Tag Archives: graduate education

Expectations (of graduate students and supervisors)


A very thoughtful post from Prof Chirs Buddle on the importance of setting expectations for graduate students and supervisors.

Interested in discussing the topic further? Register for the TLS workshop on “Clarifying Expectations in Graduate Supervision” on Feb 25th, 2pm-4pm.

Arthropod Ecology

I have been running a research laboratory for close to 15 years, and I’m ashamed to say that I have not written down, formally, my expectations* of graduate students and their expectations of me. I regret this, especially since there are amazing resources out there to help with this discussion. I would argue that differing levels of expectation is probably a key source of conflict in research laboratories, and having a solid agreement between graduate students and supervisors is key for success.

Here is some context for my laboratory: I run a mid-sized laboratory (currently with three MSc and three PhD students and two undergraduate Honour’s students), focused on studying arthropod ecology. As a Professor, my job involves teaching, research and administration. When running my research laboratory, the three tasks overlap – for example, I’m a lab ‘administrator’ in some ways, including ordering supplies, dealing with budgets, working on…

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TIPS Journal for innovative, discipline-specific teaching strategies


The Teaching Innovation Projects (TIPS) Journal is an open-access publication from the Teaching Support Centre of Western University that focuses on publishing innovative teaching strategies that can be used in higher education. Many articles are posted by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows pursuing their Advanced Teaching Program. Some very interesting articles from their publication include the following: Continue reading TIPS Journal for innovative, discipline-specific teaching strategies

Is Supervision about Teaching or Research?


In fact, it’s both!

Studies in supervision practice have found a connection between a mentor-model of supervision and better research outcomes.  On the surface, the investment in time and energy into new supervisees may seem like a one-directional cost for many supervisors.  However, some supervision research has shown that the original investment into teaching students about good research techniques pays off in the end. Continue reading Is Supervision about Teaching or Research?

Graduate Student Development: A Student Perspective


I am a second year graduate student in the beginning stages of my Master’s thesis. Although the new academic year has barely begun, I already feel like I am behind – and that I am overburdening my supervisor with questions and material to review. Applying for funding, finding and organizing research, teaching undergrad courses, applying for ethics approval, not to mention writing my thesis, are all causing me to resort back to my old coping mechanism: nail biting. Being a graduate student, I can only begin to imagine the amount of work on my supervisor’s plate before receiving my lengthy email asking to meet for advice on this or that (in some cases, this AND that). One way for supervisors to assist graduate students without burdening themselves is becoming well acquainted with the offerings of McGill’s SKILLSETS program. Continue reading Graduate Student Development: A Student Perspective

Balancing the Roles of Supervisor, Mentor, and Friend


Mentor. The word itself was originally a name—the name of an advisor in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey who was impersonated by the goddess Athena. The term’s mythical connotations are all but gone now, but it still describes an advisor and teacher.

But we have another term for that in graduate education at many universities: supervisor. The difference is that supervisors usually focus on helping students along the path toward graduation. Mentors make time to guide some of their students in other aspects of their lives. Continue reading Balancing the Roles of Supervisor, Mentor, and Friend

3 Minutes to change the world – top graduate student research in 3 minutes or less


On March 31st, McGill hosted the third annual “3 minutes to change the world” competition, where graduate students give three minute presentations on their own research and impact on the community.

3 Minutes to Change the World

This year, we are pleased to have partnered with the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) and Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) to participate in the first national Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. A 3 Minutes to Change the World presenter, in both English and French, have been selected to represent McGill at the CAGS 3MT eastern regional finals and ACFAS concours Ma thèse en 180 secondes

This yearly event is an excellent opportunity for students to share their valuable research, to perfect their elevator pitch and presentation skills, and to network with their peers across disciplines – It takes all kinds of knowledge to change the world and thesis research from all disciplines is showcased.

These TED-style talks are incredibly well done and point to the high-quality work of McGill graduate students. These students overcome the difficult challenge of taking very sophisticated research and communicating it effectively in three minutes.

Have a look at the Youtube playlist below to see all the student presentations.