Advising & Mentoring

Communication is Key!

Advising relationships are a central part of academia, important to both the experience and development of students and faculty members alike.

The Graduate School defines an advisor as a faculty member from the program responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies and for supervising a student’s degree program (including research). Your PI has two main roles: 1) To assist you in acquiring the highest possible level of knowledge and competence in the field, and 2) to chair the Mentor Committee that will determine whether you have performed at an acceptable level in each of your degree milestones.

Your PI may assist with course selection, planning your academic path, and helping you identify possible research mentors, committee members, and research opportunities. PIs are expected to help you apply for funds to cover direct research costs and to provide a stipend as agreed upon in the appointment. The student and PI are responsible for communicating their expectations to each other.

General Expectations Compactexpand_more

General Expectations Compact

Clearly defined expectations for the student and PI are a crucial starting point for a strong relationship. Our General Expectations Compact contains expectations that should be discussed and agreed upon with your PI as soon as possible upon arrival.

Annual Review of Academic Progress Meetingexpand_more

All students are required to participate in an Annual Review of Academic Progress meeting with their PI each year. The Progress Report must be completed and submitted by the end of each academic year (June) but may occur any time during the year. The Department highly recommends the Progress Report be shared with the student’s Mentor and Examination Committee each year for review and input.

This evaluation provides a mechanism for the student to review their overall progress towards their degree and to identify areas of strength and weakness in their development as an independent scientist. The Progress Report is a tool for the PI to ensure the student is making satisfactory research progress toward achievement of the degree. If the PI believes sufficient progress is not being made or is unlikely to be made, the PI should follow the steps outlined in the Not Meeting Academic Expectations section.

– Before the meetingexpand_more

The student must:

  1. Schedule a Progress Report meeting and inform the GPM of the date.
  2. Prepare a short oral presentation (approximately 30 min) of research progress.
  3. Download and complete the top section of the Progress Report.
  4. Indicate whether the yearly Seminar Requirement has been met.
  5. Provide the Form to your PI (paper or electronic) at least one week prior to the scheduled meeting.

– During the meetingexpand_more

The student must:

  1. Seek PI’s input about your career development plans.
  2. Present an oral report describing the past year’s accomplishments.

The student and PI must:

  1. Discuss the student’s progress.
    • Students planning to graduate within the next year must solicit committee input on their proposed graduation timeline.
    • Ultimately, the PI is responsible for providing feedback to the student and determining satisfactory progress. For unsatisfactory progress, the PI should follow the steps outlined in the Not Meeting Academic Expectations

– After the meetingexpand_more

The PI must complete, sign, and email the Progress Report to the student and the GPM before the beginning of the next academic year. It is highly recommended that these reports are shared with the student’s Mentor and Examination Committee each year for review and input.