The goal of laboratory rotations is to optimize the process of matching first-year graduate students and faculty research groups. Through rotations, new students will gain first-hand knowledge about the research, intellectual approaches, and the environment found within the different research groups.
The Group Joining Period is November 7 – November 28. To facilitate the group selection process, first-year students are required to carry out three rotations in different groups and meet with at least five different faculty members before making a decision. The rotation periods for 2016 are
Rotation #1: September 6 – September 24
Rotation #2: September 26 – October 15
Rotation #3: October 17 – November 5
Rotation #4: November 7 – November 26 (optional)
In these rotations the student will have the following opportunities: 1) discuss the research, laboratory, and potential projects with the faculty member; 2) interact with students in the faculty member’s laboratory; and 3) attend group meetings and/or any associated super-group meetings (schedules permitting). Depending upon the faculty member and student schedule, the student may also engage in research and/or read faculty research papers. The student should contact the faculty member as soon as the rotation is assigned to devise a plan to gain familiarity with the group and research.
Choosing Rotation Laboratories: The Department faculty members will present short talks on their research August 23 – 26. These talks will introduce the student to the research group, but the talks should NOT serve as the sole basis for choosing rotation laboratories. The student should consider the following questions to help make the decision about which group to rotate with and ultimately join:
• Is the group right for you scientifically? Does the research interest you? Are you excited about the group’s approach to science? Are there several projects you would be eager to work on? Are there instruments or techniques that interest you?
• Does the faculty member communicate well with you? Do you like the faculty member’s management style? Will you work successfully with this faculty member as your research advisor?
• Is the group right for your personality? Is the group size comfortable for you? Is the group dynamic right for you? Are you comfortable with the people? (Keep in mind that groups change as students come and go; you will interact longest with students who are closest to you in terms of years in the program.)
Assignment of Rotations: Prior to each rotation, students will provide a ranked list of the top three faculty preferences (Rotation Form). A committee will make the rotation assignments and will try to accommodate student preferences in making assignments. Students who do not get their first choice in rotation #1 will be given preference when selections are made in rotation #2. Students will not be reassigned to faculty who they have rotated with. Rotations are assigned sequentially, so that if the student’s research interests change, s/he can change lab preferences. The due dates for rotation preferences are
Rotation #1 choices due on Monday, August 29th at 9:00am
Rotation #2 choices due on Monday September 19th at 9:00am
Rotation #3 choices due on Monday October 10th at 9:00am
Choosing a Research Laboratory: In addition to the rotations, students should interview at least five faculty members whose research interests them (print out the Group Joining Form). Laboratory selections are made by mutual agreement between the student and faculty member. There is no obligation that students join a laboratory in which they conducted a rotation – the student can join any laboratory upon mutual agreement with the relevant faculty member. If a student has not chosen a laboratory after the three rotations, there is an option to conduct a 4th rotation.
NO COMMITMENTS BY FACULTY OR STUDENTS CAN BE MADE BEFORE NOVEMBER 7.