The following excerpts are from Dr. Christopher’s upcoming article in The Department Chair from Wiley Publications:
The advisor must first realize that many of these students are unable to meet the expectations because they have no idea what those expectations are. There are the basics that come easily to most GRAs: do well in classes, pass your exams, and show up on time. There are also the less obvious expectations; at least, they are less obvious to the student. For example, the advisor must communicate to the GRA the importance of time and project management and observing office hours. Students may not yet consider that the advisor relies on office hours to reach the student or that time management is vital to the success of project. The burden is on the advisor to communicate these expectations clearly to the GRA, and it is the duty of the chair to make sure the advisor has the necessary tools to convey this information.
A strong relationship between an advisor and a graduate research assistant is key to the success of the GRA. However, young faculty may become overwhelmed by the responsibility. The chair must support the young advisors and encourage them in this daunting task. Leading by example is the most effective assistance a chair can give the faculty.
The books is finally out. It was an exciting experience to speak, field questions and sign books at the 2011 Annual American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco.