This page is for current and future mentor masters' reference.

Historically, new Mentor Masters are chosen soon after the next year's incoming class is determined. The outgoing Mentor Masters send a first email to the new students, then at the beginning of the summer they hand off responsibilities to new Mentor Masters. These masters choose new mentors, pair them with mentees, and send out a followup email describing plans for the summer and fall.

Annual Schedule Outline

Here's an outline of the action items for the whole year:

  • Mid-August: Orientation! See Launch Day 2016 for the most recent details.
  • Late August: email first- and second-years to make sure they get in touch with their Academic Advisers to make sure their plans for the semester are reasonable.
    • Email the head graduate advisor to have them email AAs
    • Email second-years to make sure they've met with AAs, and are transitioning from summer research back into the semester, especially if any are taking fall prelims.
    • Email second-year mentors to talk with mentees
  • Mid-September: Reminders/organization: set up first- and second-year lunches; have mentors talk to mentees; email second-years about NSF; get chairs's approval for lunch
  • Late September: have lunches; discuss issues; discuss funding
    • Lunch options: Sunrise Deli (fall), Cancun (spring)
  • “Who Do I Work With?/How to Choose a Research Adviser?” meeting (should happen in the fall, though has historically been in the spring)
  • Late January: check with mentors to make sure they've been in touch with mentees
  • Mid-April: first- and second-year lunches
  • Late April: email new first-years
  • Late April: Call for mentors/mentor masters
    • Make it clear that meetings are mandatory
  • Mid-May: finalize mentors
    • Have them contact their mentees
  • Mid-May: assign academic advisers
  • Late July: ensure mentor-master continuity
  • Late July: plan orientation madness
    • Get cubicle assignments

During Prospective Season

Make sure that someone is keeping track of the prospectives' interests, hosts, undergrad institutions, etc. The wiki is a great place for this (but remember that the wiki is essentially public to the entire internet). This information will come in handy when pairing up new students with mentors.

Oh No! New Students!

It's mid-April and the latest class of students has been admitted. The Mentor Masters need to make sure that the following things happen:

  • Immediate contact is made with the new students (done by the outgoing Mentor Masters probably).
  • New mentors are solicited and assigned to mentees. Once this happens, the record of assignments should be updated.
  • Mentees are contacted by their mentors.

The First Emails

As soon as the new students are admitted, there should probably be an email sent to the class as a group from mentor-y type people. It should mention:

  • Who their classmates are (including email addresses).
  • That students should contact the sender if they have any questions.
  • That they are invited to show up at the beginning of the summer to do research, and they should contact the sender if interested.
  • That a followup email will be sent to them from their mentor once their mentor is assigned.
  • That they need to think about housing, with a brief description of the general situation.
  • When they need to be in Berkeley (this will have to be somewhat arbitrary as the schedule for the Fall semester will typically be not quite known).

It's probably best that each person's mentor write their own followup email. Hopefully each email will tell its recipient:

  • Who their mentor is.
  • Who the mentor masters for the fall are.
  • Who the Head Graduate Adviser is.
  • Their initial residency-related obligations: saving airplane ticket stubs, getting a driver's license soon after arrival, etc.
  • The deal with teaching: whether it's required, what courses can be taught for, the assumption of teaching 10 in the fall absent other info.
  • Registration and course selection deadlines (ie, not to worry about them).
  • If the Sierra Conference has been organized, what it is and when they'd need to be in town in order to be able to join in.
  • More details on housing.
  • Whatever orientation information is available.

The Rest of the Summer

Over the rest of the summer, there are further things to prepare:

  • A potential class shepherd needs to be identified by the faculty. The class shepherd role only kicks in starting in the second year, with the Chair, as the whole class' adviser, filling that role the first year. A potential class shepherd should be identified during the first year, though, so that she/he will hopefully pay extra attention during the first year in preparation for taking over duties as the second year starts.
  • The new students should be assigned offices in some non-random way.
  • The new-student orientation day should be scheduled and planned.
  • The Astro 300 new-GSI orientation day should be scheduled and planned. This is obviously the responsibility of whoever's in charge of Astro 300, but there needs to be communication to make the schedule work out. The University-wide GSI orientation day is allegedly the Thursday and Friday before classes start. (The Thursday session is for international students, Friday for everyone.) The dates were announced here at least once.
  • The students could be sent a welcome/checkup mail by the chair
  • The Masters should keep tabs on when the students will arrive. The students generally have vague ideas that don't get really specific until just before they actually arrive. It's good to solicit arrival dates early and often

New Students Arrive

The new students might arrive any time over the course of the summer, from right at the beginning to just before the start of the semester. If they're all arriving in a bunch, you might try to give them their welcome and orientation at once; if they're arriving in a trickle, you probably want to get them started as much as possible individually and then have a group semester kickoff that's relatively bare-bones.

Regardless of when a new student arrives, you want to accomplish some things ASAP:

  • Make them feel welcome and at home
  • Walk them through the administrivia: ID cards, payroll forms, etc. Especially:
    • Payroll should be done ASAP to make Andrea's life easier and ensure that late-ish arriving students can get paid for September
    • Computer accounts should be created and students should be set up to receive astro.berkeley.edu email in a timely manner so that communicating with everyone is easier. (The latter is more a function of people realizing that they have an email account, and probably setting up forwarding, than a technical issue.)
  • Answer questions / clear confusion / allay fears about course selection, residency, etc.

An outline for one way to welcome new students on their first day at Campbell is found in the mentor job description page.

Other things can probably be held off until everyone is around for an orientation day:

  • Specifics of course selection and planning
  • More detailed reviews of SHIP, residency, the mentoring and advising system, etc.
  • Whole-class welcoming activities.

Info on the planning of previous orientation days …

Notes on the administrivia end of things can be found on old versions of this page and the New Students Read This! page. (Ones before, approximately, July 23 2008, to be more specific). Currently, these notes are collected in the “New Student Checklist” LaTeX documents that Peter has and uploaded to the mentor job description page. They should be stored somewhere better in the future.

Mentor Events

Here are some events you might want to organize:

  • The new-student orientation day
  • A new student welcome party
  • Meetings between mentors and mentees about 2-3 weeks into the semester
  • A “how to choose a research adviser” meeting
  • Midterm-time meetings between mentors and mentees
  • … fill in more!

The Welcome 'Packet'

Students should be directed to the following resources: