Didactic Program

Didactic Program

Weekly alcohol/addiction seminar

The weekly alcohol/addiction seminar is required for all pre- and post-doctoral trainees. The seminar provides: (a) an extended focus on specific topics related to emerging concepts, methodologies or findings in change research; (b) working meetings for trainees to present research ideas, present completed research studies, and to prepare for presentations at national meetings; and (c) workshops on specific professional skills such as giving presentations, reviewing manuscripts, and writing scientific papers. Seminar content is flexible and will be developed each semester. Each trainee will be responsible for leading one seminar session each year. Formats for the seminar include:
  • Didactic (live or video) presentations
  • Workshop-style presentations
  • Trainee-led presentations
  • Trainee presentations of work in progress for feedback
  • Trainee presentations of posters and presentations for feedback and practice
  • Journal club or discussions of latest research findings

Training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR)

Formal instruction in research ethics is required for all training program trainees. All predoctoral trainees will receive formal RCR training in the first-year Psychology Department Research Seminar. Post-doctoral trainees should complete a formal RCR training program. In addition, Dr. Witkiewitz will lead an RCR seminar series as part of the Addiction Seminar. The seminar will cover core areas of research ethics, including moral foundations of research ethics, ethical issues in research design, recruitment of research participants, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, research with historically disadvantaged populations, issues in data management and data sharing, authorship and intellectual property, mentor-mentee relationships, conflicts of interest, and scientific misconduct with particular application to alcohol research.

Trainees should expect to address ethical issues in their own research on a regular basis. They will obtain experience in the preparation of consent forms and human subjects protocols by preparing their own protocols for submission to the UNM Institutional Review Board.

Research design and data science

All pre-doctoral trainees must obtain two semesters of graduate level coursework in research design and statistics, the required courses in the Psychology Department. In addition, all pre-doctoral trainees will be required to complete at least one additional course in advanced statistical methods of most relevance to their area of research.

For post-doctoral trainees, the Steering Committee will review their prior training in research design, statistics, and data science, and, if necessary, recommend specific courses to assure basic competence. Post-doctoral trainees have a range of advanced statistics courses available, and you should select additional courses in conjunction with your mentor.

There are a number of excellent workshops/short courses that post-doctoral trainees also may take; these typically are offered 1-2 times per year. Short courses that we recommend include:

Training in Reproducibility and Rigor

Formal instruction in principles important for enhancing research reproducibility and rigor will be required for all trainees. Pre- and post-doctoral trainees should complete the NIH Rigor and Reproducibility Training Modules and additional modules or trainings as relevant to their training and career development plan. In addition, discussions about reproducibility and rigor will be incorporated in the Addiction Seminar. The seminar will cover, at a minimum, evaluation of foundational research underlying a project (i.e., scientific premise), rigorous experimental design, consideration of relevant biological variables such as sex, authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources, data and material sharing, record keeping, and transparency in reporting with particular application to alcohol research. Trainees should expect to address rigor and reproducibility in their own research on a regular basis and are encouraged to share materials and data (when possible) via the open science framework.