The Associate Dean of Graduate Policy issued guidelines for good practices in the graduate student--faculty adviser relationship following review by the Stanford University Committee on Graduate Studies. The guidelines given here are adapted, with permission, from a document issued by the Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Oregon.
High-quality graduate education depends upon the professional and ethical conduct of the participants. Although the University is composed of many distinct disciplinary "cultures," its faculty and students together form a community of scholars. As such, they have complementary responsibilities for upholding academic standards and sustaining a creative and collegial environment.
Focused on the professional academic relationship between faculty advisers and graduate students, the following guidelines are based on the collective experience and wisdom of a number of major research universities. Their purpose is to encourage a heightened awareness of -- and conscious commitment to -- practices that the great majority of faculty and students here and elsewhere routinely follow as a matter of common sense, courtesy, and basic honesty. Although a few of these guidelines have more direct relevance to some fields than to others, most are applicable across the entire disciplinary spectrum.
Faculty advisers should:
- be knowledgeable concerning the academic and non-academic policies that pertain to graduate students.
- help students understand the requirements and timetable that each must meet, including course work, languages, research tools, specific research responsibilities, examinations, and thesis or dissertation.
- help more advanced students design research programs that take advantage of their individual interests and strengths and that can be completed in a timely manner.
- provide students with evaluation of their progress and performance in regular (at least twice quarterly) and informative ways. It is especially important for faculty to provide students with timely and candid advice when their performance is deficient or their lack of progress might prevent them from attaining the desired degree.
- help students develop artistic, interpretive, writing, oral, quantitative, or other relevant professional skills required by the discipline.
- encourage, by example and precept, a dedication to high-quality teaching.
- discuss laboratory, studio, or departmental authorship policy with graduate students in advance of entering into collaborative projects.
- draw student's attention to University policies on Intellectual Property, Environmental Health and Safety, Scientific Misconduct, the Honor Code, and require that they be followed.
- encourage faculty-graduate student collaborations which entail the sharing of authorship or rights to intellectual property developed in research or other creative or artistic activity.
- promote free inquiry and the free exchange of information, subject to the University's policies regarding secrecy and confidentiality of research.
- acknowledge student contributions to research presented at conferences, in professional publications, or in applications for copyrights and patents.
- encourage graduate students to participate in professional meetings, perform or display their work in public settings, and publish the results of their research.
- prepare students to be competitive for employment, providing a realistic view of the field and the current job market, making use of professional contacts for the benefit of their students.
- excuse themselves from participating in committee decisions regarding any student with whom they have a relationship that could result in a conflict of interest.
- never impede a graduate student's progress toward the degree or toward employment in order to benefit from the student's proficiency as a teaching or research assistant.
- interact with students, staff, and faculty colleagues in a professional and civil manner, and in accordance with University policies.
For their part, graduate students should:
- take primary responsibility for informing themselves of the regulations and policies governing their financial aid, degree and course requirements, and research activities (e.g., as made available through departmental notes or guidelines for graduate students, the Graduate Student Handbook, the Research Policy Handbook, and the Stanford Bulletin).
- seek clarification from the faculty adviser when they are uncertain about the precise meaning or application of a regulation or policy statement.
- be aware of time constraints and other demands imposed on faculty members and program staff.
- communicate regularly (at least twice quarterly) with faculty advisers, especially regarding matters related to research and progress with the degree program.
- recognize that the faculty adviser provides the intellectual and instructional environment in which the student conducts research, and, through access to teaching and research funds, may also provide the student with financial support.
- exercise the highest integrity in taking examinations and in collecting, analyzing, and presenting research data. The University's policy on scientific misconduct is published in the Research Policy Handbook and included in extract form in the Graduate Student Handbook. This policy applies to researchers in all disciplines and to students as well as faculty and staff.
- take special care to preserve the data collected during experiments or noted during research (with precise identification of sources) in order to avoid future confusion or disputes about access or ownership.
- acknowledge the contributions of the faculty adviser and other members of the research team to the student's work in all publications and conference presentations. It is also appropriate to acknowledge the sources of financial support. Students should familiarize themselves with the statement on Academic Authorship published in part in the Graduate Student Handbook and in full in the Research Policy Handbook.
- recognize that the faculty adviser is responsible for monitoring the accuracy, validity, and integrity of the student's research and for ensuring that the contributions of all participants in the research are properly acknowledged in any publications. For these reasons and because the quality of that research reflects on the student, the faculty adviser, and the University, students should always consult with their advisers before attempting to publish the results of work carried out under the adviser's direction or in the adviser's studio or laboratory.
- maintain the confidentiality of the faculty adviser's professional activities and research prior to presentation or publication, in accordance with existing practices and policies of the discipline.
- inform faculty of conflicts and work towards a clear resolution.
- interact with faculty, staff and other students in a mature, professional, and civil manner in accordance with University policies.