User:Steven J. Koch/Mentorship statement
Steve Koch 23:51, 29 December 2008 (EST): This was originally a PDF that I submitted with my application for the assistant professorship I currently hold at UNM. I'm putting it in wiki version here since it's linked to in our Lab Principles page.
Over the course of my development as a researcher and mentor, I have consistently assessed my talents and worked to improve my skills. As one tangible example of my efforts, I have read a number of management and leadership books (e.g., The One Minute Manager, Good to Great, First Break All the Rules). Some in academia may view management books as a frivolous waste of time, but I firmly believe the opposite: running an academic research program requires strong management and leadership abilities. One of these abilities is recognizing that graduate and undergraduate students have diverse backgrounds and levels of preparation. Just as in business, the most important step is to select lab members who possess the necessary talents to succeed. Having these talents, knowledge and skills can be developed through work on challenging but achievable research goals. My intentions as a mentor will be to always have time for personal one-on-one meetings with my lab members. I will work with junior lab members to set clear and measurable goals, working to the point where a student graduating with his Ph.D. has the ability to set his own short and long term goals and is fully prepared for his next career step. One of my primary objectives as a mentor will be to help students recognize their strongest talents and tailor the graduate work to accentuate these talents and build the knowledge and skills they will need in their future careers (whether academic or industrial research, or perhaps entrepreneurial). I believe I have the desire and abilities to be an effective lab manager and mentor and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work with students and help them learn and grow. My ultimate reward as a mentor will be vicariously enjoying the successes of my students in their diverse careers after graduate school.