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The Connections Lab

Welcome back, Labbies!

So here are some bits and pieces as we start getting ready for an intensely productive fall.

  • Large group lab meetings will be Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 for fall of 2015
  • Here are some changes from last year:
    • Lab meetings will consist of either: each person giving a report on their projects for 5 minutes each (prepare in advance) or journal club (a labbie will be selected to choose 2 recent papers for the lab to read and discuss). 
    • I will check whether you tweeted and summarized the previous meeting in an e-mail at each individual meeting. So please do those things.
    • There will be increase in expectations this year. We have an experienced and large lab. We are going to aim for everyone having at least one 1st authored publication this academic year. Make things happen and take intiative.
    • 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.
    • MA2s: you will be applying for the PhD program in January. Part of that application is to have a commitment with a supervisor. We will be discussing this throughout the semester. I would like us to have an agreement to continue your PhD work with the Connections Lab or agree to continue your PhD work with another supervisor by November 1, 2015.
  • Some expectations of me:
    • Expect 24-hour turnaround on e-mails. Yet during Summers, 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.
  • Marie-Michelle Boulanger is the lab coordinator (i.e., the person who knows what is going on).
  • 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 or completing doctoral theses. Most of these things are relevant to active labbies. Undergrads and volunteers are considered active labbies.
  • 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.
  • 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
    • 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.
  • We have a website (https://www.mcgill.ca/connectionslab/), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ConnectionsLab) , a blog site (http://researchtopracticeconnections.wordpress.com/), 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 steven [dot] shaw [at] mcgill [dot] ca.
  • Follow Dr. Shaw's twitter feed at: @Shawpsych