The best way to initiate an effective relationship with your graduate student is through early meetings in which you discuss and clearly define your roles and expectations. Here is a list of “ground rules” that should be clarified in initial meetings between a graduate student and his/her supervisor:
- How frequently you will meet and for what purposes (progress updates, literature reviews, etc.).
- Who will initiate the meetings and prepare meeting summaries.
- The student’s role with regard to the data collection and analysis.
- The supervisor’s role with regard to the student’s data collection and analysis.
- Who will train the student to do technical work, and what is the role of the program technician.
- Standard hours for office space, weekend work or labs.
- A timeline for the research program, which may include experiments, data analysis, manuscript writing, and thesis writing.
- Safety considerations which may need to be completed before working, such as training programs, standard office or laboratory etiquette, or laboratory attire.
- The use of university computers and accounts for research, net surfing, games, personal work, etc.
- Applicable funding sources and the duration of such funding.
- Presentations at conferences and meetings: how many, how often and who pays.
In addition, University Policy 85 requires that research conditions for all involved in a research team be outlined in a letter from the principal investigator before team members become engaged.
Letters are to cover issues such as compensation, supervision, authorship practices, records of data, ownership and/or use of data, publication rights, and commercialization. The templates provided here should be adapted with information specific to the program.
Our Forms Centre provides a sample Graduate Student - Supervisor Agreement for your information.