While your UROP students might work with your lab for several terms, years, or just one semester, working with your students to plan ahead for offboarding is key to a successful transition and ensures that you are both on the same page come the end of that final UROP term.
- Establish a clear project end-date with your UROPs to make sure that respect their boundaries for when they will no longer be available to work on the project. If there are pending patents, publications, etc. in which the student will be involved – be sure to establish a mutual understanding about the students availability and/or willingness to continue contributing to these efforts. Do not expect students to continue assisting with the project once compensation options end and/or they have moved on to other commitments.
- Plan for knowledge transfer, especially if the student has worked in your lab for a number of terms—clarify all items that you will need them to leave behind (e.g. lab notebooks, code and/or other project documentation) to aid you and colleagues in picking up where the student left off. Some labs find it helpful to have a new student work with you and the exiting UROP during their final UROP term so that you can transfer knowledge in real-time to the newer lab member.
- Ask for a status report on where things stand with the project—work they have been able to complete, and/or outstanding items that someone else will need to pick up once their term concludes.
- Discuss receipt of recommendation letters and the proper process they should use for requesting letters should they require additional recommendations in future.
- Plan for the return any lab-owned equipment, files, code, other materials, and/or keys, etc. that have been supplied for their use during their time in the lab.
Should you encounter any issues with UROP transitions or need advice on how to have an offboarding discussion or setting end of project goals and boundaries, please remember UROP staff are here to help!