Dissertation advisors as coaches

Many graduate students find that the very people they think are supposed to be coaching them–their dissertation advisors–are not doing their jobs. Many students expect their dissertation advisors to check in with them on a regular basis and to read their submissions in a timely manner as part of the advisement process. Although I can sympathize with doctoral students, you have to face the hard truth—many dissertation advisors are not good coaches! Professors have a lot to do. They do not just chair dissertation committees. Some of them are...

read more

Committee members…how to work with them

Many of my clients get mixed messages from their committee members. Committee Member 1 tells the student she is more than ready to defend. Committee Member 2 tells her there is no unifying theme in the dissertation. That she is going off in too many directions, that she needs to look at the underlying theoretical boundaries of the topic, yada, yada, yada…Such divergent viewpoints can be a continual thorn in a student’s side as she tries to write to please several people.

However, a student should not be in this position.

read more

Choosing dissertation committee members

It is very important to work with your chair on who else will be on the committee. Do not get anyone who is in conflict with your chair! Do not get another expert on the topic as a committee member. Your chair must be the only expert. If not, conflicts can come up between them on exactly how to do your research.

Get the minimum number of members required. Coordinating more than the necessary number can become a nightmare when meetings have to be scheduled, papers to be signed, etc.

read more