The Connections Lab

Link to latest article on research-to-practice in school psychology.

PDF icon spf-10-340.pdf

More on evidence-based practice in school psychology.

PDF icon Jan/Feb 2017 NASP Communique

PDF icon CQ evidence based practice

PDF icon verve_issue_3.pdf

Link to lab newsletters:

PDF icon summer_newsletter_2016_4.pdf

PDF icon Summer newsletter #3

PDF icon summer_2016_newsletter_2.pdf

PDF icon Summer 2016 newsletter #1

 A news story on the 2016 CPA accreditation of the School/Applied Child Psychology program.

Schedule update:

·       Regularly scheduled meetings will end on April 30. From May 1 to September 1, there will be no large group lab meetings and individual meetings will be made by appointment only.

·       During the month of May, your annual reports will be reviewed with you and the annual evaluation will be made. Those evaluations are signed and delivered to the graduate program coordinator (Angela).

·       From May 1 through September 1 I will be in the office only one day per week. My primary goal is to complete the book on intellectual disabilities for Springer publications. Approximately 80% of my writing time will be spent on that project. So plan accordingly when it comes to my contributions to some of your manuscripts.

·       I hope everyone finishes the winter term well and is looking forward to a productive summer.

Labbie Information:

Welcome to the new version of The Connections Lab. The purpose of all of our work is to get better every single day. This includes not only our work; but my supervision, the structure of the lab, our work with research partners, funding, and everything that we do. In addition to the other information that is available on this website, especially the blog page entitled “how not to suck in graduate school” here are some of the new goals and procedures that we will be implementing.

New objectives and goals for 2016 – 2017:

·       The tone of supervision will be a bit more directive. So I will be pushing students to do a little bit more than they think they can. Expectations will be moved up this year.

·       The emphasis of the lab will be far more on publications in high-impact refereed journals. For the 2016 calendar year, the goal is to submit eight papers to refereed publications. We will almost certainly exceed that number. For the 2017 calendar year the goal is to submit 12 papers to refereed publications. In order to receive a positive annual evaluation, all active labbies will need to earn authorship on two manuscripts.

·       Our work is moving toward a much more Canada-centric perspective. As a result, we will be emphasizing publication in Canadian journals and more actively engaged with Canadian organizations such as CPA and CASP. Our goal for this year is to establish ourselves as one of the leading educational and psychological research groups in Canada.

·       For active labbies with a full class load and clinical responsibilities, it is best to think of time commitments to the research lab as an additional course. As such, labbies are expected to average 10 hours per week on Connections Lab activities.

·       In addition to a CV, all labbies are expected to create a Google scholar account and a research data account and keep these well tended. These accounts will help to publicize your research and the productivity of the lab. As always, update your CV at the first of every month. If you have nothing to add, then that indicates a need for increased levels of productivity.

·       Lab meetings will consist of: each person giving a report on their projects for 5 minutes each (prepare in advance), journal club (a labbie will be selected to choose 2 recent papers for the lab to read and discuss), or didactic instruction (e.g., how to write a presentation proposal, making posters, data analysis and management, writing techniques).

·       We will be meeting in late August or early September to discuss your goals for the upcoming academic year. In addition to the basic requirements from the program, department, and graduate and professional studies; you are also expected to develop and carry out two self-care goals and one goal concerning how you will support and help others.

·       Summer is the most productive time of the year for manuscript production. For labbies to meet their goals they will almost certainly need to produce at least one manuscript for publication over the summer months. Summer is also prime time for thesis writing and developing conference of examinations.

·       We have a dropbox with our list of resources and spreadsheet of projects. Let me know if you have not received an invitation to be on the dropbox. I will be creating a folder labelled “core information” that will contain essential and influential papers used by this lab as well as manuscripts and book chapters published by the Lab. Expect this folder to be populated in May.

Some bits and pieces as we start getting ready for an intensely productive summer and fall.

·       Large group lab meetings will be determined for the fall of 2016.

·       I will check whether you tweeted and summarized the previous meeting in an e-mail at each individual meeting. So please do those things.

·       Create a CV. If you do not have something to update in your CV each month, then there is a problem. I will check.

·       This September, each labbie needs to develop goals for the year. Start thinking of your goals now because these will be the focus of our first individual meeting.

·       Any link to a scientific paper that is posted on my Twitter account, I expect you to read.

·       Some expectations of me:

·       Expect 24-hour turnaround on e-mails. Yet during summer, holidays, and weekends e-mails typically require 48 hours. Feel free to nag and mock me if I go over that time frame.

·       Expect 10 working days for any letters of recommendation. I will let you know if there is any deviation from that.

·       Expect 5 working days to read and edit manuscripts, proposals, and other work.

·       Expect 15 working days to read doctoral and masters theses.

·       I can be distracted and a bit of a slacker. Feel completely free to remind and nag me. I am okay with that.

·       Remember that theses are your projects. I am the leader of your support team.

·       We will be searching out a lab coordinator for the 2016 – 2017 academic year. This person is responsible for coordinating activities surrounding large group lab meeting, managing all projects, selecting and reserving rooms for meetings, and other administrative tasks. This role can be challenging, but all lab members have the responsibility of making this task as easy as possible.

·       History: The term “labbie” was used by residents of Los Alamos, New Mexico to refer to the influx of scientists into the community during the Manhattan Project. It was first a term of derision, but later became a term of affection.

·       Labbies are divided into two groups: Active labbies—those who are currently taking classes and collecting data. Senior labbies—those who are on internship, are co-supervised, or completing doctoral theses. Most of these points are relevant to active labbies. Undergrads and volunteers are considered active labbies.

·       Neither McGill nor our programme have a social media policy. The focus is to have each labbie develop and shape a professional online presence.

·       I will be meeting with each active labbie once per week this year for 30 minutes.

·       Please send me your schedule or suggested meeting times for our individual and group lab meeting for the fall.

·       Within 24 hours, please send me a summary of the meeting via e-mail—this is a reminder of what I am supposed to do, makes sure we both have the same understanding of the meeting, and keeps meetings focused on issues.

·       Have an agenda coming to each meeting. Preparing for the individual meeting is at least ½ of the value of the meeting.

·       Bring a log of all laboratory-based activities that you have done each week. We will be reviewing these at every meeting.

·       We have a website (, Facebook page ( , a blog site (, and I have a twitter account (@Shawpsych). We use all of these for communication and dissemination of our work.

I am looking forward to working with all of you this year. We have a massive number of projects and exciting opportunities. 


Lab Social Media Policy

Students who use social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and other forms of electronic communication should be mindful of how their communication may be perceived by clients, colleagues, faculty, and other mental health professionals. As such, each student should make every effort to minimize visual or printed material that may be deemed inappropriate for a professional psychologist. To this end, student should set all security settings to “private” and avoid posting information, photos, or using any language that could jeopardize their professional image. Students should consider limiting the amount of personal information posted on the sites and should never include information or comments about clients and/or students for whom they currently serve or have served as an instructor, clinical supervisor, and/or clinical consultant. Clients should not be included as part of a personal social network, since doing so constitutes a boundary violation. Discussion of any clinical activities should be avoided. In addition, any information that might lead to the identification of a client or student represents a violation of confidentiality, which is a breach of ethical standards that govern the practice of counsellors, psychologists, and mental health professionals and training. Engaging in these types of actions could result in the student being dismissed from the program.

Separating personal accounts from professional accounts is an important task. Social media and networking sites can be critical to developing a professional development network. However, personal accounts for social networks are quite different. Most trouble occurs when these two things are blended. The program recommends that social networking that involve nonprofessional activities including but not limited to politics, family, religion, relationships, and hobbies be reported on anonymously labelled accounts.

Social networking sites are critical aspects of controlling your Internet footprint. Every employer and most clients will conduct an Internet search of you before working with you. Ensure that all content on social networking sites and other locations reflect the professional image that you wish to project.

The Connections Lab refers to a collection of graduate students, undergraduate students, and other scholars conducting projects related to school and developmental psychology under the supervision of Dr. Steven Shaw. The overall goal is to improve school functioning for the students at highest risk for school failure. Among the populations considered are students with rare genetic disorders, intellectual disabilities, medical issues, low income, behaviour issues, and other concerns. What makes the Connections Lab exciting is that we conduct high quality research, but always use our projects to help students and their families overcome risk factors to experience school and life success.

Our current partners include the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Ile (Montreal, Quebec), Lester B. Pearson School Board (Dorval, Quebec), National Association of School Psychologists, MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre/CRIR, and Instytut Psychologii Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego (Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, Poland). 

Dr. Shaw is the Graduate Program Director of the School and Applied Child Psychology program.

  • Please send all questions concerning our graduate program to [at]
  • Follow Dr. Shaw's twitter feed at: @Shawpsych