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Mentoring and Supervising Staff and Students

Mentoring and Supervising Staff and Students

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Mentoring and Supervising Staff and Students

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  1. Mentoring and Supervising Staff and Students Ellis Meng, Ph.D. Associate Professor Departments of Biomedical & Electrical Engineering Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory ellis.meng@usc.edu

  2. Biomedical Microsystems LaboratoryDepartment of Biomedical Engineering • microdevicesolutions at the interface of biology and medicine • new and improved tools for therapeutics, monitoring, and discovery • translational technologies • many applications • expertise in • microfabrication • microfluidics • sensors • implantable devices • neural interfaces and prostheses

  3. My Research • hands on, multidisciplinary, and collaborative • requires many specialized skills that take time to develop • students never come in with the right background • few post-docs in the field

  4. My Mentoring History • as a graduate student/post-doc (all at Caltech): 4 UG researchers and > 200 UGs • at USC: 3 PhDs, 7 PhD candidates, 4 MS, 89 UGs, 7 HS students, 3 HS teachers • PhD students: 8 domestic& 2 international • MS students: all former USC undergraduates that worked in my lab • to new and aspiring faculty: figure out who you need on your team to be successful and choose your people wisely

  5. Recruitment • figure out how your department works • quality of students applying • make the effort to contact students • how are matches made? rotation system? • finances: fellowships, TA, RA, other • courtesy appointments in other departments • create a website and keep it updated

  6. Mentoring and Supervising your Team • many roles to play • lead by example and set a culture • build a relationship, trust, understanding • grooming future colleagues and mentors • learn to communicate (listening too) • set your expectations and put it down in writing • email, in person, phone, text msg, skype, IM, etc. • unintentional intimidation

  7. Mentoring and Supervising your Team • know your team - every member is different • learning curve is a moving target • level of intervention towards self-sufficiency • developing a management strategy • team dynamics and lab moral • rotation systems offer a trial period • attitudes and personalities • disputes

  8. Dealing with Crises • personal issues • a friendly ear • time off • counseling • attrition • many reasons: performance or personal • unpredictable and unavoidable • don’t forget about your own mentoring needs and work-life balance

  9. Research Integrity • lead by example and educate your lab • your own team and your collaborators • Responsible Conduct of Research training • http://research.usc.edu/policies/rcr/ • Largely applies to students • plagiarism is not universally understood (text and figures)

  10. Authorship and Credit • authorship is straightforward • conventions in your field or set by you • write it down, explain in lab mtgs, set your expectations from the start • publish with undergraduates too! • inventorship is not straightforward • it’s all about the claims • not all research contributors are inventors • any inventor can seek a license to university owned IP

  11. Additional Reading • K. Barker – At the Helm: A Laboratory Navigator • C.M. Cohen & S.L. Cohen – Lab Dynamics: Management Skills for Scientists