Dissertation advisor kritsonis


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Dissertation advisor kritsonis

  1. 1. NATIONAL JOURNAL: FOCUS ON COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, AND SCHOOLS VOLUME 2 NUMBER 1, 2008 Functions of the Dissertation Advisor William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Professor PhD Program in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University Member of the Texas A&M University System Prairie View, Texas Visiting Lecturer (2005) Oxford Round Table Oriel College in the University of Oxford Oxford, England Distinguished Alumnus (2004) Central Washington University College of Education and Professional Studies Ellensburg, Washington ABSTRACT This article provides helpful suggestions for dissertation chairs for doctoral dissertation. The content was developed from numerous discussions with colleagues, doctoral candidates, graduates, personal reading along with reviewing the literature at various websites pertaining to doctoral studies. The primary purpose of this article is to establish some general guidelines and functions for doctoral dissertation advisors. ________________________________________________________________________ Introduction Those who succeed in academic scholastic writing at the advanced levels typically write an excellent doctoral dissertation. In writing a dissertation there appears to be an enjoyment of the constant flowing of ideas. At the doctoral level mentors are critically important in helping their students complete the dissertation, and later in getting students published at the national level in refereed, juried, peer-reviewed scholarly journals. 1
  2. 2. NATIONAL JOURNAL: FOCUS ON COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, AND SCHOOLS 2_____________________________________________________________________________________ Purpose of the Article The purpose of this article is to establish some basic functions of the dissertation advisor. Hopefully, the suggestions will help others in the doctoral advisement process. The Functions of the Doctoral Dissertation Advisor The following suggestions are functions of a dissertation advisor: 1. Keep a folder for each doctoral student. This will give you the opportunity to review previous and current work completed by the student. It will give you the opportunity to review your own comments. Reviewing the fold periodically enables me to firmly grasp what student’s are most concerned with in conducting their research. 2. Keep track of emails that you send. Make certain that you communicate to students frequently. Not communicating with doctoral students shows disrespect. 3. Establish a personal relationship with your doctoral student advisees. Being a mentor is a very serious responsibility. See each of your students as people. They have goals and aspirations just as you do. 4. Develop your own style in dissertation advising. The best way to develop your own style is by doing it. 5. Be positive in working with doctoral students on their dissertations. Make certain to provide feedback that is constructive and useful. 6. Know your strengths, attributes, weaknesses, and limitations. 7. Do your homework in working with each advisee. 8. Think about your own dissertation experience. Avoid any mistakes that were made. Incorporate effective strategies that work. 9. Encourage advisees to document what they want to do as a dissertation. 10. Strive to make a difference as an advisor to your advisee. 11. Make your presence matter in the life of the doctoral student.
  3. 3. WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS _____________________________________________________________________________________3 12. Accept the responsibility of doing a good job. 13. Study the dissertation topic your advisee is interested in developing. 14. Accept the fact that you know more about writing a dissertation than your doctoral students. 15. As an advisor, recognize the time when the dissertation topic must be revised or changed. 16. Be ready to suggest to your advisee they need to shift their research time to other areas of the dissertation if you see them bogging down. 17. Do not hesitate to tell the advisee they need to put more effort into their dissertation. 18. Make certain to realize as an advisor that there are many different strategies for writing a doctoral dissertation. 19. Encourage doctoral students to talk with others writing their dissertation. They often can provide practical feedback and encouragement. 20. Encourage doctoral students to communicate with others in different departments and colleges that are writing dissertations. 21. Encourage advisees to explore other ideas beyond your own suggestions. 22. Tell your advisees how you like to work with them. If you need to work from an outline – tell the advisee. Let advisee’s know your work habits. 23. Remember, it is the advisee’s dissertation – not yours. 24. If serving as an advisor to a dissertation is new to you, try to work with a colleague that has successful experience. 25. Be supportive of the advisee’s work. Use specific example’s in telling advisee’s their work is good. 26. Point out where the work is good. Point out where the work needs improvement. 27. Make certain you develop the habit of getting things back to students in a timely manner. By doing so, the advisee will keep focused on what they were working on.
  4. 4. NATIONAL JOURNAL: FOCUS ON COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, AND SCHOOLS 4_____________________________________________________________________________________ 28. Read dissertation chapters at your earliest convenience. Do not let too much time pass. You are a busy person. Your advisee is a busy person. Establish with the advisee time lines and meet them. 29. Encourage students to contact you if you have taken too long to respond to them. 30. As an advisor, gives lots of suggestions. Be specific, exact, concise, detailed, and comprehensive in your advising. 31. Always strive to be positive and enthusiastic in working with students on their dissertation. Be cheerful, optimistic, and helpful. 32. As an advisor, you are there to help. Help as much as you possibly can. Remember, however, it is the advisee’s dissertation. 33. Encourage your doctoral students. Give them the responsibility to meet deadlines. 34. Encourage your doctoral students to talk with their committee members. Advisees can practice explaining their dissertation topics. Perhaps other committee members suggest other approaches or a new study altogether. When this happens, meet with the advisee. Perhaps you will agree or disagree. Keep the dialogue open. 35. Maintain a professional relationship with each doctoral student. 36. Make positive suggestions on their dissertation. Direct them to relevant sources of information. 37. Remember it is their dissertation. They must do the work. 38. It is your duty to encourage them to do the work that must be done to have a quality dissertation. 39. Be available. If this means meeting with doctoral students at your home, at a restaurant, do it. The important thing to remember is to help them achieve their goals in completing the dissertation. 40. As a leader, know your leadership style and most importantly know your advisee style. Some advisee need a lot of attention/directions, while others are self- directive. Be adaptable. 41. Don’t be afraid to tell an advisee when they are wasting time on something that won’t work or is not relevant. The advisee shouldn’t here this for the first time in their proposal defense.
  5. 5. WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS _____________________________________________________________________________________5 42. In giving directions to your advisee, constantly prepare them for their proposal defense. This will keep them focus on the relevant things. 43. Don’t take on the job as advisor if you don’t intend to make it a priority. 44. You want your students to tell you “I like the way your are always available, keep up the good work.” 45. The doctoral student and advisor should consult someone other than the student’s committee members for the need for special advising or expertise. 46. Provide your advisee with a dissertation topic. 47. Try to obtain adequate funding for your advisee’s research. 48. Link students with similar dissertation topics together 49. Consider or recommend doctoral students for university responsibilities such as: A) Facilitating classes when professors are unavailable. B) Giving examination at distance learning facilities 50. Coordinate an orientation with refreshing information on the PhD program. 51. Have knowledge of the university functions and the ability to inform the advisee. Concluding Remarks In conclusion, the purpose of this article was to establish some general functions of a dissertation advisor. There are numerous functions of a dissertation advisor. Perhaps you can add to the list. My intention was to provide some general guidelines and functions for thoughtful consideration. References Dave, R. (2007 December). Quality time with your dissertation. Retrieved December 4, 2007, from the Association for Support of Graduate Students Website: http://www.asgs.org/
  6. 6. NATIONAL JOURNAL: FOCUS ON COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, AND SCHOOLS 6_____________________________________________________________________________________ Eastwood, J.S. (2000). Comprehensive editing. Retrieved December 3, 2007, from www.jeastwood.com Jensen, S. (2000). Dissertation news. Retrieved December 3, 2007, from http://www.dissertationdoctor.com