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Exercise for Aligning Expectations

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Aligning expectations around project milestones, weekly goals, and work culture is the key to a productive research experience. To ensure that you and your mentee are on the same page, use this exercise to prompt a conversation around expectations.

  1. Write out your professional and nonwork related goals for the summer. 

    Summer is a critical time to move your research forward, but is often an important time to regain work-life balance. Consider mentioning a few non-work goals (perhaps daily meditation or yoga are on your list for the summer) to help your student get to know you. Equally important, if you create space to recharge over the summer, you are likely to be a better mentor!

  2. Write out what you hope your student will gain during their research experience.

    This list might include research skills related to a specific project (e.g. proper centrifuge operation, how to request archival materials, learning a new coding language) or broader disciplinary goals like learning to utilize background literature to develop a research question. If your student is just starting in research, a major goal might be understanding the scholarly process in your discipline.

  3. Ask your student for a list of their summer goals.
  4. Start a conversation around goals that aren't currently aligned.

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See Also

Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers
Preparing for Remote Mentorship