Dr. Michael Marsiske
UF Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
2012-2013 UF Doctoral Mentoring Award Winner
I was surprised and honored to be nominated by three of my former and current students for this award. For me, mentorship and work with doctoral students is the “fuel in my furnace”. Work with doctoral students keeps one’s research current, future-focused, generative, and collegial. There is something exciting about building a team to advance science and scholarship. Consequently, I find work with doctoral students to be sufficiently intrinsically rewarding that I would never expect to receive further recognition for it. The fact that this nomination came unbidden from my students makes it even more rewarding.
As a biographical statement, my Ph.D is in Human Development and Family Studies (Penn State). I consider myself a life-span developmental psychologist and methodologist; I have been appointed in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology and the Institute on Aging at UF since 2000. My teaching is mostly at the graduate level, and includes a mix of statistics/research design and coursework in my substantive area (life-span developmental psychology). I have been continuously funded, as Principal Investigator, from the National Institute on Aging since 1996. I have further served as a co-investigator on over $100 million in federally funded research. I have been funded for the past 10 years with an NIH T32 institutional predoctoral grant, which has enabled us to fund and train over 20 doctoral students with aging research interests.
In this statement, I strive to address the following topics: (1) Mentoring philosophy; (2) Record of accomplishment with students in my laboratory; (3) Institutional training grant and mentoring beyond my laboratory; (4) Research design, measurement and statistics mentoring of multiple doctoral cohorts.
My general approach to mentoring of doctoral students encompasses the following key ideas. First, mentoring must be goal-directed and driven by the student’s aspirations. In our T32 predoctoral training program in aging, we have tri-annual student meetings in which students articulate their goals (research, coursework/teaching, service), and we evaluate strategies and progress. We always begin the meeting, however, with a discussion of the “meta-goal”. This asks “Where do you want to go? What are we working toward?” We revisit this meta-goal at every meeting, to acknowledge that it is dynamic and can evolve. At the same time, the purpose of the emphasis on the meta-goal is to ensure that our mentoring is student-driven. The student who aspires to a clinical leadership position needs a very different set of experiences than the student who seeks to become an NIH-funded researcher. I have worked very hard to eschew “one size fits all mentoring”, and to tailor our training plans to the needs and plans of each student.
Second, mentoring should help in the development of tools and skills, since these will sustain the graduate through many changes that follow. One of my own doctoral mentors at Penn State advised me to stop taking substantive courses as soon as possible. “Knowledge becomes obsolete quickly, and your interests will change dramatically as your career progresses,” he said. Instead, he said, the role of graduate training was to emphasize the development of a toolkit (statistics and data analysis; groundedness in theory; well-honed information seeking skills that permit one to extract critical information from the research literature in a highly efficient manner). I confess that I have stolen this guidance and used it with my own students. “Take this opportunity to build your tool kit” is a mantra I frequently express.
Third, mentoring is about establishing a record of accomplishment that feeds the career trajectory. Regardless of the student’s meta-goal, graduate school must build a record of exceptional accomplishment in the student’s areas of activity. The clinician should acquire a strong diversity of assessment and intervention cases with a wide variety of potential clients. The clinical record should show a wealth of practicum hours, and the practicum evaluations should evince mastery and growth of the clinical repertoire. In research, records of steady
publication in high-impact journals, with a mix of first- and later-authored papers, is essential. In addition, application for funding at the student level is a marker of promise as a researcher, as is participation in key workshops and conferences. We regularly review the student’s curriculum vitae regarding these productivity outcomes, taking the eye of prospective future employers. My job as mentor is to always remind students that each day is an opportunity to build the productivity record to support their future goals.
Fourth, mentoring enriches the mentor and the community of faculty more than any other activity. This last idea undoubtedly sounds trite, but I find student mentoring is the binding force of an engaged faculty. In both our T32 program and our Department, mentor meetings to discuss students are a consistent reason to bring faculty together; in the process, shared research interests invariably are discussed, and future collaborations are formed. In both the T32 program and Department, our training needs lead to the continuing existence of weekly colloquia and seminars; this brings faculty together to hear about and discuss research, and these are pillars of the academic community. At the individual level, student interests have consistently led me to read new authors, acquire new experimental paradigms, and learn new data analysis approaches. Students continually propel the mentor forward, and they are therefore the surest antidote against stagnation.
Doctoral students in my laboratory
I have been pleased to have exceptional outcomes with the students trained in my laboratory. Starting at Wayne State University (where I served as Assistant Professor from 1995-2000), and continuing at UF, I have been privileged to work with many top students.
• Jennifer Margrett (Psychology, Wayne State University); currently Associate Professor ofHuman Development and Family Studies and Director of the Gerontology Center, Iowa State University
• Jason Allaire (Psychology, Wayne State University); currently Associate Professor of Psychology, North Carolina State University; recipient of multiple NIH funding awards
• Karin J. M. McCoy (Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently Internship Director, Veteran’s Administration, San Antonio TX
• Vonetta Dotson (co-Chair; Clinical and Health Psychology, University ofFlorida); currently Assistant Professor, Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida;NIH and McKnight Brain Research Foundation funding recipient; NIA Pepper Center Scholar
• Sarah M. Cook (Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Medical Psychology, Duke University
• Adrienne T. Aiken-Morgan (Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently postdoctoral fellow, Aging and Human Development, Duke University
• Patricia Belchior (co-chair, Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Florida); currently Assistant Professor, Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University; recipient of Robert Wood Johnson “Pioneer Fund: Health Games” grant
• Shannon M. Sisco (Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently Psychologist, North Florida/South Georgia Veteran’s Affairs Adminstration
• Joseph M. Dzierzewski (co-Chair; Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently postdoctoral fellow, VA of greater Lost Angeles
• Anna Yam (Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently enrolled (see letter in this application packet)
• Kelsey R. Thomas (Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently enrolled
• Jacqueline Maye (Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida); currently enrolled
As noted above, I strongly believe in an “empowerment” model with students, and I encourage them to pursue funding while in graduate training. In addition to three recipients of funding to enhance diversity (see below), my students have generally successfully competed for student fellowship and scholarship awards while in training with me:
• Jennifer Margrett, co-PI, R03, National Institute on Aging
• Jason Allaire, AARP/Andrus Foundation Fellowship winner for dissertation research
• Vonetta Dotson, PI, diversity enhancement R03, National Institute on Aging
• Sarah M. Cook, AARP graduate scholarship
• Adrienne T. Aiken-Morgan, Diversity supplement recipient and PI, R36, National Institute on Aging
• Patricia Belchior, Diversity supplement recipient, National Institute on Aging
• Shannon M. Sisco, Kirchstein NRSA (F31) recipient, National Institute on Aging
• Joseph M. Dzierzewski, Kirchstein NRSA (F31) recipient, National Institute on Aging
I have been a strong contributor to institutional training, at three levels. First, I have been very active in doctoral supervision, above and beyond my own students. Since 2000 at UF, I have served on a total of 55 doctoral committees (chair/co-chair on 8) and 27 masters committees (chair/co-chair on 7). Second, from 2008-2011, I served as an elected member of Graduate Council at UF, and was responsible (with my committee members) for reviewing proposals for new, amended, or sunset masters and doctoral programs.
Third, as noted above, since 2003, I have directed an Nlli funded institutional predoctoral training program in aging. The record of trainees, including their subsequent accomplishments follow below. I have been very hands-on, and have served on the mentoring committees of most of these students. There has been a strong emphasis on diversity. Six (26%) of23 trainees were members of under-represented minorities. Dates below represent years in our training program.
As the list below shows, most have gone on to research and/or academic careers; many have achieved independent funding from NIH, as noted.
• Sarah Cook, 2003-2008, Clinical and Health Psychology, Now Assistant Professor of Neurology, Duke University
• Angelinia Semegon, 2003-2006, Psychology, now Instructor Santa Fe College;NIHgrant recipient F31 AG 021877-02
• Vonetta Dotson, 2004-2006, Clinical and Health Psychology, now Assistant Professor, Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida. NIH funding R03 AG024539-01; U01 AG022376-Supplement; McKnight Brain Research Foundation
• Jacqueline Baron, 2004-2010, Psychology, now Research Scientist, Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
• Alissa Dark-Freudeman, 2004-2010, Psychology, now Assistant Professor, Psychology, UNC Wilmington; NIH grant recipient F31 AG 031832
• Amanda Floetke-Elliot, 2005-2006, Nursing, now Assistant Professor, Nursing, University of South Florida;fundingfrom Lucille Beeson Trust; Prevent Blindness America
• Joseph Dzierzewski, 2006-2011, Clinical and Health Psychology, now Advanced Postdoctoral fellowship, Greater Los• Angeles VA System GRECC; NIH grant recipient F31AG032802-02
• Kristina Aennle, 2006-2009, Neuroscience; now Research Chemist, Department of
Veterans Affairs Medical Center Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center
• David Stigge-Kaufman; Clinical and Health Psychology; now Assistant
• Professor, Psychology, St. Louis University; Funding from National Academy of
• Megan Witte, 2007-2008, Rehabilitation Sciences, now in private practice
• Shannon Sisco, 2008-2011, Clinical and Health Psychology; now Psychologist in North Florida/South Georgia VA System; NIH funding F31 AG 034002
• Utaka Springer, 2008-2009; Clinical and Health Psychology; now Post-doctoral fellow, VA Northern California Health Care System (Martinez, CA)
• Erin Hastings, 2009-2011; Psychology, now Research Study Coordinator, Movement Disorders, University of Florida
• Catherine Marcinkiewcz, 2009-2010; Psychology; now Postdoctoral fellow, University ofNorth Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Sandra Mitchell, 2009-2011, Clinical and Health Psychology; now Postdoctoral fellow, University of New Mexico I Albuquerque VAMC
• Laura Zabodne, 2009-2011, Clinical and Health Psychology; now Clinical intern, Brown University; NIHfunding F32 NR 013817
• Anna Yam, 2009-present, Clinical and Health Psychology, currently enrolled
• Torrance Higgins; 2007-present; Applied Physiology & Kinesiology; currently enrolled
• Zvinka Zlatar; 2005-present; Clinical and Health Psychology; now Postdoctoral fellow, University of California San Diego; NIH funding U01 AG022376-Supp/ement
• Wajiha Akhtar, 2010-present; Epidemiology; currently enrolled
• Matthew Cohen, 2007-present; Clinical and Health Psychology; currently enrolled
• Daniel Kay, 2009-present; Clinical and Health Psychology; currently enrolled
• Kelsey Thomas, 2008-present; Clinical and Health Psychology; currently enrolled
Training in research design, measurement and statistics
Finally, since 2001, I have served as graduate instructor for four graduate statistics/methodology/design/measurement courses. This is in addition to other coursework I have taught in aging. I emphasize the statistics teaching, because it is the nature of my classes that actively work with and mentor students in their own research. In the first two courses, students actually prepare and present their Masters thesis proposal, and I assist in conceptualization of design and analysis. In the latter two courses, I provide instruction in advanced data analysis, and I work with students to apply methods to their own data. This has resulted in a large number of theses/dissertations and published manuscripts. As such, we conceptualize this courses as advancing the research agenda of our department in general. For these courses, I have won my department’s “Classroom Teaching Award” in six of the last 11 years, and the “Doctoral Mentoring” Award in two other years. Across classes, I have had a total of 852 student enrollments (some took all four courses). This course enables me to contribute directly to one of my four key philosophical principles: “mentoring should help in the development of tools and skills”
CLP 6527/6528 (4 credits each, Fall/Spring 2003-2012, annual) Measurement, Design and Statistics I /11. Topics include scientific method, internal and external validity, principles guiding the design, conduct, and evaluation of measures, and interpretation and dissemination of statistical results, distributions and central tendency, inference making, general linear model and its embedded simple statistical procedures (evaluation and comparison means, correlation, regression, one- and multi-way analyses of variance with both between- and within-subjects factors), robust and non-parametric methods, power analysis, logistic regression/odds ratios and associated designs, and reliability theory (evaluation of reliability and validity, scale construction, item analyses).
CLP 6529 (3 credits, Spring 2001, 2003,2005, 2007, 2009; Annual in Fall from 2009-2012) Applied Multivariate Methods in Psychology. This is an advanced graduate methods course. The course provides detailed instruction in MANOVA, repeated measures analyses, discriminant functions, mixed effects models, factor analysis, and structural equation modeling.
CLP 7525 (3 credits, Spring 2008, 2010, 2012) Best Methods for the Analysis of Change. This is an advanced graduate methods course which focuses on the analysis of change in repeated measures (i.e., longitudinal, intervention, and intensive longitudinal) designs. Techniques considered include reliable change, standard error of measure, the multi-level model for change, structural equation approaches to lower- and higher-order growth models, and survivaVevent history analyses.