Expectations #

Everyone #

Before we start, this document is designed to lay out my expectations of lab members. Nothing here is beyond change! I’m always working to make us better, and if you find something that seems wrong to you, let me know – we can discuss either individually or as a group.

Three expectations are demanded of absolutely everyone. First, every lab member will adhere to the code of conduct. Second, every lab member commits to being present, on campus, for at least three days per week – otherwise, we’re not a lab, just a bunch of philosophers vaguely funded by the same people. And lastly, everyone needs to be present at our various required events.

The PI #

Hey! To the extent that most of this is written in the first person, it’s written by me, Charles. I’m the PI, a philosopher and historian of biology, interested in evolutionary theory, digital humanities, and the ethics of technology. (But… you probably already know that if you’re reading this.)

My primary goal – in addition to doing my own research when and where I can, of course – is to facilitate the production of a bunch of great work by a bunch of great people. To that end, here’s what you can expect from me:

  • Prompt responses to commentary on drafts, project outlines, grant proposals. etc. I take this to be one of my most important job duties. We only all do great work if we’re all working together – “rowing in the same direction,” if you will.
  • Any and all mentorship, help, and guidance that I can give. Like probably every professional academic, I’ve both benefited from exceptional mentorship at points in my career, and been burned by its absence. I want to make sure every lab member winds up on the right side of that.
  • Related to the above, I will be available for spontaneous conversations. I am in my office quite a bit, and am almost always happy to have a random chat about a project or a problem that you’re having. (Don’t be afraid to knock; I’ll tell you if I can’t talk!)
  • It’s my goal to set up every person who comes through the lab with their own projects that I’m happy to see them take along into the future. This is not a competitive environment. I want to be able to keep following all the awesome work that you will all go on to do after you leave!
  • Lastly, I am deeply committed to being supportive on your projects in the manner that you see fit. You can read more about this on the authorship page, but I both love coauthoring, and very much want you to leave with single-authored papers that future employers will look favorably on. Let me know how I can help you!

Postdoctoral Fellows #

Postdocs are the most independent members of the whole lab. While you will usually be here on some project or other – whether of your own design or mine – that’s usually, to be quite frank, secondary to your constructing a really high quality set of research and papers that will enable you to land an awesome job after you leave. To that end, your primary goal should be to do as much good work as possible.

The only variable for postdocs is the amount and extent of teaching that you would like to do while you’re here. For that, see the teaching page.

The expectations of postdoctoral fellows, then, are:

  • Dedicated work on your research project. Remember that you’re being funded by taxpayer money on the back of a lot of work that’s been put in by me and all of the other members of the lab, and we’ve gotten funding in order to secure some extremely awesome philosophical results. No pressure.
  • A willingness to share your knowledge and collaborate. As a postdoc, you’re not just here to learn things – you’re here because you’ve already done excellent work, and the rest of us want to learn from you!
  • Cooperation with demands of CEFISES and the ISP. You’re far enough along in your career that you’ll be expected to do a bit of service. Nothing too burdensome – if it ever is, tell me! – but enough to demonstrate some good will.

Doctoral Students #

Your job is to write your dissertation and leave, in a reasonable time frame (something resembling four years, normally), and in the process to become a professional scholar. This is simultaneously the easiest sentence in the world to write and one of the most complicated things in the world to execute.

  • Keep moving on your dissertation. Don’t forget that your dissertation is the one thing standing between you and being done. It’s cliché at this point, but the best dissertation is a finished dissertation.
  • You are in the process of becoming a professional scholar. To that end, you have to stop thinking like a student and start thinking like a pro. Start following journal contents alerts, thinking about preparing new projects and talks, and heading out to conferences to do networking. And let the other members of the lab help you with all of that! An excellent, and unfortunately common, way to fail at getting a PhD is just to think of it as “slightly harder normal coursework with a big final paper.”
  • You, also, will have a small amount of service work. Think of it as practice for your future career. But if it ever becomes too much, don’t hesitate to ask for help – or a change of assignment.

Master’s Students #

Your primary goal is to write your mémoire, and not to fall through the cracks. Too many of our master’s students take too long to get their degree, or even fail to finish entirely.

  • Plan meetings and writing, and stick to the plan! Your best way to get finished is to set obligations and stick to them.
  • Ask for help when you need it. The lab is filled with people who can help you, if you introduce yourself and take the time to ask for help. Every single one of our doctoral students and postdocs would be glad to offer a helping hand, if they know something about your topic!