Each student in the program meets with the Neuroscience Advisory Committee who advise the student in developing a program of courses suited to her or his individual interests. This advisory committee is chaired by the Master Advisor, Robert Berman, for the Graduate Group. Other members include Marty Usrey, Elva Diaz, Arne Ekstrom, and Robert Mitch Sutter. This program is flexible and is often redesigned as the scientific interests of the student evolve. Once a laboratory is selected, the thesis advisor helps guide the student in selecting elective courses and journal clubs to supplement their thesis research.
Faculty have a responsibility to mentor graduate students. Mentoring has been defined as…
I. Guiding students through degree requirements. This means:
1. Providing a clear map of program requirements from the beginning,
making clear the nature of the coursework requirements and qualifying
examination, and defining a timeline for their completion.
2. Providing clear guidelines for starting and finishing dissertation or thesis
work, including encouraging the timely initiation of the dissertation or
II. Guiding students through thesis or dissertation research. This means:
1. Evaluating clearly the strengths and weaknesses of the student’s research.
2. Encouraging an open exchange of ideas, including pursuit of the student’s
3. Checking regularly on progress.
4. Critiquing written work.
5. Providing and discussing clear criteria for authorship of collaborative
6. Assisting in finding sources to support dissertation research; such as,
teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, etc.
7. Being aware of student’s research needs and providing assistance in
obtaining required resources. For example, serve as the student’s advocate
for necessary desk and/or laboratory space.
III. Guiding students through professional development. This means:
1. Providing guidance and serving as a role model for upholding the highest
2. Treating students respectfully.
3. Encouraging and critiquing oral and written presentations.
4. Encouraging participation in professional meetings of regional groups as
well as of learned societies.
5. Facilitating interactions with other scholars, on campus and in the wider
6. Assistance with applications for research funding, fellowship applications,
and other applications as appropriate for the respective discipline.
7. Being the student’s advocate in academic and professional communities.
8. Providing career guidance, specifically assistance in preparation of CV and
job interviews, and writing letters of recommendation in a timely manner.
9. Recognizing and giving value to the idea that there are a variety of career
options available to the student in her/his/your field of interest and
accepting that the student’s choice of career options is worthy of your
support. For example, guiding the student to teaching opportunities when
appropriate for the student’s goals.
As partners in the mentoring relationship, graduate students have responsibilities.
As mentees, students should:
I. Be aware of their own mentoring needs and how they change through
their graduate tenure. Graduate students should discuss these changing
needs with their mentors.
II. Recognize that one faculty member may not be able to satisfy all of a
student’s mentoring needs. Seek assistance from multiple individuals/
organizations to fulfill the mentoring roles described above.
III. Recognize that their mentoring needs must respect their mentor’s other
responsibilities and time commitments.
IV. Maintain and seek regular communication with their mentors, especially
their major professor.
Approved by UC Davis Graduate Council
June 24, 1999