Guidelines for Advisor-Student Discussions

EPS/ESE Establishing Expectations

The goal of advisor-student conversations is to make sure that students and their advisors share a mutual understanding of research and academic expectations. The GSAS Student Council (GSC) recommends that students and advisors visit the following outline, or a modification they feel is appropriate, in the G1 year, and, if judged useful, also at the start of following academic years.

Suggestions for general themes

The basics:

  1. The importance of self-motivation and independent initiative
  2. Measures of productivity – what are the benchmarks for progress
  3. Which and how many courses, and when to take them
  4. How frequently to attend seminars, reading groups, and other academic activities
  5. Expected working hours, weekend expectations (if any)
  6. Vacation policy
  7. Balancing formal teaching and informal outreach activities with research time
  8. Conference attendance – when and where?
  9. Funding and teaching

Establishing lines of communication:

  1. Group meetings – how frequently
  2. Individual meetings – how frequently, how available the advisor is
  3. E-mail – degree of mutual accessibility – will it include after hours and/or weekends?
  4. Strategies to distinguish levels of urgency/priority
  5. Emphasize importance of regular communication (in both directions)

If you have specific questions, please contact the Co-Directors of Graduate Studies for ESE, Eli Tziperman or Elsie Sunderland.