Researchers in career stages R1 through R3 discuss their career strategy and development with their supervisors or mentors. These dialogues serve as a basis for counseling on issues the researchers are facing at the current stage of their careers and help identify the most suitable professional development programs to help them reach their career goals.
Regular Career Stage Meetings with their supervisors or mentors provide an additional incentive for researchers to proactively manage their career development as does the preparation of a career portfolio. This is a reflection on the accomplishments they have made and the skills they have developed that researchers can prepare on a voluntary basis.
A supervision agreement and a career development plan provide the formal basis for the supervisory or mentoring relationship between researchers in career stages R1 through R3 and their supervisors or mentors.
The general regulations for doctoral degrees at JMU (with effect from 8 February 2016) require that all doctoral candidates and their supervisors enter into a Supervision Agreement. This fact demonstrates the University’s commitment to making the professional development of researchers an integral part of its efforts to advance the careers of early career researchers.
The Supervision Agreement identifies, among other aspects, measures for the qualification of the doctoral candidate and sets out the responsibilities and obligations of both the candidate and the supervisor(s) during the qualification project. As a rule, Supervision Agreements are mandatory for all types of qualification project. They help ensure that professional development is considered a natural part of a researcher’s training.
The JMU Career Portfolio is a written record of the experiences and accomplishments researchers have made and the qualifications and skills they have acquired. It expands JMU’s professional development framework for researchers in two respects: Firstly, it identifies 13 key indicators for research careers. All initiatives defined in the University’s Staff Development Policy are aimed at assisting researchers in the development of the skills, behavior, and knowledge described by these 13 indicators that are relevant at the current stage of their careers. Secondly, the JMU Career Portfolio helps researchers transfer their research-related skills to areas that are relevant for careers outside academia
Career Development Plan
A useful tool for researchers in career stage R3, the Career Development Plan identifies short, medium, and long-term goals for this stage, defines when these goals are considered to have been reached, and establishes criteria for measuring progress toward the accomplishment of these goals. Career Development Plans are only mandatory for staff on tenure track appointments, we would, however, encourage all researchers in career stage R3 to use this tool. A researcher’s Career Development Plan is discussed during annual Career Stage Meetings.
Career Stage Meetings
The Career Stage Meeting should be seen as a supplementary tool to the career portfolio, the career development plan, and the meetings to discuss specific issues as they arise. The success of an organization depends upon the dedication and satisfaction of its staff members. Holders of leadership positions must embody the values of openness, tolerance, and appreciation and must inspire others to do the same. They are responsible for providing career development support for early career researchers and helping their team members unlock their full professional potential.
Career Stage Meetings are usually held between supervisors and their team members or between mentors and their mentees. In addition, all researchers can feel free to seek input and guidance from JMU’s service and advice centers.
Career Stage Meetings give researchers the opportunity to reflect on their work and the progress they have made as well as to discuss their personal career goals in a confidential setting. Topics that may be discussed include the researcher’s accomplishments and activities, his/her work environment, collaboration and leadership as well as his/her career and development prospects. Researchers and their supervisors or mentors should hold a status meeting once a year or more often as necessary.