My goals as a supervisor also shape the expectations that I have of students working out of my lab. For example, I want students to produce theses that contribute to the field. Among other things, a contributing project requires:

  • An appropriate sample (which students may have to travel to access),
  • Communication to appropriate audiences (meaning that students are expected to present and publish findings from their thesis), and
  • Prior research experience (implying that students are expected to contribute to other research projects coming out of the lab).

Of course, I help students in all of these endeavours. Their efforts are sometimes rewarded through funding (if available), authorship (usually 1st or 2nd author if in regards to their thesis), and the knowledge that they have helped to progress understanding in physical activity psychology.

I also want students to finish within the two years allotted for the program. To make this goal feasible, I expect students to treat their graduate work as if it is their full-time job. That means putting in 40-50 hours of work each week (just like any other job).

This expectation extends to the summer months as well. Taking full advantage of the summer months to progress on your thesis is basically essential to finishing within two years. I prefer students to stay in Thunder Bay over the summer, but would be willing to consider other alternatives—as long as the student is prepared to continue working on her/his thesis regardless of their location. Even if you have to take an outside job over the summer, you're still expected to be working on your thesis. Again, this is for the students' sake: it really helps them finish on time (which stops them from having to pay for extra terms of tuition).

I also want students to find their grad school experience enjoyable and meaningful. As a result, I steer my students towards courses that they’ll find interesting, help them develop theses that they’re passionate about, and encourage them to take well-earned breaks from school. While students have to put in their hours, I recognize that a flexible schedule is perhaps the best benefit of grad school life. My perspective is that you can do the work wherever and whenever you want, as long as it gets done (and done well) when it needs to be done.