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Margaret Wooldridge

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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 flexible and like to adjust to the student's preferences. Some students prefer weekly meetings (in addition to weekly group meetings). Some prefer to meet when they have questions or milestones to discuss, which can be more frequently than weekly, or more on the order of monthly one-on-one meetings.

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 is the best way to reach me and/or text. For urgent issues, within hours. For less urgent issues with a few days.

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?

Depends on where the student is on the academic timeline.  An agenda is not required. Most meetings are 30 to 45 mins.

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

Yes. We meet weekly. We all share timely updates of interest to our group, like relevant seminars and visitor. We also help with dress rehearsals/practicing presentations for conferences, dissertation milestones, etc.

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.).

Students should lead literature reviews for their research topics. As a team, the students and I will thoughtfully plan their experiments. They will execute their experiments and together we will work to interpret their results.

How do you decide authorship and/or authorship order?

The lead author is the lead contributor to the work. Anyone who contributed intellectual content to the work will be considered as co-author, and will be listed after the lead author. As the research leader, my name would typically be last.

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

Sometimes. Depends on the circumstances. If a student wants that experience, that can absolutely be made to happen.

Do you have general expectations for graduation?

Generally, if the student is making good progress, they will graduate in four to five years after starting the program.

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?

Absolutely! That is a great path, if that is something a student wants to experience.

Opportunities for Feedback

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

Routine informal interactions. We do not have formal annual reviews.

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

Generally, at least two weeks before a deadline.

How do you solicit feedback from your students?

Routine informal interactions

Conference Attendance

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

Many different ones!  It depends on the dissertation topic. Rackham provides excellent travel support, which I supplement.

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?

I prefer as early notification as possible (e.g., months).

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

Not really. That is a personal choice.

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

I ask when people want to take vacation and encourage self care.

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