I formed a class that tackled the “basics” of undergraduate research while at UC Davis and it was basically a lifesaver. Why? Because, by doing this I didn’t have to repeat myself 50 times when teaching a student a new skillset (meaning if two students needed it -- I didn’t have to independently teach them both) and the structure was there if I wanted students in my group to keep making progress but I had to travel. It is with this in mind, that I encourage you to form a course, a “reading group,” or a meeting time where you discuss research skills with all of the new researchers in your lab (heck, include the new graduate students too if they are willing).
Topics that you should ABSOLUTELY include (from my experience):
Of course, there are many other things you could do. Maybe a GIS toolkit you use all of the time, or a data analysis technique. Maybe you find it important for students to be able to give elevator talks or make posters. These are skills that you can teach once to a group and will give students in your group the ability to be more independent.
Linked here is a course schedule that I use to teach students working with me skills I think are important. I like to use the first five minutes of every meeting time to tackle issues with the hidden language of academia and other professional development. I use this as a guide, and UC Davis is on the quarter system. I do teach students basic skills for a full year, one hour a week. It just works best for my schedule and time commitments. Feel free to build off of it, if you think it would be useful. If you are a graduate student wanting to do this, feel free to reach out to me and I will help you figure out a way to create it in your dept. and get credit for your work.
Leave a Reply.
I am a Ph.D. Candidate who actively tries to create an equitable and enriching experience for undergraduate researchers, I post weekly about the things I teach and my experiences with undergraduates.