Characteristics of a Good Research Advisor


Prompt & timely: responds, does their part, stays engaged
Good at communicating and explaining
Is interested & committed to the project
Pays the bills


Attentive: does not neglect student's ideas
Open & helpful to your choice of path, e.g. change of advisor or career
Puts student position of responsibility
   - Encourages student to write first-author papers, go to conferences
   - Allows student creative control over writing (while providing effort & guidance)
Builds independence
   - Allows and encourages independent work, side projects & collaborations
Tactfully delivers constructive criticism
Encourages student's development through
   - Publishing papers
   - Presentations & Conferences
   - Transition into and out of graduate school
Provides guidance
Tailors projects to your strengths
Has connections
   - Encourages interactions with:
       - Group (group meetings, etc)
       - Local community  (journal clubs, seminars, etc)
       - Global community (distant collaborators, referees, conference participants)
Doesn't steal credit
Acknowledges achievements
Pays attention to your progress
  -> will provide detailed recommendation letters
Treats student as equal and as collaborator

Enjoyable to work with

Compatible chemistry (at least, not toxic)
Approachable & non-judgemental
Not a slave driver

This is the result of a 2017 brainstorming session with graduate students in the University of Toronto Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics. Last modified by Christopher Matzner in February 2017.