Letter To Students


August 19, 1999

To graduate students who wish to request me to be their advisor:

The following is what you can expect from me and vice versa if we decide to work together:

To the best of my ability, I will advise you on your research, your program of study, and any career-related questions. I will monitor your progress and provide an environment conducive to research. I will consider your ideas and suggestions. I will give you an appraisal of your current performance. I will help you to publish your work and establish a professional reputation. I will provide you with a letter of recommendation whenever you apply for  a  job, or to another department or university -- if your performance merits it; and will allow you to see the letter. If you wish to change advisors, I will not obstruct you in any way. If possible, I will help you with funding -- top priority goes to Ph.D. students who are publishing in journals. When practical, I will help you learn about applying for funding. I will be clear as possible about standards and expectations. I will always treat you the way I would want to be treated if our situations were reversed.

You will work diligently toward your educational goal. This includes strong performance in classes and research.  You will perform research tasks quickly and professionally. You will notify me of serious obstacles to progress, but will not need detailed instructions for straightforward tasks. You will keep in touch regularly, will have an electronic mail account and read it frequently, and will check for mail or messages daily. You will keep an up-to-date and informative web page and resume on the web server. You will set daily, weekly, monthly, semester and annual progress goals and do your best to meet them. You will attend our weekly lab meetings attentively and on time. You will keep your work written up regularly, and will publish it when ready.  Your experiments will be documented, repeatable and measurable.  If you are  an  M.S. student, you will prepare at least one journal-quality article and submit it before graduating. Collaboration is OK on this if your role is significant. If you are a Ph.D. student, you will prepare at least two journal-quality articles and submit them before graduating. These must have a primary emphasis on your contribution. In either case, you will commit to making the necessary changes suggested by the referees and successfully publishing the work, even after graduation, and even returning briefly for additional experimentation if necessary. To prepare for the above, you will write conference papers and present them yourself whenever practical to do so. You will put electronic copies of all accepted papers on the web server, and will file paper copies in the lab file cabinet. Each semester, you will prepare at least one report of research accomplishments, which will be filed electronically and on paper similar to publications, but will not be available for public access.  Your performance evaluations, continued employment, recommendations, and raises will be determined by the quality of accomplishments in your report.

We will both make a commitment to have fun and enjoy the process of working and learning together. Please read this letter carefully and make sure you agree to all this before asking me to be your advisor.   Then, study the materials from my research program and be prepared to say how you think you could contribute.  If you and I are both still interested, we can look forward to some very productive times together!


Yours truly,

Donald Wunsch

Director, Applied Computational Intelligence Laboratory