This document was adapted and expanded upon from that of my graduate advisor (your academic grandparent), Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd.
"Being overworked isn’t a virtue or work ethic to be admired." --Sneha Krishnan
- Introduction to JG
- Things I Strive to be as a Mentor & Advisor
- Things I Strive to do as a Mentor & Advisor
- What Are My Expectations for Students Who Are Working with Me?
- My Advice for Students
- Mandatory Reporting
Introduction to JG
I, Dr. Jennifer M. Gómez (JG), am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development (MPSI).
As faculty, my job responsibilities include:
- Research (from data collection and analysis to manuscript writing; giving talks in the U.S. and abroad; and engaging in public scholarship)
- Teaching undergraduate and graduate courses
- Advising and mentoring undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs at WSU and other universities
- Service (institute, departmental, and university committees, including the Psychology Diversity Committee and students’ master’s and dissertation committees; field service, including serving on journal Editorial Boards)
- Running my research laboratory
- Developing professional relationships with community agencies here in Detroit
- As new faculty, getting my office and lab set up (e.g., purchasing computers, chairs, etc. from my start up funds)
- Generally, specifically, and consistently working towards social justice and equity for all
- Being a happy lady in all facets of my personal and professional life
I truly love all of the different responsibilities I have, though one of my favorite things to do is mentor and advise students because:
- Students inspire me and give me hope for the field of psychology, academia, the world, and humanity
- I am committed to paying forward the wonderful mentorship I have received in my 10 years as a student in higher education, including from Professor Jaye van Kirk, Dr. Audrey Hokoda, Dr. Emilio Ulloa, Dr. Jennifer Freyd, and many others.
Being available to my own graduate students, as well as students across the Department of Psychology and MPSI, is a top priority for me. As advising and mentoring students is not my only responsibility, however, I have put together this page to share expectations.
Things I Strive to be as a Mentor and Advisor
- Flexible (“every hand needs a different glove” approach; basics are the same throughout—e.g., communication is key—but I adapt based on the needs and wants of each student)
- Safe (to bring up concerns and uncomfortable topics, including issues students are having with their course work, clinical work, research, myself, etc.)
Things I Strive to do as a Mentor and Advisor
- Provide critical feedback
- Be receptive to feedback
- Have a forward gaze (paying attention to where you want to be and what you will need to get there)
- Relay and provide opportunities for professional growth
- Provide guidance
Follow Up: Why do I like to give critical feedback?
- We are in service of the populations we serve, as researchers, teachers, and clinicians; therefore, our work should be the best it can be
- I believe you can do your best
- I believe your best will keep improving over time
- I believe in you as a thinker, scholar, and person
- I am invested in helping you develop and grow
What Are My Expectations for Students Who Are Working with Me?
For my graduate students in particular—but also for any graduate students who have a working relationship with me (e.g., mentorship committee; letter of recommendation writer, etc.): it is very important for you to respond to a question, query, or message I send in a timely manner.
For my graduate students, that means responding to me within 24 hours on business days (Monday – Friday, excluding holidays). If I ask you a question you do not know the answer to, respond that you do not know. If I send you resources or information, respond with a simple “Got it!” or “Thank you!”, etc. Please refrain from not responding at all. If you will be out of communication for any reason, it is your responsibility to let me know once you know, remind me just before you leave, and set up an automatic away message on your Wayne State email.
Though the advisor/advisee and mentor/mentee relationships are asymmetric due to our differences in roles and power, it is still a two-way relationship. Your advisor/mentor (that is me, JG!) is not only here to serve your needs and yours alone. It is expected that you will actively engage in fostering a healthy, communicative relationship. This means being responsive as detailed above, being respectful, coming to meetings on time and prepared (more on that below), asking questions when you have them, and keeping me updated on your progress in your classes, your clinical work, your research, etc.
Why is open communication so important to me?
For us to foster a healthy mentorship/advising relationship.
Important: If I don’t know, I can’t help!
If you are having problems, confusion, etc., I cannot provide guidance if I do not know about it. It is always your choice as to what and how much to disclose to me (e.g., I will not demand that you tell me secrets you don’t want me to know!). However, an open, responsible, responsive, communicative relationship will mean that you are able to assert your needs, and I will be able to do my best to help guide and support you.
Tip: If there’s something going on in your personal life that you do not feel comfortable sharing, you could say, “I am going through something right now personally. I don’t want or need to talk about the details of it. But I wanted to let you know that I may be a bit distracted and slower on doing work while I’m dealing with it.”
Getting a Response from JG
Email is often the quickest way to get a hold of me, as I tend to answer emails quickly. For my graduate students, I aim to respond to emails within 24 hours on business days. If I am going to be out of communication for any reason, I will let my students know and will have an away message up on my Wayne State email.
If you want a response or feedback on a document that is longer than about a page, please give me both a hard copy and an electronic version (more on this below).
Lab meeting attendance is expected of my graduate students. As I am new to faculty, lab meetings will commence once a month and will be open to select graduate and undergraduate students who request and are approved to attend. These lab meetings are good times to get me to sign forms or ask me quick questions. When you are scheduled to make a presentation at the lab meeting, it is important for you to work with me in developing the presentation. This includes discussing the topic to present, sending me powerpoint slides and/or handouts to review, etc. For us to have time to review and revise content, such material should be to me at least 2 weeks before you are scheduled to present.
On all presentations and handouts should be your name, as well as the name of all collaborators, acknowledgements to those who have provided help or feedback, the date, and usually a disclaimer that explains that the information is preliminary and should not be cited or shared beyond the lab meeting.
One last tip: it is important to openly acknowledge collaborative work (as most research is collaborative). When discussing such research, always use the plural rather than singular (“our study” vs. “my study”, etc.). If in doubt, ask me and/or err on the side of sharing credit.
In addition to lab meetings, I will meet with my graduate students regularly. Other departmental/MPSI graduate students are welcome to contact me to set up a time to meet for drop-in or more regular meetings. I will do my best to accommodate these requests as my schedule permits. Meetings can take place in one of my offices, my lab, or in taking a walk. All students are responsible for keeping track of what is discussed in our meetings—including deadlines, topics to follow up on, etc.
Coming to Meetings On Time & Prepared
In preparation to meet with me (outside of office hours), students should:
- Email me the morning-of to confirm the meeting; without such confirmation, I will consider the meeting canceled (this is to avoid the time wasted waiting for no-shows)
- Have a plan of what will be discussed
- Be prepared (e.g., if a first meeting to discuss research, have reviewed my website: http://jmgomez.org ; have prepared questions, points of discussion, topics, etc.)
- Be on time; communicate if you will be running late
To have efficient meetings, it is incumbent on students to take ownership over their own knowledge and growth. Being prepared, having a plan, and having a clear sense of the goals of the meeting will make our time together: mutually beneficial; you will be more likely to get what you need from me and our meeting; and you will communicate respect of the time and expertise of your grad advisor/mentor (me!).
What to Do After Meetings
It is your responsibility to keep track of what is discussed in our meetings, what your follow up steps are, and getting any answers or clarifications you need from me.
Scheduling Committee Meetings
When you need to schedule an advising or mentorship committee meeting for a semester, begin planning at the beginning of the semester. (Wrangling a bunch of busy faculty members can be time-consuming!). Please follow these steps to schedule:
- Write to JG with your available times
- JG writes back with overlapping available times
- THEN write the rest of the committee, cc-ing JG, with just the times that you and I are both available. I recommend using Doodle or another scheduling software for the last step
Papers, Documents, Forms, and Other Written Things
- GIVE ME BOTH a HARD COPY and ELECTRONIC COPY of documents, presentations, etc.
- ALLOW ME 2 WEEKS to review whenever possible.
More detail: Providing me with both hard and electronic copies aids in me being able to provide feedback in a timely manner. As a general rule, do NOT wait until the last minute to send me something! It is quite possible that if you wait till the last minute, I will not be able to review the paper, write the letter of recommendation, approve the Abstract for submission, etc. I recommend giving me TWO WEEKS to review something. The reason is there will likely be times where multiple students need feedback from me simultaneously, in addition to my own deadlines. This is particularly true at crunch times (e.g., late Fall term, as Letter of Recommendation season).
Materials you send me to review should include contextual information so that I know what it is. For papers and manuscripts, this includes:
- A cover page with authorship, date, title/working title, word count, intended journal or outlet, any word limits, any deadlines
- Both hard and electronic copies
- Descriptive file name (e.g., instead of “master’s thesis”, “Last NameThesisVariablesDateInitials of last person to edit”, so “GómezManuCBTT hallucinations8.12.19JG”)
- Page numbers throughout
Feedback on Papers, etc.
My goal is to get you feedback on manuscripts, presentations, etc., within 2 weeks of you giving it to me. (Note: potential departmental exceptions to theses and dissertations).
Letters of Recommendation
For letters of recommendation, I usually will need:
- 4 weeks notice (but: best to tell me as soon as you know)
- Materials, such as copy of the application essay, description of the award
- How to submit
- A document describing highlights of your fanciness and our relationship (e.g., been an RA for 1 year; this GPA; you saw me give this talk for X conference, etc.)
If you discover that you are not going to be able to get me something to review 2 weeks of a deadline--or 4 week for letters of rec, let me know as soon as possible. Note: even for big events (a conference, a thesis, a dissertation, a manuscript for a special issue), you are responsible for keeping yourself and me accountable for deadlines. Meaning, do not assume that if I have not received a document that needs review that I am calculating the accelerated turn-around time—not for lack of caring, but for juggling my own + my students' deadlines.
My Advice for Students
- Be organized and efficient:The better you are at managing your time, the more cool stuff you get to do!
- If you don’t know something, think and then ask, if needed
- If you are scared that you’re bad at something, seek it out: E.g., If you’re scared of public speaking, don’t spend 5 years avoiding public speaking. Take the opportunity to practice, grow, and learn
- Take ownership over your own learning, professional development, and advancement
- Come prepared
- Act as if you believe in yourself, even when you don’t
- No one mentor or advisor can be everything you need: Get a mentorship network
- Admit to yourself when you have made a mistake or series of mistakes
- When not relationally unsafe, admit to others when you make a mistake or series of mistakes: E.g., Tell me!
- Prioritize your full self: You are more than a walking head
- Say Thank You!: Faculty and staff do a LOT to help students. Often, we don’t know if our efforts are actually helpful. So: if faculty or staff (or a peer! Or anyone!) has done something that has been useful to you (e.g., brought in a great speaker; given great guidance in a meeting, etc.), a simple Thank You is not only appreciated, but also helps the person tailor their efforts to you, thus resulting in doing more of the things that are helpful for you
The issue of mandated reporting of campus sexual violence has received considerable attention for the greater part of a decade. There are varying views on the appropriateness of blanket mandated reporting (see Dr. Freyd’s website with compiled resources and my own scholarly opinion piece that I wrote as a graduate student in 2016).
Universities also have various interpretations of what Title IX actually requires regarding reporting.
Here is WSU’s current rules, from our Title IX Office website:
"Mandatory reporting – Responsible Employees
Wayne State University faculty and staff are considered Responsible Employees and are obligated to promptly report incidents of sexual misconduct. The only exception is confidential employees in Counseling and Psychological Services and the Campus Health Center.
Consistent with Wayne State's obligations under federal law, Wayne State is required to notify a student who reports having experienced sexual misconduct by another student, a faculty member or a staff member of the university, that the student has the option to report the matter to law enforcement, to the university, to both, or to neither, as the student may choose.
Regardless of what course of action the student chooses, Wayne State faculty and staff who know of or have received information about a sexual misconduct or potential sexual misconduct incident that occurred on campus, in a university program, or at a university-sponsored event, must promptly report that incident to the Title IX Director so that Wayne State can fulfil its institutional obligations. Your knowledge is the university's knowledge. When in doubt, report it.
In light of this mandatory reporting requirement, it is important for faculty and staff to know that if a student reports an incident to you, you cannot promise confidentiality and should inform the student that you are required to report the incident to the Title IX Director. Once reported, for the privacy of the parties involved, it should not be discussed with anyone else.
Wayne State is still obligated to investigate, even where the student chooses not to report or where the student is unwilling or reluctant to participate in an investigation. Wayne State will proceed in a way that takes into account the concerns of the student survivor/victim and Wayne State's responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment to the entire campus community.”
As WSU faculty, I am obligated to report information I know of or have received regarding sexual misconduct or potential sexual misconduct that: 1) occurred on campus, in a university program, or at a university sponsored event; and/or 2) that was perpetrated by a member of the university (student, staff, faculty) to the Title IX coordinator, regardless of the student’s wishes. Please keep this in mind should you choose to share such information with me.
WSU has provided a resource page for students.
Note: I have no experience with the above resources.
WSU Graduate School provides financial incentives for graduate students who apply for external funding, see GS website
WSU Office of the Vice President of Research (OVPR) supplements graduate students' external funding (up to $2,000, with half of the money earmarked for the graduate student's research and half for the faculty advisor's research); grad advisor applies (with help from Psych Dept. Grants Administrator, Nicole Barber)
WSU Graduate School has an array of fellowships for graduate students, see GS website
For more grad student resources, see Dr. Jennifer Freyd’s website
For more advice on faculty-grad student interactions, see Stanford's page
For WSU resources for students, see Dean of Students Warrior Life
For evidence-based resources on how to respond to disclosure of abuse and maltreatment, see Freyd's Disclosure Listening Skills Home Page
If going to or from campus at odd hours (e.g., very early morning, late at night), there is the WSU Police Department's Safe Walk Program. It's free. Call 313-577-2222, and police will escort you to your car or residence.
For more information about WSU Police and Safety at Wayne, see website