Discussions by Act

Session Goals

  • Share reflections from individual work on the LTW program.
  • Practice communication skills with a large group.
  • Walk-through the steps of a Decision-Making Framework.
  • Practice applying personal scripts to responding to a request to do something you don’t want to do.
  • Discuss the process for creating a data management plan for the lab.

Length of Session

This session is designed to take about 90 minutes to 2 hours including one 10-15 min break. The suggested times for each discussions are there to help you plan for the session. However, times will vary depending on the size of your lab and lab members.

Suggested Structure

Implementation Tips

  • The introduction should be quick if you have already had an introductory session.
  • Depending on your goals, you may only have time for one activity. You could ask participants to vote on whether they would want to practice the decision-making framework, personal scripts, or both.
  • It’s best to include at least one break.

1. Introductions

  • Session goals
  • Reminder of guidelines of discussion
  • Warning about potentially triggering content
  • Agenda (how the session will be structured)
  • Questions

2. Act 1 Reflections (15-20 Min)

Ask participants to share the main takeaways from watching the videos in Act 1 and completing the activities. You may consider the following prompts to get the conversation going:

  • Which situations resonated with you?
  • Which tools (decision-making framework and personal scripts) were most valuable to you?
  • Which tools will you continue to use? How will you apply them?
  • How has your thinking or behavior changed?

Make a list of the most useful tools mentioned by participants and ask them for ways in which they could continue practicing them.

3. Lab Commitment to Skill Acquisition (5-10 min)

Consider asking everyone whether they would commit to applying one skill to an upcoming lab meeting and/or class, or for a specific period of time, say one month, for all to be able to practice and master the skill. At the end of that period, have a quick check-in to collect comments and insights. For example, you might use the Decision-Making Framework in the lab meeting and/or class. At the end of the meeting or class you would reflect on how that went.

Implementation Tips

  • This discussion can either be done in small groups or as a whole group. If you do the discussion as a whole group ask the discussion prompts below to the whole group. If you break the lab into smaller groups of 3 to 4 people follow the protocol below.
  • It may be helpful to have a slide with the scenario that the lab members will discuss.
Break (10-15 min)

4. Decision-Making Framework (15-20 min)

In this discussion, lab members share something they completed on their own in the logbook with other lab members. Let them know that they don’t have to share what they have written word-for-word or share everything they wrote. They choose what they want to share.

Each group should go through the following steps. Read the following scenario:

“You have recently joined a lab and were assigned to take over the lead on a project using techniques with which you are not completely familiar. You are happy to be getting the experience, though you have concerns about putting the project and your reputation at risk from your lack of in-depth experience with the technique. You come to understand that the PI replaced one of the more experienced lab members with you—and this other person seems really unhappy about it. You are not sure if you or the PI is the focus of the feelings. What you do know is that the relationship between the two of you is strained. What do you do?”

Discussion (10-15 min)

  • Walk through each step using the DMF and share your responses with others in your small group.
  • Share some of your personal scripts from the activities or come up with new ones for if someone asks you to do something you’re not sure you want to do for whatever reason (time, interest, other conflicts).
  • Discuss which personal scripts resonate the most with everyone’s experiences.
  • Share takeaways with the bigger group (5 min).

5. Wrap Up (5 min)

  • Ask for any general takeaways from this session, questions, or concerns.
  • Give everyone an opportunity to share what worked well for this session and any suggestions for future sessions. Give the options to lab members to share additional suggestions by email.

6. Reflection (5 min)

Ask each participant to write for 5 minutes about the session using the 3-2-1 summary format:

  • What are 3 ideas that have captured your attention from today’s discussion?
  • What are 2 questions that you are thinking about related to today’s discussion?
  • What is 1 thing you will try to implement right away?

You can also give participants other prompts for the final reflection. 

CONTENT WARNINGS: Mention upfront that Act 2 covers a lot of difficult topics that may bring up strong feelings. If at any time anyone needs to step out and take a break they should feel free to do so. No one should have to share their experiences if they do not want to. Be particularly mindful about putting any educational burden on traditionally excluded or marginalized groups–it’s not the job of students in the room to educate their peers about various elements.

Session Goals

  • Share reflections from individual work on the LTW program.
  • Discuss power dynamics in your institution and science in general
  • Practice personal scripts for difficult conversations
  • Practice upstander/bystander skills
  • Facilitating psychological safety
  • Discuss the process for creating a data management plan for the lab

Logbook activities:

  • Reflect on power dynamics
  • Practice the And Stance
  • Reflect on mentoring relationships
  • Reflect on being an upstander versus a bystander
  • Practice asking the right questions
  • Practice using the decision-making framework for data management protocols
  • Reflect on microaggressions
  • Practice self-talk
  • Recognize stress and support mental health
  • Identify public and personal resources for mental health

Suggested Structure:

1. Introduction (10 min)

  • Session Goals
  • Reminder of guidelines of discussion
  • Warning about potentially triggering content
  • Agenda
  • Questions

2. Act 2 Reflections (15-20 min)

Ask participants to share the main takeaways from watching the videos in Act 2 and completing the activities. You may consider the following prompts to get the conversation going:

  • Which situations resonated with you?
  • In thinking about some of the situations that the film characters found themselves in, how could they have acted differently?
  • Which tools (decision-making framework and personal scripts) could they have used to handle the situations they were in?
  • How has your thinking or behavior changed after completing this Act and the logbook activities?

3. Lab Commitment to Skill Acquisition (15-20 min)

If you committed to practicing a skill as a lab at the last session, ask everyone to comment on how it went.

  • What did they notice?
  • What was challenging?
  • What worked? What did not work?
  • How did the lab conversations/interactions change?
  • What changes would you make if we continue this practice?

After listening to the responses, consider committing to practicing a new skill or continue practicing the same one and hold each other accountable.

If you did not commit to practice a skill as a lab at the last session, consider doing it now.

  • Ask everyone whether they would commit to applying one skill to an upcoming lab meeting and/or class, or for a specific period of time, say one month, for all to be able to practice and master the skill.
  • At the end of that period, have a quick check-in to collect comments and insights.

Implementation Tip: This discussion can either be done in small groups or as a whole group. If you do the discussion as a whole group, ask the discussion prompts below to the whole group. If you break the lab into smaller groups of 3 to 4 people follow the protocol below.

4. Discussion: Power Dynamics (15-20 min)

Ask participants to share their answers to these questions in small groups (15 min):

  • What expressions of power do you experience in your work/lab environment?
  • Is power used in healthy ways in your work environment?
  • How do expressions of power in your lab or institution affect inclusion?

Share takeaways with the bigger group (5 min). Depending on the size of the group, you may want to limit the sharing out to one takeaway per group

Break (Suggested Time: 10-15 min)

Implementation Tips:

  • This discussion can either be done in small groups or as a whole group. If you do the discussion as a whole group, ask the discussion prompts below to the whole group. If you break the lab into smaller groups of 3 to 4 people follow the protocol below.
  • It may be helpful to have a slide with the scenario that the lab members will discuss.

5. Activity: Practicing DMF and Personal Scripts (15-20 min)

In this discussion, lab members will discuss an activity they completed on their own in the logbook.

Read the following scenario:

“Your first thought was: “I can’t be right. I’m just a grad student, after all. Could an entire sub-field of research really be based on a fundamental error?” And yet, the conclusion is unavoidable. You’ve checked and rechecked your analysis, and a central analytical approach your group used in several publications (indeed, one used by scores of other research groups, as well) is vulnerable to bias. It dawns on you that the problem could compromise hundreds of related articles from other labs. What do you do?”

Discussion (10-15 min):

  • Walk through each step using the DMF and share your responses with others in your small group.
  • Share some of your personal scripts from the logbook or come up with new ones, if someone asks you to do something you’re not sure you want to do for whatever reason (time, interest, other conflicts).
  • Discuss which personal scripts resonate the most with everyone’s experiences.

Share takeaways with the bigger group (5 min).

6. Activity: Bystander/Upstander (15-20 min)

This discussion can either be done in small groups or as a whole group. If you do the discussion as a whole group, ask the discussion prompts below to the whole group. If you break the lab into smaller groups of 3 to 4 people follow the protocol below.

Ask participants to take 5 min to think of a situation in which they experienced incivility or harassment or take one of the situations from the Sorenson and Heideberg labs. They should then each share the situation and pick one to discuss.

  • Apply personal scripts to that situation for the person experiencing the incivility to stand up for themselves.
  • Next, ask participants to think of a situation in which they were a bystander to incivility or take one of the situations from the Sorenson and Heideberg labs. They should then each share the situation and pick one to discuss.
  • How could they have changed their script to be an upstander?

Share main takeaways from this activity with the bigger group (5 min).

7. Discussion: Lab Manual (20 Min)

Revisit the list of information that would be helpful to have in advance or available on your first day joining a lab from the previous discussion session.

  • What revisions would you make to that list?
  • Are there practices you could add to reduce incidents of harassment and incivility?
  • Are there practices you could add for supporting lab members who are experiencing mental health issues?

8. Wrap Up (5 min)

  • Ask for any general takeaways from this session, questions, or concerns.
  • Give everyone an opportunity to share what worked well for this session and any suggestions for future sessions. Give the options to lab members to share additional suggestions by email.

9. Reflection (5 min)

  • Ask each participant to write for 5 minutes about the session using the 3-2-1 summary format:
    • Reflect on how your thinking has changed after today’s discussion. What were 3 key takeaways, 2 things you would like to think more about, 1 thing that you were confused about or you are not clear about?

CONTENT WARNING: Since this session may reference attempted self harm, be aware that some individuals may want to opt out of discussions.

Goals

  • Share reflections from individual work on the LTW program.
  • Proactive and reactive practices
  • How to avoid career TRAGEDIES
  • Goals for mentor relationships
  • Discuss how to reset a collaboration
  • Planning a mentoring map

Logbook Activities

  • Apply decision-making framework and personal scripts to various scenarios
  • Consider different leadership practices
  • Review different collaboration agreements
  • Work on your individual development plan (IDP)

Suggested Structure

Implementation tips

  • In the Introduction remind participants that if at any time anyone needs to step out and take a break, they should feel free to do so. No one should have to share their experiences if they do not want to.
  • Make sure to go over the guidelines of discussion.
  • You have a choice of two suggested activities. Pick one or the other, or if you have enough time, do both. Ask participants to vote on which activity they would rather do.

1. Introduction (10 min)

  • Session Goals
  • Reminder of guidelines of discussion
  • Warning about potentially triggering content
  • Agenda
  • Questions

2. Discussion: Act Three Reflections (15-20 min)

Ask participants to share the main takeaways from watching the videos in Act Three and completing the activities. You may consider the following prompts to get the conversation going:

  • Which situations resonated with you?
  • In thinking about some of the situations that the film characters found themselves in, how could they have acted differently?
  • Which tools (career TRAGEDIES, decision-making framework and personal scripts, listening intentionally, asking the right questions) could they have used to handle the situations they were in?
  • How has your thinking or behavior changed after completing this Act and the logbook activities?

3. Lab Commitment to Skill Acquisition (10-15 min)

If you committed to practicing a skill as a lab at the last session ask everyone to comment how it went.

  • What did they notice?
  • What was challenging?
  • What worked? What did not work?
  • How did the lab conversations/interactions change?
  • What changes would you make if we continue this practice?

After listening to the responses, consider committing to practicing a new skill or continue practicing the same one and hold each other accountable.

If you did not commit to practicing a skill as a lab at the last session, consider doing it now.

  • Ask everyone whether they would commit to applying one skill to an upcoming lab meeting and/or class or for a specific period of time, say one month, for all to be able to practice and master the skill.
  • At the end of that period, have a quick check-in to collect comments and insights.

4. Discussion: Mental Health (20 min)

This discussion can either be done in small groups or as a whole group. If you do the discussion as a whole group, ask the discussion prompts below to the whole group. If you break the lab into smaller groups of 3 to 4 people follow the protocol below.

Ask participants to share their answers to these questions in small groups(15 min):

  • What is most challenging about balancing productivity and scientific excellence with mental health and wellbeing?
  • What characteristics would you expect in a workplace that values the mental health and wellbeing of its lab members?
  • How can lab members support each other in lab, particularly when they are experiencing challenges and setbacks?
  • What kinds of supports are available in your lab institution that support people’s mental health and wellbeing?

Share takeaways with the bigger group (5 min). Depending on the size of the group, you may want to limit the sharing out to one takeaway per group or just take 3-4 takeaways total.

Implementation Tips

  • This discussion can either be done in small groups or as a whole group. If you do the discussion as a whole group, ask the discussion prompts below to the whole group. If you break the lab into smaller groups of 3 to 4 people follow the protocol below.
  • It may be helpful to have a slide with the scenario that the lab members will discuss.

5. Activity: Personal Scripts for Managing Stress

Read the following scenario:”You are working in a lab and you serve as a graduate research assistant. Your position requires you to give direction and advice to undergraduate students throughout the semester. You have recently experienced a family loss outside of the lab. This has been an additional stressor in your life and is impacting your quality of work. Some peers have also begun to notice your change. You know a large group of students is dependent on you, however it is becoming increasingly difficult to focus.” How would you navigate this situation?

Discussion (10-15 min)

Walk through each step using the DMF and share your responses with others in your small group.

  • Share some personal scripts for communicating with your boss and/or the students you are advising that you are having difficulties focusing on work because of personal issues.
  • If you were the lab head and a lab member is struggling to get their work done because of stress, how can you be supportive? Share takeaways with the bigger group (5 min).

6. Activity: Personal Scripts for Collaborations

Read the following scenario:

“Your lab, along with other labs at different institutions, collaborates frequently with a field researcher who periodically sends you data for analysis. Although you have never met this scientist, your name appears on several papers with her because you helped with some sections of the manuscripts. But now you are concerned. This week, you and colleagues at other institutions received an email from a reader pointing out a troubling discrepancy in the data in one of those articles, which was recently published in a top journal. The field researcher, who is on a research trip in Bolivia at the moment, has insisted by email that everything is fine, but you are not so sure. After all, you think, how hard would it be to fabricate results if no one else has access to the full data set? Meanwhile, your colleagues at other institutions –most of whom are tenured, unlike you –do not seem to be in a hurry to address the problem. What should you do?”

Discussion (10-15 min):

  • Walk through each step using the DMF and share your responses with others in your small group.
  • Share some personal scripts for raising concerns about a collaboration with your collaborator and/or other colleagues.
  • If you were the lab head and a lab member is going to be involved in a collaboration, what advice would you give them?

Share takeaways with the bigger group (5 min).

Implementation Tips

  • This discussion can either be done in small groups or as a whole group. If you do the discussion as a whole group, ask the discussion prompts below to the whole group. If you break the lab into smaller groups of 3 to 4 people follow the protocol below.
  • It may be helpful to have a slide with the scenario that the lab members will discuss.

8. Wrap Up (5 Min)

  • Ask for any general takeaways from this session, questions, or concerns.
  • Give everyone an opportunity to share what worked well for this session and any suggestions for future sessions. Give the options to lab members to share additional suggestions by email.

9. Reflection (2 Min)

Write everything that comes to mind for one minute straight:

  • What is the most useful, novel, or meaningful thing you learned from today’s discussion?
  • Why was it useful, novel, or meaningful to you?
  • How has it changed your thinking?

Wrap up discussion if you have done a discussion for each act or you can do this as a stand alone

Goals

Looking at culture of excellence: what makes one, what impacts it

Expected Preparation

Have participants watch the film before coming to the session, this way you can focus on discussions during the session

Series One Discussion

Reflection