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Values and Expectations for Graduate Students in Physics

Values and Expectations for Graduate Students in Physics


As valued members of the Ohio State Physics Department, graduate students should act responsibly and be treated with respect. This document expresses values and expectations that should inform graduate student professional conduct and interactions with mentors and other members of the department. We encourage students and mentors to discuss these items, which have implications for both; we believe that honest conversations on these matters will lead to a better working climate for everyone.  This is not a legal document and does not supersede the Ohio State University Code of Student Conduct and other rules, or rules in the Physics Department governance documents.

Graduate students in the OSU physics department should:

  1. Professional conduct
    1. Be treated as, and take responsibility for, conducting themselves as academic and professional colleagues in all professional interactions.
    2. Expect and contribute to a safe learning and work environment—free from intimidation, harassment/belittling, and discrimination—that is welcoming to everyone.
    3. Take seriously their role as a professional scientist and teacher and perform duties in a conscientious and timely manner. This includes taking personal responsibility for time management as well as setting and meeting deadlines.
    4. Expect to have coursework and research time commitments that do not chronically impinge on their physical and mental health and have reasonable accommodations for familial commitments and responsibilities.
    5. Expect to have reasonable accommodations for health conditions, including pregnancy, and to not be discriminated against for those conditions.
  2. Department interactions
    1. Expect to be informed of, and know how to navigate, the organizational structure of the department and departmental policies such as for travel and eRequests.
    2. Expect to share in the governance of the department, in accordance with the Pattern of Administration and relevant university rules.
    3. Contribute to a safe workplace conforming to regulatory standards and be properly trained with respect to any hazards present in their lab.
    4. Be encouraged to engage in the service and outreach work of the department, including in the mentorship of more junior scientists.
    5. Expect to have access to a formal, transparent, and unbiased grievance and arbitration process, with coverage of evaluative instruments like course exams and candidacy.
    6. Be respectful of department, university, and custodial staff and the vital role they play in departmental activities, especially with regards to the Graduate Studies Office. 
  3. Interactions with thesis advisor/committee
    1. Proactively participate in a supportive and respectful faculty-student relationship and feedback process, including appropriate mentorship for professional development.
    2. Not be exploited for their status as junior colleagues and should not exploit those junior to them.
    3. Dedicate the appropriate amount of time, effort, and energy to ensure the success of their PhD.
    4. Have specific and clearly communicated requirements for achieving their PhD and the conditions for which they may be dismissed from the program or a research group.
    5. Receive regular, objective feedback from their advisor concerning progress to a PhD.
    6. Expect supervisory faculty to adhere to professional standards of management regarding the discussion of sensitive or confidential information.
    7. Receive appropriate credit (e.g. paper authorship) and recognition for their intellectual and research contributions.
    8. Be able to decline tasks that are outside of academic or professional work.
    9. Be informed in a transparent and timely manner of financial resources that are available to support their progress towards a PhD.


We emphasize that this enumeration of values and expectations does not exclude others.