There are bad advisors in every institution of higher education in every part of the world. Bad advisors cost students thousands of dollars, many months of unnecessary toil, and, in too many cases, the graduate degree they are seeking. Graduate students are abused by unscrupulous advisors, some of whom may be ignorant of their responsibilities toward the student, some who are deliberately abusive because graduate students represent an unwanted annoyance, or worse, advisors who enjoy the feeling of empowerment over another human being.
A faculty member new to the department can make a bad advisor. He or she is probably on a tenure track, meaning their work will be scrutinized by other members of the department. I heard the following complaint typical of this red flag within the last month: When I chose her and started my dissertation, she turned down the research topic I wanted to do and made me do her own.
I am now doing my ninth revision of the proposal to do research, and she still keeps correcting practically every word I write. New faculty members may be more interested in making a good impression on their new colleagues than in moving a student through the process in an expeditious manner, and the result can be an endless round of corrections and additions to a thesis or dissertation as they try to turn out a perfect piece of work on their first try.
Also, they may never have managed a graduate student, and lack the skills to do so. Advisors do not take a class in how to be an advisor. Consequently, they tend to put students through the same process they went through themselves, and it may not have been a good model.
The opposite is the advisor who acts like a king on a throne and forces the student to become a supplicant. He is supporting 10 graduate students, and is in demand as a speaker.
It is an honor to be his student because he can really help you professionally. Advisors who have a string of publications on their records and several research projects may look good on paper, but they do not necessarily make good advisors because graduate students may be at the bottom of their priorities.
They have little time to spare, are almost never in their offices, every meeting is hurried, and their trips to conferences and meetings can keep a student from making deadlines. An advisor who fails to apprise a student of a the ground rules of the department or graduate school, or b the ground rules of their personal process for moving a student through research and writing a thesis or dissertation.
The omission of information lays traps for students. This particular red flag is hard to detect before it is too late, so the student should study the thesis and dissertation process of both the university and the department as if it were another class. There are several books about the process available on Amazon. The unspoken rules of the graduate process keep students blind from the beginning. First, the chain of command is never explained.
When in graduate school the dean of the graduate school, not the dean of the college, is the dean presiding over the graduate student. This arrangement is one of the checks and balances in place to protect graduate students from abuse. The position of graduate dean is often a part-time appointment in addition to a regular faculty role. When I was a graduate school editor I had the lofty title of Research and Writing Coordinator, but I was just an editor.
Because there was no assistant dean, I was usually the first person to hear about abuse of a student. Only twice in twelve years was it too late to salvage the situation with the help of the dean. Second, a department must prove it is a viable asset to the university. In large part, departmental value to the university is based upon how many students they graduate per year.
For instance, if a philosophy department only graduates one or two students a year, the department may be eliminated through programmatic reduction, including all faculty, tenured or not. The university adds up the cost of the space a department occupies, the overhead to maintain that space, the cost of journal subscriptions for the library ordered by the department that can cost a small fortune , classroom space, and all other costs of maintaining a degree-granting department.
If the department cannot justify the expense of maintaining the program, it is in danger of being eliminated. This is one reason departments write research grants. One would think advisors would be cognizant that the very existence of their department is on the line when they abuse students to the degree that they never graduate. Choosing an advisor should be easy after a student has taken a few classes from each member of the department, but it is not.
A bad advisor has one or more of the following characteristics after they accept a student for advisement:. They treat graduate students like servants, asking them to sweep floors, stock shelves, run errands, and do other tasks more appropriately assigned to a secretary or a paid assistant, and may ask a student to help out in their personal life by grocery shopping, cleaning the pool, or taking a car in for service.
They take credit for student work, publishing papers under their own name, talking about discoveries in meetings as if they were their own, and may go so far as to flunk the student out and then publish on the research the student generated.
The research represented a breakthrough in cancer research. In this case, the graduate dean signed the three-page dissertation himself as a committee of one, and the three faculty members were fired. This bad behavior is entrapment. They deliberately delay giving back a draft in a timely manner until the student is obliged to register for another semester.
This behavior is particularly prevalent in online universities, many of whom are more interested in money than they are in granting degrees to students. I know of seven students from four different online institutions who will never graduate because, after three or more years of working on their dissertations, they have run out of money for additional semester hours. They riddle draft after draft with hundreds of corrections again and again.
These advisors frequently correct their own corrections. These advisors want the thesis or dissertation to sound like they wrote it themselves, and will endlessly correct language in the belief that they are making necessary changes.
If the student knew what the advisor wanted, it would have been done right the first time. They demand that the student copy the exact format of the last several theses or dissertations the advisor chaired, whether it suits the content or not.
This behavior has one of two possible causes. Either the advisor is arrogant and egotistical and thinks his format is perfect, or the advisor is afraid to depart from a format with which he or she is familiar.
In fact, I read a dissertation that had only 5 pages of textand 50 pages of pictures of the wings of dragonflies. The dissertation represented four years of research. Such students often quit because they run out of money or time.
A student I recently counseled had been allowed to propose collecting data by conducting personal interviews with over 1, elementary school teachers, one at a time. In more practical terms, though, this means that choosing the right dissertation advisor can be a real headache. Throughout most of your academic life, you've probably been told that the choices you make can affect your entire future. This time, though, it really is true.
Just like choosing the right dissertation topic , there is a lot to consider when choosing a dissertation advisor. Perhaps the best starting point, though, is to know yourself. What are your work habits like? Thinking back on all the teachers you have had in your life, which have motivated you the most? Using these questions as a starting point, think about the type of person you would like to have advising you.
Be scrupulously honest, keeping your goals in mind. You might be laid back yourself, and enjoy spending time with others who share that quality - but is that really what you should look for in an advisor?
You might need someone a bit stricter to keep you on track Next, get to know the faculty and the other graduate students in your department. During the process of choosing an advisor, you should make a point of having productive discussions with as many of them as you possibly can.
It's the only way to make a truly educated choice. Ask students who are in the process of writing their dissertation about their advisors. They'll probably be glad to share information, or to 'vent,' as the case may be!
Keep in mind that writing a dissertation is stressful for everyone, but make note of any real problems that the students you talk to have come across. These tend to fall into two different categories - advisors who are too busy or uninterested to give any real guidance, and those who are demanding to the point of being intimidating. Keep these and other factors in mind as you talk to the professors in your department.
It is perfectly acceptable, in most departments, to make appointments to speak to various professors about your dissertation work; it doesn't automatically mean that you have to seriously consider them as an advisor.
You're just doing the preliminaries. Talk to them about their own research and critical orientation, and about yours. Keep an open mind. Though some 'overlap' is required with regard to your areas of interest, it doesn't have to be a precise match. However, if a professor has a strong critical or theoretical bias that you cannot relate to, you'll probably have to strike him or her off your list. After meeting with the various professors in your department, you should have some idea of whom you would - and wouldn't - like to work with.
Before making a final decision, though, there are some practical considerations that can be just as important as your compatibility in terms of personality and research. First of all, how much time does your prospective advisor have? Will he or she be able to give you timely feedback? Is she available during the summer? Second, will the advisor remain on faculty for as long as it takes you to write and defend your dissertation, or does he have a sabbatical coming up? Third, do your best to research your prospect's 'track record' with regard to advising.
How long do his or her students typically take to complete a doctorate? Where have they found employment after finishing? Does the advisor in question generally credit his students for any collaborative work that they do? Finally, get a sense of the professor's relationship with the rest of the faculty. Let's look at each. Institutions have different criteria for choosing, training and evaluating dissertation advisors.
Most commonly there is no standard at all, no special training, and no mechanism in place for evaluating performance. This lack of professional role definition and oversight sets the stage for disaster. Having no specific training or guidelines for their role in nurturing the fledgling dissertation into existence, many advisors find it easier to let their advisee struggle alone. You have the right to effective advisement: As a doctoral candidate you are a consumer.
You are paying your university for courses and for advisement, with the ultimate goal of receiving your Ph. Your university makes a profit.
A doctoral advisor (also dissertation director or dissertation advisor) is a member of a university faculty whose role is to guide graduate students who are candidates for a doctorate, helping them select coursework, as well as shaping, refining and directing the students' choice of sub-discipline in which they will be examined or on which they will write a dissertation.
Just like choosing the right dissertation topic, there is a lot to consider when choosing a dissertation advisor. Perhaps the best starting point, though, is to know yourself. Perhaps the best starting point, though, is to know yourself.
Your dissertation advisor plays a very important role in the later part of your graduate program. Your advisor will determine the form and content of your Specialty Exam, will direct the work of your dissertation, and (along with your dissertation committee), will determine the amount of work required for your dissertation. The Portable Dissertation Advisor [Miles T. Bryant] on friendlyfigre.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Written for the doctoral graduate student, this book gives you the vital support to write your dissertation when you can′t be on campus full-time!/5(23).
May 17, · An advisor who fails to apprise a student of a) the ground rules of the department or graduate school, or b) the ground rules of their personal process for moving a student through research and writing a thesis or dissertation. What does a Dissertation Advisor, Dissertation Chair, or Thesis Advisor do? This person’s official title may vary from institution to institution, and from department to department: in some places they’re called a dissertation advisor, a thesis advisor, or a primary advisor; in others, a dissertation chair or a dissertation committee chair.