 by Interim Dean of Students Cliff Lytle, who was a Political Science faculty member. Dean Lytle recognized the importance of student-faculty interactions outside of the classroom and, accordingly, institutionalized the Faculty Fellows program. The program aims to create an increased connection between faculty and students by supporting meaningful interactions in a non-classroom setting, leading to a smooth transition from high school to university, more effective decision making, an ever-deepening love of learning and, ultimately, graduation from the University. Fellows are nominated for service by faculty and staff and go through a selection process. Many of our Fellows are recognized for their contributions to teaching and student life at the University at both the local and national level.

Currently, there are 55 Faculty Fellows who are assigned to more 41 on-campus sites, including all of the undegraduate residence halls, cultural centers, and many resource centers. Each Fellow brings a unique perspective and passion to their assigned site. Fellows take students on hikes, cook, go to arts events, mentor, and spend much time connecting one on one with students. Furthermore, Fellows collaborate with one another to organize cross-Fellow, cross-site, cross-disciplinary programming that gets students from across campus engaging with one another. These types of programming activities further students' connection to the faculty and also to the University of Arizona at large, ultimately making this large school feel much smaller.

Examples of what Faculty Fellows do:

  • Weekend camping trips at the Grand Canyon
  • Star gazing on Mount Lemmon
  • Ski and snowboard trips in Flagstaff
  • Cooking local, sustainable meals
  • Hiking Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon
  • Taking students to theater, musical, and dance permormances
  • Volunteering with students at the local children's hospital
  • Collaborating with students to explore innovative solutions to real-world problems


Each Fellow is assigned to one of 44 sites across campus including residence halls, cutlural and resource centers, and sites of engagement and employment. You can find Faculty Fellows at all of the below sites:


Cross-collaborative programming creates unique and creative ways to engage students at each Faculty Fellow site across campus. Programming brings Faculty and students together while making a large school feel smaller and creating a stronger connection to UA as a whole. To qualify for a cross-collaborative program, there must be two Faculty Fellows from "two different sites" (this excludes Faculty Fellows who are a team at a site together) for each $500.00 collaboration. Special exceptions may be granted. Please submit your application at least one month prior to event date.

Please click here to apply!

Please email for more information. Please submit your application at least one month prior to event date.


Faculty Fellows reaches about 10,000 students each year! Here is what some students are saying about the relationship with their Faculty Fellow:

  • “I love visiting with my Faculty Fellow because she is the friendliest woman and always has a smile on her face. I remember one time I was so excited to see her dog and we began talking about my dog at home, and I could really tell she cared.”
  • “I had lunch with him and met his family. He has since helped me with conflicts I faced with other professors.”
  • “We had an event where he made ice cream out of liquid nitrogen! He taught me how making ice cream out of liquid nitrogen works. It was so great because he made sure everyone got some ice cream after his demonstration.”
  • “I went on a community bike ride with my Faculty Fellow and have since started having conversations with him unrelated to chemistry. He now plays more of an advisor role, which is nice. I can tell he genuinely cares.”

Furthermore, the majority of students who engage with Faculty Fellows report:

  • Feeling more comfortable approaching other faculty members on campus
  • Becoming more connected to the University of Arizona
  • Discovering what it means to be a college student
  • Appreciating knowing a faculty member cares about them as a student

Arizona Mentors

Arizona Mentors pairs students with a faculty or staff mentor who can provide valuable support and guidance throughout a student's academic journey. Through interactions outside of the classroom, mentors and mentees form a lasting and meaningful relationship. Studies have shown that students with mentors have higher GPAs, greater self-esteem and are nearly twice as likely to stay in school.


Student/Faculty Interaction (SFI) Grants award grants up to $500 to instructors to fund activities enhancing the curriculum being taught in their courses, deepening learning and enhancing student/faculty relationships.

We value access and inclusion in these important projects, and applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how they have considered universal design and sustainability in their planning.

Grant objectives support our strategic plan and core institutional values and applications are assessed accordingly. Each SFI Grant funded activity accomplishes one of more of the following:

  1. Wildcat Journey: SFI Grants aligned with this objective will create opportunities to support students holistically toward a more successful UA experience. SFI funded projects under this outcome will:

    • Fosters health and wellness (financial, social, emotional, academic, etc.)
    • Provides direct exposure to research and/or experiential learning
    • Connect students to diverse campus resources and academic units
    • Supports career readiness and life post-graduation

    Examples of past SFI funded projects: UCSB Undergraduate Research Poster Session, Career Readiness Panel with the School of Accountancy, College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Art Exhibits in local community venues, etc.

  2. Grand Challenges: In support of UA’s Research-I designation, SFI grant applicants are encouraged to plan events for students to cultivate problem solving skills and critical thinking to find innovative solutions to the grand challenges we face as we enter the 4th Industrial Revolution.

    • Partnering with the local and global community to explore upcoming challenges and opportunities in the future.
    • Increased access to technological advancements and the application of digital literacy

    Examples of past SFI Grants: El Rio Health Fair, EEG purchases for research at UA South, Primate Facilities Visit for ASCB students, etc.

  3. Arizona Advantage: In support of UA’s land-grant mission with specific goals to promote social, cultural, and economic wellbeing of students, UA, and the local community, grant applications should include at a minimum one of the following:

    • Fulfills the University’s designation as a land-grant institution
    • Contributes to the designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution
    • Urges Civic Engagement and Community Involvement
    • Facilitates inclusive experiences/cultural understanding
    • Engages fine arts

    Examples of past SFI Grants: Attending a Borderlands Theater production to see representation on stage, Social Justice Symposium, Wildcat Writers, Trip to Carnegie Hall

  4. Arizona Global: As UA becomes increasingly global in our footprint, we encourage grants that promote global citizenship and UA’s commitment to international education and exchange.

    • Promotes the University’s commitment to global outreach and appreciation
    • Funds activities that celebrates and appreciates diverse cultures
    • Prepares UA students to become global citizens both during and after their time at the UA

    Examples of past SFI Grants: MENAS cultural activities, Paris Trip (aka Harlem Renaissance), Google virtual reality, cultural cooking demonstrations


The SFI Grant awards process:

1) Submit application at least one month prior to your event date

  • Keep our goals in mind when crafting your proposal!

    1. Wildcat Journey
    2. Grand Challenges
    3. Arizona Advantage
    4. Arizona Global
  • Applications must be submitted by an instructor (faculty or graduate teaching assistant)

2) Receive email decision from program coordinator within 3 weeks of application submission date

3) Event preparation

  • Prior to event, print rosters of attendance provided by program coordinator
  • Obtain itemized, original, paid receipts from each vendor
  • Record all faculty and staff attendance at your event

4) Post-event, submit documentation to program coordinator within 5 days of your event date. Required documentation includes:

  • Rosters of attendance for faculty and students
  • Itemized, original, paid receipts


Application must:

  • Be submitted at least one month prior to event date

    • We do not award retroactively
  • Be submitted by an instructor (faculty or graduate teaching assistant)
  • Achieve one or more of the following:
    • Wildcat Journey
    • Grand Challenges
    • Arizona Advantage
    • Arizona Global

Click Here to Apply For A SFI Grant

* Questions about SFI Grant applications can be directed to


Caitlin Kerrigan
Coordinator, Student-Faculty Engagement Programs
Campus Life 

Vanessa Valenzuela
Graduate Assistant, Student-Faculty Engagement Programs
Campus Life 

Amanda Kraus
Assistant Vice President
Campus Life