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Karl Grosh

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Mentoring Plan for PhD Students

Communication and Meetings

How would you describe your advising style? Does your approach vary over the course of a student's progress within their degree?

I am an active advisor.  My goal is for you to become the expert in your field by the time you graduate, able to identify a key problem, research the prior literature to find gaps, and articulate a plan for surmount those obstacles .  We will gradually chart your path toward this goal as we go.  Together, we try to learn about our project, determine your passion and strengths in research.  The coincidence of those two things typically results in the most impactful research.

What is the best way/technology for students to contact you? Are there time frames in which students should expect to hear from you?

Email and texting are the best ways to reach me.  While I may send email at various times during the day, I only expect responses during work day hours, except in unusual circumstances (e.g., just prior to a conference or when a grant is coming due). 

How often do you plan to meet with students one-on-one (be as specific as possible, it's okay to describe multiple styles that may vary with student needs)? Is an agenda required? How long are meetings?

We meet weekly for one hour. For each student, we mutually agree on a best way to present the results and discussion points.  Usually a powerpoint slide deck with results to discuss works best (and is easiest to prepare - since this is informal, ease is important). For theoretical results, derivations on a tablet work well.  For writing a paper, we'll either use Overleaf for Latex (to collaborate) or some other shared file (like Word) to co-write.  

Do you have regular group meetings? What does student participation look like in a group meeting?

~Monthly.  Members present their current work or practice upcoming presentations for conferences.  We discuss these as a group so that we know what our colleagues are doing.

Research and Teaching Expectations

Describe your students' primary area(s) of responsibility and expectations (e.g., reading peer-reviewed literature, in-lab working hours, etc.).

Student primary areas of responsibility will vary depending on the project (e.g.,  if it is experimental vs theoretical). As I mentioned previously,  we will work together to build your skills, and that will be an individual process.  Safety is an important concern; again this will depend on which lab your working in (considerations are very different if you are working in the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility or our Vibrations lab in GG Brown).

How do you decide authorship and/or authorship order?

Typically, a student is the first author because they will have done the research, written the first draft of the paper, and worked with me on both of these aspects.   When multiple students and post-docs work on a paper together, we sit down together early on in the process to determine the authorship order as a group, so that the process is transparent.  If levels of effort and contribution to the paper change of the process, we can always revisit the author order.  Authorship itself is derived from a concrete contribution to the paper being written.

Do you ask students in your group to serve as a GSI over the course of their program?

Sometimes, this depends on the student's interest and funding.  

Do you have general expectations for graduation?

Students should attend conferences regularly and submit peer reviewed publications (typically 3 papers).  

Are you supportive of your students going on internships? If so, is there a time of year that is best? How many internships can they do?

My students have gone on internships in the past many times.  The decision is a discussion between the two of us to make sure the timing works well.   Students seldom do more than one internship.  I find this can be very helpful to students who have limited experience in industry (but, as I say, the timing has to be good!).

Opportunities for Feedback

How do you provide students with feedback regarding overall progress, research activities, etc.?

Every week we discuss progress.  Every year, we review your goals (near term and long term (like you future career)).  The goal review is important because it dictates what sort of educational, conference, patent, and classroom experience might be appropriate for you.  We also review important milestones for our grants on a regular basisi. 

How far in advance of a deadline should a student expect to provide written work for feedback, such as publication drafts?

Our deadlines are typically conference abstract submissions.  We taget a week prior to the deadline for first drafts.  When students are giving talks at conferences, we will do a dry run of the talk (after we review the slides).  Hence, that first versions of the slides should be done 1.5 weeks prior to our trip.

How do you solicit feedback from your students?

This is hard because there is an imbalance of power between the two of us.  I try to be cognizant and sensitive to that fact.  I request feedback from you directly (at our weekly meetings or during our annual review); I can then modify my style to suit you better.  My plan is to work with my students.

Conference Attendance

Which meetings do your students generally attend? What funding is available to attend these meetings?

Acoustical Society of America, Association for Research in Otolaryngology, Mechanics of Hearing, ASME meetings and Piezoelectric MEMS conferences and Workshops.  Funding comes from our grants and Rackham Graduate School.

Time Away from Campus

Discuss expectations regarding vacations and time away from campus and how best to plan for them. What is the time-frame for notification regarding anticipated absences?

Vacation time and timing is again student dependent. Longer vacation times require earlier (at least 3 months) heads up.  Shorter times are fairly informal, but prior discussion is always needed.   Time away from campus (different from vacation) is also possible - we can discuss if appropriate.

Are there specific standard times that students in your group generally take vacation?

Typically in the summer and during the Winter break.  

What do you do to facilitate students taking time off (e.g., do you proactively encourage people to take vacation after major deadlines)?

Vacation time seldom revolve around work milestones, but rather personal preference (attending a wedding, visiting with family, or going to see sights).  If a student is going on vacation, I encourage them to "be on vacation", taking a break from work - to refresh and invigorate themselves.   

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