HPM Faculty Advising – Expectations, Meeting Guidelines, Student Policies and Resources

New to Advising?

If this is your first year advising students in the Department of Health Policy and Management please arrange a meeting with Nancy Turnbull and Jen Moltoni prior to starting your advising duties.  Please reach out to Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu) and she will assist you in scheduling this meeting.

Realistic Student Expectations for Advisors
  • Be Available. Harvard Chan advising policies require that students meet with their advisors at least once per semester.  Some of your advisees might not want to meet even that frequently, while others will want to meet more often.
    •  If for some reason you are unable to connect with your advisee at all, please let Jen Moltoni know (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu) – she can help find out more information about the advisee’s circumstances.
  • You should also be available to your advisees via email, and try to respond to them as promptly as possible.
  • Be Knowledgeable.  Your advisees will expect you to give them accurate information about HPM and School program requirements, about procedures, about policies, and about deadlines.  However, you are not expected to be an expert on all of these issues.  If an advisee needs information that you do not have, or has a question that that you cannot answer regarding requirements, procedures and deadlines, please reach out to Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu).  She is happy to help you ensure that students receive the most up to date and accurate information.
  • Be personable. Harvard Chan and HPM expect faculty members to treat their advisees in a respectful, caring, considerate manner, and for students to behave in a similar manner to their advisors.
Unrealistic Student Expectations for Advisors

Some students may have unreasonable expectations of you, as an advisor. If you are having trouble setting reasonable limits with one of your advisees, or you have an advisee who  seems to be in personal or academic distress, please let Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu) know as soon as possible so that she can assist you in helping the student get the appropriate resources and supports.

  • Academic advisors are not therapists. You are not expected to help students sort out personal problems. Most faculty members are not trained therapists and are not experts in dealing with many of  these situations.  In contrast, the University has professional counselors and students should be encouraged to take advantage of those services through Student Affairs and the Harvard University Health Services.
  • Academic advisors are not tutors. Advisees should not expect you to give supplemental or remedial instruction in their academic courses. You should refer students to the Student Affairs Office for assistance if they are struggling with a particular course.
Realistic Advisor Expectations for Students
  • Expect students to be informed. You should expect students to learn as much as possible about the program requirements that affect them.
  • Expect students to keep track of their program requirements: It is the responsibility of your advisee, not you, to keep track of program requirements and to meet all requirements for graduation.
  • Expect students to be prepared to meet. Your advisees need to prepare for each visit by making a list of issues they want to discuss and bringing any related materials to the meeting.
Guidelines for Meeting with Students
  • Set mutual expectations. At your first meeting with your advisees, go over what they should expect from you and what you expect from them.
  • Make sure your advisee gets proper approvals for any variations in degree requirements . If your advisee asks for approval to waive or modify any program requirements, make sure they obtain approval from the appropriate person.  For waivers of any MPH core requirements, have the student talk to Anne Occhipinti (aocchipi@hsph.harvard.edu) or Emily Davies (edavies@hsph.havard.edu) about the process.   For questions about MPH field of study requirements, contact the appropriate field of study head (Bonnie Blanchfield (MPH-45/65 HM), David Hemenway (MPH-45 HP), Nancy Turnbull (MPH-65 HP)).  Make sure that the student keeps a record of any waivers and approvals.
  • Be pro-active.  Do not assume that students who do not contact you are those who need little advice; failure to meet with an advisor could be a sign of impending or current difficulty rather than of mature self-reliance.  Advisors should reach out to these individuals via email. Engaging them in a dialogue about their academic experiences is important.
  • Resources for struggling students. Any student appearing to be experiencing some struggles, small or large, should be referred to the Office of Student Affairs.  This Office can assist these students in gaining access to the services available to students.   Please contact Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu) so that she can ensure that the student gets the resources and support that they need.
Ideas for Topics At a First Meeting with Your Advisee

In advance of the meeting, you may want to ask your advisee for a copy of their current resume/CV. (You will have a copy of the resume and personal statement that were part of their application but these are likely at least a bit dated.)

Here is a short list of possible topics you might want to discuss at the first meeting with your advisees:.

  • Personal background: (where they grew up, where they are living, how they are adjusting to Boston)
  • Work background–talk a bit about the jobs they’ve had
  • What got them interested in public health?
  • Why did they decide to get a degree in public health? Did they think about any other types of graduate programs?  Why did they decide on Harvard Chan?   Is this a terminal degree or do they anticipate going on for additional graduation education
  • Areas of particular interest (e.g., women’s health, quality improvement, finance, etc.)?
  • What do they hope to do with the degree once they graduate?
  • What particular skills are they hoping to develop at Harvard Chan? What are their strongest skills right now?  What skills do they want to develop while they are here?
  • Go over the program requirements–be sure that they understand what they have to take to finish their degree (Use the HPM or MPH handbook)
  • Encourage the student to put together a sample course schedule for their entire program as a way of understanding when they have to take requirements and where they have room for electives
  • Talk about core requirements and choices–talk about sequencing, particular choices of courses (e.g., ethics)–make sure they know about the course evaluation website:  https://cfapp.sph.harvard.edu/internal/course-evals/.   Also make sure that they know they can waive if had equivalent prior coursework
  • Talk about pass-fail and suggest some ways they can think about using their pass-fail credits (if they want to do so)
  • Talk about other courses that they might consider given their interests
  • Talk about advising and try to establish mutual expectations about how you will work together.

Policies and Resources

You are always welcome to direct students to Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu) on any topic, including the ones below.  If you have a student dealing with any of the issues below, please  email Jen Moltoni to let her know – so she can provide advice and guidance to the student and to you.

Students with Disabilities

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is committed to providing appropriate services to students with documented learning, physical, and other disabilities who are enrolled in degree-granting or special programs, whether full- or part-time.  The Office for Student Affairs will assist faculty in making any necessary accommodations for students.  More information can be found on the Student Services website:  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-affairs/disability-services/

Harvard’s Policy on Consensual Relations

Consensual romantic or sexual relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances have inherent dangers when they occur between any Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health faculty member or non-faculty academic appointee, fellow, or officer and any person over whom he/she has a professional responsibility, e.g., as a teacher, advisor, or supervisor.  Such relationships are fundamentally asymmetric, and are considered to be unprofessional under this policy because, among other things, they may create an impression within the Harvard community of inappropriate or inequitable academic or professional advantage or favoritism that can be destructive of the learning or working environment.  Depending on the circumstances, such relationships also may be considered an abuse of authority.

Harvard Chan faculty and non-faculty academic appointees, fellows and officers should be aware that any romantic or sexual involvement with a Harvard Chan student violates School policy, even if they have no supervisory, teaching, advising, or other professional responsibility for that student, and makes them liable to complaint and formal action.

For more information regarding this policy, please visit the Office of Faculty Affairs website:  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/faculty-affairs/faculty/miscellaneous-policies/

Violence Prevention

The mission of the Harvard University Police Department is to maintain community peace, safety and quality of life.  They provide a guide that details the policies and the services that the HUPD provides:  http://www.hupd.harvard.edu/files/hupd/files/2014-2015_pis_final_5.pdf

Harvard’s Policies and Procedures Regarding Sexual Harassment and Assault

Harvard has very strict policies regarding sexual harassment and assault.  Here is a quick overview of where a student can go to get help, and the levels of confidentiality.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is committed to helping anyone who has experienced sexual harassment, including sexual violence, to access the wide variety of resources available at Harvard and elsewhere.  Some of the resources listed below will be able to keep your information private, but they may have to share your information with those responsible for stopping or preventing sexual harassment on campus.  Before speaking with someone, make sure that you understand whether they can assure you confidentiality, or how they will keep your information private.

Please Note:  As a member of the faculty at the Harvard Chan School, you are required to report any incidence of harassment to the appropriate Title IX coordinator.  If approached by a student who has a confidential matter to discuss, it is important that you reveal to the student what your reporting responsibilities are.

Private Resources These people will keep your information as private as possible, meaning that they will only share it with those who have a need to know.  For example, they may need to disclose what you tell them to the appropriate Title IX coordinator, that is, the person responsible for addressing sexual harassment within the Harvard community.  The Title IX coordinator also will handle your information carefully, maintaining as much privacy as possible.

Confidential Resources:  These people are able to adhere to strict standards of confidentiality and can help you think through your situation and options, without sharing what you have told them other than in limited circumstances.  There are a few exceptions to their ability to maintain confidentiality and you can ask about those exceptions before you speak to them.

Deans, Advisors, Faculty Members, Campus Administrators, Coaches, and Residential Life StaffDeans, advisors, faculty members, campus administrators, coaches, and residential life staff will keep the information that you provide as private as possible, meaning that they will only share it with those who have a need to know.  For example, they may need to disclose what you tell them to the appropriate Title IX coordinator. 

Title IX Officer and Title IX Coordinators The University-wide Title IX Officer and the Harvard Chan School Title IX coordinators can speak with you about your options, support services, and how to file a complaint.  They, too, will handle your information carefully, maintaining as much privacy as possible, but may need to share it with those who have a need to know.  Each school has Title IX coordinators designated to receive complaints against students, as well as against faculty and against staff.

Medical professionals, social workers, rape-crisis counselors, and clergy: Medical professionals at Harvard include licensed clinicians at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) and the University Mental Health Services.  These professionals have certain standards of confidentiality.  Similarly, rape crisis counselors, including counselors at the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR), have certain confidentiality standards.  Rape crisis counselors also are available at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC).  BARCC also coordinates counseling and legal assistance resources. Harvard clergy also have certain standards of confidentiality.

In all instances, it is always best to first have a conversation about keeping information private or confidential, and what both of those mean in regards to your conversation with the professional.

For more information regarding these policies and resources, please visit:  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-affairs/sexual-harassment/

Additional information, including a 24/7 confidential hotline, can be found here:  http://share.harvard.edu/?utm_source=publichealth&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=feb_outreach

Learning Difficulties

The Office for Student Affairs provides a Graduate Student Learning Support program to assist students who are struggling with their coursework.  More information on this program can be found here:  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-affairs/learning-assistance/

Students in Distress

The Director of the Office for Student Affairs can also meet with both Faculty and Students regarding any issues that may arise:  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-affairs/staff/

The Office for Student Affairs provides an online pamphlet regarding what to do when a student is in distress:  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2012/09/what-can-i-do.pdf

Students can also be directed to Harvard’s In Common peer counseling service:  http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/peercounseling/page.php?id=incommon

Questions or Concerns?

Please contact Jen Moltoni at jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu