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Responsibility of Faculty Mentors

To insure understanding of the faculty mentor's role, the following suggestions have been made:

  • The faculty mentor should make every effort to orient the student to a feasible question that can be addressed within the available time. This usually requires multiple meetings with the student culminating in protocol and an application for funding which contains the following elements:
    • background of the problem being investigated
    • hypothesis that will be examined (if appropriate)
    • specific aims of the study
    • methods that will be used including details of the specific design of the study
    • selected references from the sponsor’s work
    • selected references from others
  • The faculty mentor must review, approve and sign the application for funding. The application is also reviewed and must be approved for feasibility, specific aims, and study design by the Department Thesis Chair.
  • We recommend that the actual time devoted to data collection (clinical, laboratory or other) be accomplished in a twelve-to-sixteen-week period, minimally. Additional time is needed for planning and literature review, for evaluation of data and final write-up. Currently 70% of Yale students elect to spend a fifth year of medical school devoted fully or partially to thesis research. (See separate “One Year Medical Student Research Fellowship Information” available in a pdf copy online.)
  • The student should not be assigned as a research technician to accomplish someone's project in the lab, including fellows.
  • The faculty mentor should invest sufficient time in the student, including weekly meetings to discuss results and where necessary, help to focus (or refocus) the direction of the project.
  • The student should develop with the faculty mentor his or her own project (although others may participate) and should eventually be encouraged by the faculty mentor to be first author on abstracts and publications.
  • The faculty mentor is responsible for all research expenses (i.e. space, resources, and facilities) and the supervision of the student’s work.
  • The faculty mentor is the first reviewer and gives the initial approval of the thesis as submitted for graduation. (For more information see "Thesis Approval Process")
  • The faculty mentor should plan to attend Student Research Day activities held in May of each year.