Skip to content

Robert Gregg

Back to Faculty Profile

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 highly invested in the success of my students. I have regular meetings with my students, spend significant time reviewing research results and manuscripts, and nominate or advise my students on awards and fellowships. I am highly involved in their research but trust my students to exercise independence to try new ideas and solve problems on their own. I usually set the first aim or two of my student's dissertation (in consultation with them), but my students should have developed the independence and vision needed to set the third and final aim of their dissertation by the time of their dissertation proposal exam. I also expect my senior students and postdocs to provide supplementary mentorship to new students; it really is a team effort.

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

Slack and email are my preferred means of communication with my team.

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?

I meet for an hour once every other week with each PhD student, and I am available daily on Slack.

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

We have weekly meetings for my prosthetics and exoskeletons groups, and once a month we have an all-hands meeting.

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.).

Mastering the literature of their sub-discipline, setting their own schedule for 40 hrs/week in the lab, constructing a theoretical foundation for their research approach, working with hardware and software, analyzing data, and writing manuscripts

How do you decide authorship and/or authorship order?

I make sure that every PhD student has ownership over at least one project at a time, which will become a first authored paper. Co-authorship and authorship order is iteratively discussed throughout the research process, as roles can change over time.

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

I alternate GSI responsibilities so everyone gets one GSI experience (unless they have external fellowship funding). In rare cases I have asked a student to GSI twice, never more than that.

Do you have general expectations for graduation?

Three journal papers (two accepted and one submitted or close to it)

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?

I am generally supportive of one summer internship sometime after the first 2 academic years. I recommend against an internship the first summer because that time is needed to conduct research in preparation for the qualifying exam (after going through a heavy course load during the first academic year).

Opportunities for Feedback

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

I provide feedback in regular individual meetings and annually through the official reporting process.

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

2 weeks for their first paper, 1 week after that

How do you solicit feedback from your students?

I ask for feedback during the annual progress report, and students are always welcome to give feedback during regular meetings.

Conference Attendance

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

Grants and Rackham funding generally support travel to ICRA, IROS, BioRob, ICORR, or ACC

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 generally approve 4 weeks of vacation including campus breaks, but students are welcome to work during campus breaks in order to take that time off later. I don't need to know about an occasional day off / 3 day weekend.

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

Official campus breaks, maybe a week during summer 

Back to Faculty Profile