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Graduate Student Mentoring Expectations in the Department of Psychology at Brigham Young University

The Psychology Graduate Programs at BYU aim to train competent psychologists in the areas of Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, and Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. Quality graduate education depends on ethical and effective mentoring relationships between graduate students and faculty members, framed within the context of the Aims and Mission of a BYU Education and the Mission of BYU Graduate Studies.

Graduate students are expected to take individual responsibility and ownership of their professional and scientific development and learning. This includes seeking guidance and information on all aspects of graduate training, such as program policies, procedures, and course requirements. Faculty who mentor students are expected to fulfill their obligation to train, guide, and instruct students in the scientific aspects of their respective psychology specialty. Faculty and graduate students will each have specific mentoring roles and expectations, which can be established using the following forms (LINKTOSTUDENT and LINKTOMENTOR).

Program Commitment

The Psychology Graduate Programs at BYU are responsible for establishing training experiences that prepare students to develop deep and broad scientific knowledge, technical skills, and professional attitudes and values for a successful career in psychology. To do so, they provide clear and accessible guidelines for degree milestones and completion. Upon enrollment, graduate handbooks are provided to students which outline expectations for curricula, completion of program milestones, as well as policies and procedures governing general conduct and program evaluation. Each handbook specifies the graduate program coordinator, or director of training, with whom students can communicate regarding program challenges or difficulties, and also outlines procedural processes for filing a formal grievance. The individual programs meet twice yearly to discuss student progress and provide student ratings as outlined by BYU Graduate Studies. Feedback is provided to students within one month after the evaluation meeting concludes.

Graduate Faculty Commitments

· Throughout the graduate student’s time in the program, graduate faculty will be supportive, equitable, accessible, encouraging, and respectful. They will foster the graduate student’s professional confidence and encourage intellectual development, critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity. They will also provide mentoring as the student moves forward into a career.

Graduate faculty will be committed to meeting one-on-one with the student on a regular basis. They will regularly review the student’s progress (ideally once a week, no less than once a month) and provide timely feedback and goal-setting advice. If a student is on clinical internship, monthly meetings will occur, particularly to review unfinished work on dissertation or writing/research projects.

Graduate faculty will respond to student communication promptly. The recommended time frame for email, phone or other direct messaging is within two days, and document drafts within two weeks.

Graduate faculty will be committed to the graduate student’s research project. They will work with the student to help plan and guide the research project, set reasonable and attainable goals, and establish a timeline for completion of the project.

Graduate faculty will provide an environment that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally supportive, and free of harassment.

Graduate faculty will demonstrate respect for all graduate students as individuals without regard to gender, race, national origin, religion, disability or sexual orientation, and will cultivate a similar culture of respect in their laboratory or clinic space.

Graduate faculty will be committed to providing financial resources, as appropriate and according to university, college and department guidelines, for the graduate student to conduct research. They will assist the graduate student in seeking and applying for institutional or field resources to fund research, travel, or other training opportunities. They will not require the graduate student to perform tasks that are unrelated to the training program and professional development, or not compensated appropriately (or credit given). Excessive workload or hour expectations of graduate students beyond the contracted number of hours are not appropriate nor are late night texts/emails asking for a quick turnaround time unless there are unusual circumstances.

Graduate faculty will regularly meet with the graduate student to review data management, storage, and record keeping.

Graduate faculty will follow and teach ethical research and clinical practices to the graduate student. They will reinforce important principles, such as maintaining confidentiality, avoiding plagiarism, and obtaining informed consent. They will also acknowledge the graduate student’s scientific contributions to the work in the laboratory, and will facilitate publishing the student’s work published in a timely manner.

Graduate faculty will promote the training of the graduate student in professional skills needed for a successful career. These skills include but are not limited to oral and written communication, management and leadership, collaborative research, responsible conduct of research, teaching, and mentoring. They will encourage the student to seek additional opportunities to develop skills necessary for professional success. They will also encourage the graduate student to seek input from multiple mentors.

Graduate faculty will provide clear and candid feedback during twice-yearly evaluations of student progress. This communication will facilitate progress in the program and if needed, the development of appropriate remediation plans. Faculty will also be candid in providing appropriate feedback to students to facilitate optimal development through the program.

Graduate faculty will encourage openness about challenges or difficulties that impact the graduate student experience. They will assist in finding resources for support or counseling as needed.

Graduate faculty will be knowledgeable of and guide the graduate student through the requirements and deadlines of the graduate program and the institution. They will help their advisees develop a timeline for completing program requirements and meeting academic goals. They will also assist with comprehensive exams as part of their involvement with a graduate program.

Graduate faculty will create an environment in which the student can discuss and explore career opportunities and paths that match their skills, values, and interests and be supportive of their career choices. They will be accessible to give advice and feedback on career goals and will work with the student on an individual career development plan to help define career goals and identify training milestones. They will also provide letters of recommendation for the student’s next phase of professional development.

Graduate Student Commitments

· I acknowledge that I have the primary responsibility for the successful completion of my degree. I will be committed to my graduate education and will demonstrate this by my efforts in coursework, research, practice, and all other related academic and professional activities. I will maintain a high level of professionalism, self-motivation, initiative, engagement, scientific curiosity, and ethical behavior, including complying with institutional and program standards for contributing to an inclusive environment.

· I will meet regularly with my research advisor to provide updates on my progress in course work, research, practice, and professional and career development activities. This includes meeting with faculty regularly and using other means of communication (e.g., email, phone). I will attend to and respond to this communication in a timely manner and not expect emergency communication, or other rushed responses to work products except under unusual circumstances.

· I will work with my research advisor to develop a thesis/dissertation project. This will include establishing a timeline for each phase of my work. I will strive to keep engaged with the work and meet established goals and deadlines. I will submit drafts and materials to my mentor and committee within an appropriate time frame to allow for sufficient evaluation and response.

· I will adhere to the University Honor Code and the American Psychological Association Ethics Code. This includes strict adherence to academic honesty and ethically-compliant behavior.

· I will be a good student citizen. I will be an active contributing member to all team efforts and collaborations and will respect individual contributions. I will also contribute to an environment that is safe, equitable, and free of harassment.

· I will maintain detailed, organized, and accurate research and/or clinical records. With respect to data and record ownership, I acknowledge that original notebooks, digital files, clinical files, psychometric tools, and tangible research materials belong to the institution and will remain when I finish my work so that other individuals can carry on related research or clinical work, in accordance with institutional policy. Only with the explicit approval from my research mentor and in accordance with institutional policy may I make copies of my notebooks and digital files and have access to tangible research/clinical materials that I helped to generate during my graduate training.

· I will discuss policies regarding work hours, medical leave, and vacation with my graduate program director and research advisor. I will consult with my advisor in advance of any planned absences and apprise my advisor of any unexpected absences due to illness or other issues.

· I will discuss policies on authorship and attendance at professional meetings with my research advisor. I will work with my advisor to disseminate all relevant research results in a timely manner.

· I will be knowledgeable of the policies and requirements of my graduate program, the Graduate School, and the University. I will read the graduate handbook and know and implement the requirements for degree completion, as well as know and meet program deadlines. I will commit to meeting these requirements in the appropriate time frame and will abide by all institutional policies and procedures.

· I will attend and actively participate in laboratory meetings, seminars, and journal clubs that are part of my educational program. To enhance research, leadership, and additional professional skills, I will seek out other enrichment opportunities, such as participation in professional organizations and meetings, student representation on institutional committees, and coordination of departmental events.

· I will be knowledgeable of all institutional research and/or clinical policies. I will comply with all institutional laboratory safety practices and research policies. If a clinical psychology student, I will also seek input on and comply with all policies and procedures at the Comprehensive Clinic.

· I will provide clear and candid feedback to my mentor during the twice-yearly evaluation. If I have concerns about approaching my mentor directly, I know I can contact the program ombudsperson as outlined in the graduate handbooks. I understand the Graduate Handbooks outline procedures for remediating mentoring problems if I am concerned about the manner in which any academic issue has been handled, or about interpersonal difficulties arising in my mentoring relationship.

· I acknowledge that I have the primary responsibility for the development of my own career. I recognize that I need to explore career opportunities consistent with my individual skills, values, and interests to achieve my desired career goals. I will seek guidance throughout my graduate education from my research advisor, career counseling services, thesis/dissertation committee, other mentors.

Portions of this document were taken or adapted from:

“Best Practices in Advising and Mentoring” from Brown University

“Best Practices and Core Expectations” from Duke University

“Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors,” AAMC

“Expectations for Graduate Education, Departments and Programs” from Virginia Tech University