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Education / Graduate Education / Forms & Tools / Expectations of Research Advisors

Expectations of Research Advisors

  1. The advisor will be committed to the education and training of the graduate student to facilitate his/her role as a future member of the scientific community.
  2. The advisor will be committed to the research project of the graduate student. The advisor will assist the student with: a) plans and directions for the graduate student’s project, b) setting reasonable and attainable goals, and c) establishing a timeline for completion of the project.
  3. The advisor will meet one-on-one with the student on a regular basis. The advisor will help the student to create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) where appropriate. The IDP maps out the general path the student wants to take and helps match skills and strengths to career choices. Since needs and goals will evolve over time, the IDP should be revised and modified on a regular basis, no less that annually.
  4. The advisor will strive to provide reasonable financial resources for the graduate student when available or according to institution guidelines, in order for him/her to conduct thesis/dissertation research.
  5. The advisor will be knowledgeable of, or work with someone who is knowledgeable of, and able to, guide the graduate student through, the requirements and deadlines of his/her graduate program as well as those of the institution, including teaching requirements and human resources guidelines.
  6. The advisor will help the graduate student select a thesis/dissertation committee. The advisor will request that this committee meets at least annually (or more frequently, according to program guidelines and/or student needs) to review the graduate student’s progress.
  7. The advisor will lead by example and facilitate the training of the graduate student in complementary skills needed to be a successful scientist, such as oral and written communication skills, grant writing, lab management, animal and human research policies, the ethical conduct of research, and scientific professionalism. The advisor will encourage the student to seek opportunities in teaching, if not required by the student’s program.
  8. The advisor will expect the graduate student to share common laboratory responsibilities and utilize resources carefully and frugally.
  9. The advisor will not require the graduate student to perform tasks that are unrelated to his/her training program or professional development.
  10. The advisor will discuss authorship policies regarding papers with the graduate student. The advisor will acknowledge the graduate student’s scientific contributions to the work in the advisor’s laboratory, and will work with the graduate student to assist him/her in publishing his/her work in a timely manner prior to the student’s graduation.
  11. The advisor will discuss, or will refer the student to resources which discuss intellectual policy issues with regard to disclosure, patent rights and publishing research discoveries.
  12. The advisor will encourage the graduate student to attend scientific/professional meetings and make an effort to secure and facilitate funding for such activities.
  13. The advisor will provide career advice and, when appropriate, assist in finding a position for the graduate student following his/her graduation. The advisor will provide honest letters of recommendation for his/her next phase of professional development. The advisor will also be accessible to give advice and feedback on career goals.
  14. The advisor will strive to provide for every graduate student under his/her supervision an environment that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally supportive, safe, and free of harassment.
  15. Throughout the graduate student’s time in the advisor’s laboratory, the advisor will strive to be supportive, equitable, accessible, encouraging, and respectful. The advisor will foster the graduate student’s professional confidence and encourage critical thinking, skepticism and creativity.

This document sets forth expectations, and information that, by common consent, apply to the School of Medicine graduate student faculty as a whole. This document is subject to change and readers are reminded to seek out the most current version.

Source: Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
“Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors”, December 2008