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Feedback: Grad Students & PostDocs

SIPS administration is interested in hearing from graduate students, post docs, and other academic staff – in particular, your concerns and ideas about balancing necessary activity with safety as the SIPS community transitions back to on-campus research and education.

Please share your comments and suggestions. Comments are anonymous unless you input your identity.

11 thoughts on “Feedback: Grad Students & PostDocs

  1. I do not feel like other people in my lab are taking the necessary precautions. When I go in to check on my plants, I do not feel safe.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this. I will be sending an email later today to the SIPS grad listserv with relevant HR contacts for those having concerns about safety. You can also contact me (ml16), Chris (cds14), or your section chair privately at any time.

  2. I feel like there is a lot of pressure for going back to the lab and producing. Even though my PI is not pressuring us, I have heard from friends whose PIs are.. I would like it if SIPS talks to all PIs to help them understand that their productivity and that of their lab members has changed and will remain changed for a while.

  3. These are both very valid concerns – policies will be discussed at the next SIPS Executive Committee meeting and relayed to SIPS Faculty.

    Both the Graduate School and the CALS administration have sent clear messages regarding precautions that must be taken by “essential ” lab personnel, and on adjusting PI expectations during this crisis. These will be reviewed at the SIPS Executive committee meeting and relayed to Faculty.

    Note that detailed lab-specific policies/standard operating procedures regarding phased re-opening of labs and research facilities will be outlined in the coming weeks.

    Michael Scanlon
    Chair SIPS DGS Council

  4. Horticulture and agriculture have an essential hands-on component that cannot be replaced with virtual instruction. I consider outdoor spaces a much safer place for meeting than confined spaces indoors. Please consider allowing some of the hands-on instruction to resume, especially those that take place outside.

  5. I would feel much safer coming back in to work if I knew that PPE was available free of charge to everyone without question. These measures only work if we all practice them as a community, and I am nervous about my colleagues having insufficient PPE/having to recycle their limited stock constantly.

    I also want SIPS PIs/staff to check their assumptions about students who might be dependent on using public transportation to get to work. The general assumption seems to be “everyone has a car and parking is free now” but that really isn’t true.

  6. There is definitely pressure to return to work within my lab. We are not being told that we only need to come into benchwork if we feel safe. The reopening plan that my PI submits is not being copied to the lab to review (in their entirety). Can the completed and approved plan be submitted to all lab members so that we can review what has been submitted and when it has been approved (by the Vice Provost of Research – VPR)? And can the communication that we only need to come in if we feel safe be widely communicated so that PIs understand this and don’t try to coerce us to come in?

    1. these concerns will be discussed at the next Executive committee meeting. I will request that all PIs be encouraged to share their lab’s reactivation plans with all lab personnel, and that personnel should only be encouraged to return to work if they feel safe

      1. Update from Chris Smart:

        before labs reopen, individual lab reactivation plans will be circulated to lab personnel, and it is CALS policy that personnel should only return to work when and if they feel safe, and furthermore, should not be encouraged to work if they do not feel safe

  7. Here’s one great resource for faculty and administrators asking this question: a group of 15 graduate and professional students collected data about graduate and professional student concerns from a survey of >2000 students. The Graduate and Professional Student Reopening Report is available on the Cornell faculty website:

    We would be happy to break down particular questions/data to get SIPS-specific metrics, let me know at and I can crunch the numbers for you.

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