Program Policies for Faculty

This page presents policies relates to faculty.  Policies related to students can be found here.  You can also download the full policy document here.

The program’s faculty consists of those members of the Vanderbilt University Graduate Faculty who direct research and educational programs related to the goals of the CPB program (broadly defined), demonstrate excellent mentorship of graduate students, participate in the program community, and have been approved by the program’s Executive Advisory Committee.

Faculty are expected to be excellent mentors to their students, providing them with education and training in the professional behaviors, knowledge base, and research skills of successful scientists in their discipline.  Faculty should have ongoing discussions about the responsible conduct of research with their students, discussing both general principles and the specific application of these principles to the research area.  They are expected to commit adequate time to mentoring their students and to place a high priority on the student’s professional development.  When a research project is deemed complete, advisers are expected to contribute to a timely publication of the work. Advisors should set and communicate their expectations for students in advance, maintain appropriate mentor/mentee relationships, keep a professional demeanor during all interactions with the student, and practice other behaviors that lead to positive professional relationships and student growth and development.  When conflict occurs, faculty are expected to participate actively and productively in the procedures for resolving these conflicts.

Faculty are responsible for the financial support of their students, including stipends, benefits, tuition and fees, and research-related expenditures.  A faculty member’s inclusion on the BRET Office’s Open Lab List for G-1 students includes a commitment from the chair of the faculty member’s primary department or their center director to provide funding for the student if the advisor loses the ability to support the student.  After allowing for time off due to official leaves of absence, this commitment extends through the four year post-QE statute of limitations, as defined by the Graduate School.

For the CPB program to be successful, it requires service and active participation on the part of its faculty. Advising a student in the CPB program comes with the commitment to support the program and the student by attending the annual retreat, assisting with the graduate student recruitment process, and contributing in other ways to the program’s success. For example, faculty are encouraged to attend the program’s periodic social events and other educational activities. They may also be asked to serve on committees or contribute in other ways to the program.

It is recognized that there may exist scientific or other issues that interfere with the student’s progress or with the mentor-student relationship. The student may feel that his/her academic progress is being limited in some way or is being unfairly evaluated; that his/her intellectual contributions are not being fairly acknowledged; or that another type of interpersonal conflict exists.  Students have several avenues available to them to achieve resolution of such concerns. The following descriptions are considered the most advisable options:

  • Students in the Didactic Phase should address these issues initially with the DGS. 
  • Students who have already entered into Candidacy should discuss scientific concerns with the chair of his/her dissertation advising committee. Other concerns may be brought directly to the DGS.

In addition, students are always free to discuss concerns with the Program Director, the counseling personnel in the BRET office or the Psychological and Counseling Center, and/or other trusted members of the faculty. Students should communicate any such concerns with the appropriate persons while the problems are still in their early stages. If confidentiality is required, the student is advised to consult with the counseling personnel in the BRET office or the Psychological and Counseling Center.

Changes in mentorship are a significant occurrence. While they may be deemed necessary on some occasions, they should not be undertaken without full consideration of all possible consequences, both positive and negative. Such changes should only occur after extended attempts at conflict resolution have occurred.  In the case of a Ph.D. candidate, the QE does not need to be repeated; but the committee will reform and the new committee will need to review and approve the student’s proposal for the completion of his/her thesis.  When determining the scope of work required for completion of the degree, they should consider the student’s full body of work.

Students are encouraged to bring forward issues of sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind to the attention of the mentor, program leadership, or counseling staff.  When brought to the attention of the program leadership or faculty, they will refer the student to the Psychological and Counseling Center.