My most important expectation is integrity. I expect everyone to provide an honest account of their results without hiding or glossing over problems—even if that contradicts our most cherished beliefs. Errors are commonplace; if they are discovered, we need to know so that they may be corrected or compensated.
I believe that diversity is the wellspring of creativity and innovation—diversity of sex, color, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status, age, national origin, political leaning, and socio-economic background. Engineering and science should be done by people who are good at engineering and science; everything else is irrelevant. I require everyone in my research group to follow the nondiscrimination policy outlined in the MIT Handbook.
I expect everyone to foster a supportive atmosphere of collaboration, respecting each other’s perspectives, and helping each other to grow in their own way. Everyone has the potential to be the ‘local expert’ on some topic and all can benefit from that expertise. When feasible, I assign graduate students to help mentor undergraduate students; ‘senior’ graduate students to help mentor ‘junior’ graduate students; and post-doctoral associates to help mentor graduate students.
I don’t micro-manage lab members’ time. I expect everyone to be engaged and interested. Research is fun! Projects don’t always proceed as planned. (If we knew what was going to happen, it wouldn’t be research, would it?) Setbacks are an opportunity to learn, and that’s the goal of research. To quote Winston Churchill “Never give in! never, never, never, never …”
From a speech to the graduating class at Harrow, 1941