~ W. Jetz. Version: March 10, 2023 ~
Core Group Values
Treat each other with respect
Appreciate our different cultural backgrounds
Make an effort to learn from one another
Respect each other’s time
Be a team player, collaborate and share
Celebrate success, reflect on accomplishments and celebrate those of others
Recognize that success often needs some failure first
Be positive, do your part to support a positive climate
Ensure a healthy work - life balance for yourself, and support the same for others
Support good scholarship
Recognize and attribute the work of others
Listen actively, be present
Be respectful, kind, and empathetic
Try to not interrupt
Support open and direct communication
Do not shy away from difficult conversations
Ensure all voices are heard and encouraged to participate
All ideas are worth sharing, listening to
Speak up and proactively address conflict (or potential conflicts)
Deliver and receive honest feedback with kindness and consideration
Don’t repeat hearsay, stick to facts, and support others to do the same
Mission and Philosophy
Our group is dedicated to delivering the best-possible research, information, and training to support the understanding and conservation of biodiversity in a rapidly changing world. To this end, we work closely with a range of research, education, technology, and impact partners and support them, and conservation stakeholders and researchers broadly, with public products.
I put my full trust and provide my full support to all group members who join this mission and who are committed to our group compact and the formal parameters of their position (for which as group lead I am being held responsible for by the institution and funders). I am deeply dedicated to the future success of my mentees. A typical question I ask is ‘Where/what do you want to be professionally in 3-6 years?’, and whatever the answer drives my day to day guidance and career development support (and this can on occasion include difficult conversations). My approach is motivated by past success - of the past mentees who were keen to subsequently pursue a career in research, I have been able to support well over twenty to attain tenured/tenure-track faculty or academic research positions. And I have supported others to move on to new fellowships and successful careers in NGO, government, or industry, or to long-term employment with us here at the Center at Yale.
My style is honest and direct (my cultural heritage), and this might require adjustment and compromise on both sides, and it might not be the right fit for everyone. But I am deeply supportive of those who reciprocate the honesty and share our group values.
A successful mentee-mentor relationship requires commitment from the mentee, mentor, and institution. The following commitments tailored for our group are inspired by material developed by AAMC for graduate students and postdocs, Yale University, and additional resources.
My Commitment as Mentor of Academic Trainees and Staff:
[Note: While the overarching mentorship for academic trainees falls to me as PI, we have in our group mentorship at several levels. Subgroup leads in particular might have a mentoring role for their groups, and group team members will be staff supervisors, academic day-to-day supervisors or mentors in some other form, and I see this part of the compact apply to us all.]
● I will demonstrate respect for all mentees as individuals without regard to gender, race, national origin, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. I will cultivate a culture of inclusivity among the entire group.
● I will provide an environment that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally supportive, safe, equitable, and free of harassment. I acknowledge that open communication is essential. I will strive to maintain a relationship with mentees that is based on trust and mutual respect.
● Throughout the mentee’s time in my group, I will be supportive, accessible, encouraging, and respectful. I will foster the mentee’s professional confidence and encourage intellectual development, critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity, while also being required to recognize expectations associated with the position funding. I will continue my interest and involvement as the mentee moves forward into a career.
● I will promote all ethical standards for conducting research as they relate to responsible conduct in research, authorship, peer-review guidelines, and data reporting, ownership, and sharing. I will clearly define expectations for the responsible conduct of research in my lab and make myself available to discuss ethical, safety, and any related concerns as they arise.
● I am committed to supporting the adherence to the ICMJE authorship guidelines in our lab group and specifically our jointly developed lab authorship guidelines.
● Academic mentees often arrive in the group with prior projects, or new projects or engagements outside the group arise. Both can represent important opportunities for career development and scientific impact. At the same time, as mentor I am responsible for supporting mentees’ mutually agreed career goals, and I am formally obligated to ensure that the use of salary funds meets contract requirements and addresses formally committed deliverables. I am happy to commit that all graduate students and postdocs are entitled to dedicate 10% of their work time (i.e. half day a week) to research or career development that is a non-lab, outside engagement, without any need to report in any form. That time commitment can be greater, but then requires coordination with me as mentor to ensure that all of us are able to manage and meet expectations, including that associated with the position funding. Note that for postdocs on independent fellowships there is flexibility, as the mentor is not obligated toward specific grant deliverables, and similarly so for graduate students on rotation in a different lab.
● I am committed to meeting one-on-one with graduate students and postdocs on a regular basis, usually biweekly unless vacation or travel intervene. I am also committed to timely manuscript feedback, aiming for a turnaround of 2-4 work weeks under usual circumstances. I will regularly review the mentees’ progress and provide timely feedback and goal-setting advice.
● I am committed to providing constructive support to address any problems. I have found that direct communication that takes all viewpoints and professional commitments into account is the most effective way to find a constructive solution. In this spirit, if you have questions or requests, I ask that you bring these up directly with me in a conversation. If you feel an issue still remains insufficiently addressed, clarify and flag the concern as such additionally in an email in writing. All communication will be treated as confidential, though be aware that I have a legal obligation to report sexual misconduct. If an issue remains unresolved or can’t be brought to me, bring it up with the group’s Managing Director (who will treat it in confidence) or consider suggesting the inclusion of a mediator from within or outside the group. If the issue still remains unresolved, contact the department graduate student or postdoc coordinator to set up a joint conversation that includes me or the Managing Director. If this does nor resolve the issue, Yale has many resources available to you, including: https://yalecollege.yale.edu/policies-procedures/university-grievance-pr…. In any case, I am personally committed to supporting you through any of these processes and to ensuring there is no disadvantage arising to you from an attempt to resolve an issue.
● I support a healthy work-life balance for all members of the group and encourage all of us to maintain reasonable work hours, limit evening and weekend work expectations, and avail ourselves of vacation and personal time off as needed (while adhering to the university’s formal requirements). I will work with you to set realistic expectations that can be achieved without the need for regular overtime and limit communication outside of work hours. I will communicate anticipated crunch times when teams or individuals may be asked to work overtime as soon in advance as possible and make sure there is time for recovery between such crunches.
Your Commitment as Mentee (Postdoc, PhD Student, PGA)
● Members from our group come from a range of cultural backgrounds. Joining such a diverse setting might require adjustment by those arriving and understanding from those welcoming. We expect members to be accountable for their mistakes and ask all to be gracious and forgiving in their approach to each other.
● I acknowledge that I have the primary responsibility for the successful completion of my degree or postdoctoral research projects. I will maintain a high level of professionalism, self-motivation, initiative, engagement, scientific curiosity, and ethical standards, including complying with institutional and research group standards for contributing to an inclusive research environment.
● I will meet regularly with my research advisor to provide updates on the progress and results of my research, course work (graduate students), and professional and career development activities. I will be respectful of my research advisor’s time and provide sufficient time for the review of documents. I will strive to maintain a relationship with my mentor that is based on trust and mutual respect.
● I will be a good lab citizen. I will use group resources carefully and frugally. I agree to take part in shared group responsibilities such as committees, group-wide shared cleaning/maintenance and event support duties, other support work for non-manuscript group products (e.g. project websites, visualizations etc). I recognize these may take up to 10% of my work time. I understand that lab service is something I am expected to not only engage in when asked, but actively seek out and I will identify opportunities for myself to contribute.
● I will actively participate in group and sub-group meetings.
● I recognize the importance of in-person engagement to foster a vibrant research community and scholarly exchange. Unless I have made upfront arrangements that provide an exception, I commit to being present in the office during core hours on the great majority of workdays (outside holidays and sick days).
● I will be respectful of, tolerant of, and work collegially with all group personnel. I will also contribute actively to creating and maintaining an environment that is equitable, free of harassment, and positive. This includes refraining from spreading rumors about group members and a commitment to constructively addressing any issues through direct communication and engagement (also see Mentor commitment).
● I will engage with other lab members (particularly staff) who I ask for help on my research-related tasks as scientific colleagues, providing details on the academic and scientific context of my request.
● I will be an active contributing member to all team efforts and collaborations and will respect individual contributions. I will follow the lab authorship guidelines. I will lead or present at group meetings on a regular basis, adequately prepare for meetings and be available for reasonable requests of friendly review of group peers’ work.
● I will adhere to the lab’s open and reproducible science standard, including my commitment to providing detailed, documented, and organized code and data to support the maintenance of research I conduct while here. I will contribute to preparing these data for sharing and visualization and work with other team members to support this. I acknowledge that university intellectual policy regulations apply to the data and tools that I’ve developed here and will coordinate with my research advisor regarding the continued use of these after moving on from the group.