Earlier this week we had our first official lab meeting! This means that we are off to a great start. Among the first members of our group we have Lygia (that has recently finished her honour's project and has just enrolled in her MSc), Pietro (has just joined the group as a MSc student), and Renato (with whom I have been collaborating for at least a year on another project and is about to enrol as a PhD candidate).
Among the things that we discussed during this meeting, other than making formal introductions and explaining a bit of how things work at USP to Pietro (Pietro comes from overseas from the República dos Pampas, which some people still consider to be part of Brazil), we talked about something I believe it really important for all graduate students to be aware of. During my PhD at Otago University in New Zealand, I was introduced to the "Supervision Expectations" form. This document has been elaborated to give supervisors and students an opportunity to discuss each side's expectations about important points of this professional relationship. Things such as whose responsibility it is to come up with an appropriate timetable of research or whether or not the supervisor should insist on regular meetings with the student.
The idea is to make your thoughts about important points of the graduate training clear to the other side (your supervisor or student). When there is no agreement between what the student and the supervisor have scored, they should chat and come to a compromise. This exercise should be conducted on several moments during the graduate period of the student in order to work as a tool to measure how the collaboration is progressing.
I believe that this brings transparency to the whole process, which is always great. Next week I'm going to sit down with each one of the lab members to discuss what are our expectations.