Skip to content

Tulga Ersal

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?

My advising style is tailored to individual students and their unique needs and goals. I recognize that each student is unique, with different strengths, interests, and career aspirations. My advising approach involves appreciating and respecting these individual differences and tailoring guidance accordingly. I schedule regular meetings with students to discuss their progress, challenges, and any concerns they may have. My advising approach and interaction frequency may evolve over the course of a student's progress within their degree according to their changing needs.

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

The best way to contact me is through email. I strive to respond to student emails within 24 hours during weekdays. My response time varies depending on the nature of the inquiry and my schedule.

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?

Nominally, I have one-on-one meetings with students every week for half an hour. I schedule additional one-on-one meetings as needed. I encourage the students to have an agenda to best utilize the meeting time. The agenda typically contains the action items set in the prior meeting, plus any new discussion items that have come up since then.

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

I have weekly group meetings. The meetings are 1.5h long, with the first 30 mins typically dedicated to discussions that concern the whole group. The remaining hour is dedicated to student updates. It is broken into two 30-min blocks, and students can sign up to take one or both of these blocks to discuss any topic of their choice with the group. Everybody is encouraged to contribute to the discussions, and I manage the discussion to ensure everyone's voice can be heard.

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.).

I expect my students to gradually take ownership of every aspect of their project (from planning to execution, tracking, and reporting) and their growth as conscientious, independent, and responsible researchers. They are free to choose their own working style and hours.

How do you decide authorship and/or authorship order?

I involve all contributors in the determination of authorship and order, and the decision is made considering each contributor's nature of contribution.

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

If they are interested in an academic career, I encourage my students to gain GSI experience over the course of their program.

Do you have general expectations for graduation?

The quality and quantity of the work performed must be commensurate with the requirements for a PhD degree.

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 supportive of my students going on internships, as they can provide valuable real-world experience and enhance their skills. The decision to undertake an internship depends on various factors, including the student's career goals, their academic progress, and the nature of the internship opportunity. It is crucial to ensure that the student's academic progress is not compromised, and that the internships complement their academic studies rather than hinder them.

Opportunities for Feedback

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

I use the one-on-one meetings to provide students with feedback regarding overall progress, research activities, etc.

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

The deadline for providing written work for feedback varies depending on multiple factors including the nature of the document and the student's quality of writing and presentation.

How do you solicit feedback from your students?

I use the one-on-one and group meetings to solicit feedback from my students. I strive to create a culture and environment in which they can feel comfortable to do so.

Conference Attendance

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

My students typically attend the flagship conferences and workshops in the area of system dynamics of control, such as the American Control Conference and the Modeling, Estimation and Control Conference. Funding is available through the Rackham Travel Grant, the conferences' student support programs, and research projects.

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?

My students are allowed to take as much time off as they need, provided that their academic progress is satisfactory and the deadlines are met.

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


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

I encourage my students to take time off whenever I observe a need for it.

Back to Faculty Profile