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Xun (Ryan) Huan

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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?

As a new student starts, I am usually more hands-on. With time, I will become more hands-off, as the student becomes more independent.

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 the best way to reach me. My schedule is sometimes random (e.g., some days are just really tiring, I might need to take a nice, satisfying nap once I get home, and then wake up to continue work at 2 am), so occassionally students might see my slack or email at random hours. In those cases, I definitely do NOT expect the students to respond at 2 am, rather I view the message or email I send to be queued for the student to see on the next work day.

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?

Once a week one-on-one half-hour, or biweekly one-hour. Additional meetings can be scheduled as needed to continue unfinished discussions, or to meet a deadline, etc. I would like the student to have a rough agenda of items to discuss at the meeting, to help structure it and so we don't forget anything we want to talk about.

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

We have weekly group meetings. We get food for the meeting. We would have students sign up to lead a discussion for each meeting, or go around the table to do brief research updates from everyone. Sometimes we have guest speakers.

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 be continuously looking at and learning from existing literature (and share with everyone interesting papers/topics), identifying research gaps and problems, brainstorming new ideas, testing them out, analyzing the results and drawing conclusions. In-lab working hour is flexible, I do not check who is in the lab at different times. They key expectation is that we are making good research progress, and we are still meeting regularly to communicate these ideas and results.

How do you decide authorship and/or authorship order?

As we often have interdisciplinary collaborations, we will take into consideration the authorship norm of the specific fields where we plan to submit. However, the student/person leading or doing the majority of the work is typically the first author. Sometimes first-co-authors make sense, if there are two co-leaders of the paper. Ordering of other co-authors will be discussed among the team. 

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

There is no requirement for GSI. If the student is considering a potential academic career, I highly encourage them to experience a GSI position at least once. 

Do you have general expectations for graduation?

My expectations for graduation are primarily centered around when high quality, scientifically meaningful research work has been completed. This usually automatically mirrors to several journal publications, and a PhD dissertation.

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. My philosophy is to support the student to succeed in their career, no matter what kind of career they choose. Interships can be very valuable to help figure that out, and to find potential future jobs. That being said, I would advise students to consider internships strategically, and focus on the ones that bring value to their career development. Summer internships are the most common. I would also suggest to consider internships later stages of the PhD. 

Opportunities for Feedback

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

Feedback is provided through one-on-one meetings. At the beginning of each semester, we will also dedicate sometime to reflect and plan on the goals of the upcoming semesters. 

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

As early as possible, then continuously bug me to look at it, and schedule some work-meetings with me would be super helpful.

How do you solicit feedback from your students?

I anticipate students to provide feedback to me and our group as well. This can be done in one-on-one meeting discussions, and through group discussions in group meetings.

Conference Attendance

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

SIAM UQ, SIAM CSE, USNCCM. Rackham travel grant, conference travel grant, research funds. 

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 encourage students to take time off, we all need it, and it helps us to stay energized. Let me know any plans early, so we can make sure they don't clash with any deadlines. 

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

Christmas holiday time, some time in the summer 

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 students to take time off, we all need it, and it helps us to stay energized. Let me know any plans early, so we can make sure they don't clash with any deadlines. 

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