Graduate Student Opportunities
Dr. Heath has supervised over 85 graduate students in over 25 years at McGill. Some enter the program planning to be practitioners (school psychologists, consultants) and others plan to pursue an academic or research-based career. The individual student’s ultimate career goals are kept in mind and the student’s experience in the lab is tailored to allow them to graduate with the best possible standing. The exceptional track record of our graduate students is indicative of the success of our team model in providing support.
“I have supervised over 85 graduate students in over 25 years that I have been at McGill. Many enter the program planning to pursue an academic or research career (university professor), and others plan to be practitioners (school psychologists, educational consultants). I try to keep the individual student’s ultimate career goals in mind and tailor the student’s experience with the team to allow them to graduate with the best possible Curriculum Vitae to meet their goals while maximizing their chances to obtain funding.
The exceptional track record of my graduate students is indicative of the success of our team model in providing support. My students are consistently top ranked within the department for their research productivity and department citizenship. Our team is research intensive, so all of my students are closely involved in a variety of research projects. We work using an apprenticeship model where students collaborate on projects, with senior students supporting junior students. There are a variety of research areas within the lab and new students choose to focus primarily in one of these areas. Students work initially as a member of a team, and gradually adopt more of a leadership role.
I believe that the student-supervisor relationship is really about a personality and work style match. My strengths are that I enjoy my students and love to discuss all kinds of things with them. I devote energy to mentoring my students, so that they succeed remarkably well in obtaining scholarships, internships and employment. As a researcher and professor who is also happily married and the mother of two, I have a life outside academia (!), and understand that my students do as well. I encourage students to be honest about their life demands so that we can plan a successful graduate career that allows them to balance academic and other life demands in a realistic manner. I recognize that graduate studies by their very nature pose tremendous challenges to work-life balance, thus as a team this is something we regularly try to address.
The challenges students face in working with me include my intensive work habits and tight deadlines. I have high standards and expect my students to meet them. Of all my students, those who have the most positive experience working with me are those who have a genuine interest in our areas of research, and enjoy working independently and taking initiative. As our team takes a collaborative approach to research, anyone interested in working with us should be willing to actively engage in discussions and activities that may address any one of the projects underway in the lab (not solely in their focus area) and have good interpersonal skills.
At any one time I supervise approximately 10 graduate students, therefore there is a lot of group work and not a lot of one-on-one work with me. In June 2011, I was thrilled to receive the CCGSE Mentorship Award. I feel that supervision is a critically important part of my professional life (as well as being great fun!), therefore this recognition was extremely meaningful for me.”
Expectations of the Research Program
Doctoral theses consist of two or three related manuscripts in collaboration with Dr. Heath and possibly other team members, although the doctoral student is required to be first author on all manuscripts. Doctoral students are expected to coordinate their own dissertation project, which includes data collection with team support.
Master’s theses consist of one or two articles written in collaboration with Dr. Heath and possibly a senior student, although the student must be first author. Masters students are expected to work on an existing project and collect data with the team. All students of every level may be given the opportunity to participate in or lead conference posters/papers, publications, and other research activities.