To aid each student in attaining the objectives outlined in this document, the faculty has created separate mechanisms for providing academic and research advising. Before entering the program, each student will have identified a faculty research mentor who is a primary or secondary faculty member in the Department of Neuroscience and who will provide financial support for the student. It is also possible for University of Pittsburgh neuroscience faculty not formally affiliated with a member of the Department of Neuroscience to mentor a student. In those circumstances, the proposed faculty mentor must obtain the commitment of the Department of Neuroscience faculty to serve as "mentor of record". A primary responsibility of the "mentor of record" is to participate in all committees evaluating the student's progress through the program. The primary mentor will remain responsible for the salary of the student and all expenses necessary to support their research.
It is expected that the primary research mentor will also serve as a general advisor to the student (see below). Further advice regarding research projects is the function of research committees, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the faculty at large. Each student must have a research advisor and an active research committee at all stages of their graduate training. The research committee will consist of the research mentor and at least two members of the graduate training faculty. Members of the research committee are selected by the student in consultation with their research mentor. Evaluation of progress through the program and advice on academic issues and other issues relating to graduate education will be handled formally by the Graduate Evaluations Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Director of the Master's Degree Program
The Director of Graduate Studies (currently Dr. Susan R. Sesack) is responsible for approving student registration forms, approving the composition of student evaluation committees (i.e., Reprint Exam Committee, Research Committee), and may also approve minor modifications in program academic requirements for students on an individual basis.
The Director of Graduate Studies is also responsible for assembling a Graduate Evaluations Committee for the annual evaluation of each student (See Yearly Evaluations–Section 7.2). This committee consists of two members of the training faculty in addition to the Director.
The Director of Graduate Studies will be assisted by the Department of Neuroscience Graduate Program Administrator (currently Natalee Bright). The Graduate Program Administrator will be responsible for maintaining student folders, notifying students of upcoming deadlines, scheduling exams and committee meetings, and monitoring the status of students.
At all times during their graduate training, students will be actively engaged in laboratory research. While a student is working within a faculty member's laboratory, that faculty member will serve as the student's research advisor. Research advisors are generally limited to Department of Neuroscience faculty members, including faculty with secondary appointments, with the exception noted in the introduction to this section.
Students and their research advisors should discuss the nature of their interactions so that each has a full understanding of what they should, and should not, expect from one another. Students should understand that different faculty members have different styles of training and mentoring. New students are encouraged to consult with senior students to obtain student perspectives on the mentoring styles of different faculty members.