Singing The Praises Of PNB Grad Student And Staff

Bruce Milliken and staff
The Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour earned high marks from staff and graduate students in the Faculty of Science engagement survey carried out earlier this year. Chair Bruce Milliken (centre) highlights some of the key factors that contributed to the department's strong engagement scores.
"We recognize that graduate students are the lifeblood and office staff are the backbone of our department. We couldn't do all that we do without them. From day one, we want our hundred graduate students to feel like valued colleagues. The faster we achieve that, the stronger we'll be as a department. We expect our graduate students and faculty to be on a first-name basis. I'll quickly and quietly correct any grad student who calls my Dr. Milliken.

"Our office staff are equally outstanding and many have been going above and beyond in the department for decades. They are totally committed to serving students and supporting their colleagues. When retired faculty stop by, the office staff are always the first people they visit. Everyone's made to feel welcome thanks to our staff.

"Social events play a key role in bringing people together. For decades now, the department has supported 4 p.m. Friday socials for all graduate students. Our grad students work incredibly hard and deserve to unwind at the end of the week. Each lab takes turns hosting an open-invitation afternoon tea. And the social event of the year caps off our graduate student recruitment weekend. Faculty, staff and grad students are invited to a meet and greet event in the Phoenix with incoming graduate students.


"We also have each other's back. No one lab uses a disproportionate amount of shared departmental resources. We also ensure that all of our labs are fully engaged in research at all times. Our department is at its strongest when every lab is thriving. So if funding falls through and a lab hits on hard times, we rally together to help the lab get back in the game. It's essential that graduate students can continue to carry out research so the lab is well-positioned to secure future funding.

"Ultimately, we recognize that we're the beneficiaries of smart decisions that have been made with real foresight over the past 50 years. Those decisions have included locating the entire department within its own building, having all cohorts of undergraduate and graduate students experience common courses as formative experiences, and choosing to narrow our focus as a department to experimental psychology. While other universities have larger departments, few are as cohesive and collegial.  Everyone who joins our department knows that we've inherited something special and it's our responsibility to not mess it up. So we champion our culture and share responsibility for always looking at how to do better for students, faculty and staff."
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