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Advising Writers for Thesis and Dissertation Success

Advising Writers for Thesis and Dissertation Success

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Few faculty members have the opportunity to reflect on the many roles that thesis and dissertation advisors play or to build skills around supporting students as disciplinary writers. This workshop gives suggestions for ways to make advising more pleasurable and productive. For information about bringing this and other workshops to your campus, go to http://www.scholar-studio.com/writing-consulting.html or email info@scholar-studio.com

Few faculty members have the opportunity to reflect on the many roles that thesis and dissertation advisors play or to build skills around supporting students as disciplinary writers. This workshop gives suggestions for ways to make advising more pleasurable and productive. For information about bringing this and other workshops to your campus, go to http://www.scholar-studio.com/writing-consulting.html or email info@scholar-studio.com

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Advising Writers for Thesis and Dissertation Success

  1. 1. Advising Writers for Thesis and Dissertation Success Photo: Flickr Creative Commons WOCintech Chat
  2. 2. To download the handouts and follow along go to: scholar-studio.com/ teaching-resources.html
  3. 3. Why think about graduate students as writers? Photo: Flickr Creative Commons WOCintech Chat
  4. 4. Writing is a constellation of skills that are necessary (though not sufficient) for completing a graduate degree. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons user WOCintech Chat
  5. 5. You may find yourself thinking graduate students should already know how to write.
  6. 6. “Academic discourse is a ‘second’ language to everyone.”(Casanave, 2014 p. 23)
  7. 7. Supporting writing is the pedagogical equivalent of universal design.
  8. 8. •Promote equity • Promote completion • Reduce time-to-degree Effective writing advising can: (Simpson, Ruecker, Carrejo, Florez, & Gonzalez 2016; Sundstrom 2016)
  9. 9. Advising Roles Photo: Flickr Creative Commons user WOCintech Chat
  10. 10. • Intellectual and professional advisor • Gatekeeper • Feedback-giver • Project coach • Affective / psychosocial support (Deuchar 2008; Spillett & Moisiewicz 2004)
  11. 11. Which roles are you are most and least comfortable playing? Which roles do you feel your advisees expect you to play? Do you experience tension between roles? Investigate See the Advising Reflection Worksheet
  12. 12. Principles for supporting graduate student writers
  13. 13. Learning to write as a part of a discipline is an iterative, long- term process. (Sundstrom 2014; Simpson 2012; Swales, 1990)
  14. 14. Students need multiple points of contact with writing instruction and support. (Sundstrom 2014; Simpson 2012; Rose & McClafferty 2001; Mullen 2001)
  15. 15. When we share the work of teaching and supporting writing throughout graduate education, we reduce pressure on thesis advising.
  16. 16. Collaborate with resources across campus • Writing center • Learning resources center • Student health and counseling center • Professional development office
  17. 17. Working with students as writers
  18. 18. Provide annotated thesis or dissertation samples.
  19. 19. Ask students to “code” the rhetorical features of writing in their field. See the Coding Rhetorical Features in Academic Writing Worksheet
  20. 20. See the Research Instrument Matrix Handout
  21. 21. Encourage writing as a tool to process reading. See Two Ways of Using Writing to Process Writing Handout
  22. 22. Writing can be a difficult medium in which to give feedback on writing…
  23. 23. For every draft, ask students to submit a summary of what they have done, and ask, “What kind of feedback would be helpful at this point?”
  24. 24. Focus on big ideas and structure in early drafts. Spend less energy on sentence- level issues unless they impede comprehension.
  25. 25. Ask students to respond to your feedback in writing with every draft. Ask them to include questions about your feedback.
  26. 26. Create clear, helpful boilerplate text to explain issues you encounter over and over in student work.
  27. 27. Create personal or departmental rubrics to help articulate what “excellent, good, and emerging” skills look like.
  28. 28. Use oral feedback as part of the advising process because…
  29. 29. …speech is fast and data rich.
  30. 30. Use Jing or other screencapture software to give oral feedback on texts. Paste the Jing links into comments in Word. The student gets a mini-video where you point out and narrate textual issues.
  31. 31. Narrate your experience as a reader.
  32. 32. “I follow you / I lose you”
  33. 33. Remember to explain what works (students need to hear this too).
  34. 34. Productive Advising Meetings
  35. 35. Encourage students to record meetings.
  36. 36. Take session notes for yourself as a memory aid and way to think through advising issues. See Advising Meeting Template
  37. 37. Use active listening / mirroring as a tool for instigating reflection and clarification.
  38. 38. “Write Here, Write Now”
  39. 39. Use meetings to go over written feedback.
  40. 40. Recap meeting highlights and identify goals and deadlines.
  41. 41. Do not accept speech for writing. (no matter how eloquent) Teachable stock photo
  42. 42. Helping students structure their workflow
  43. 43. Set regular goals.
  44. 44. Ask for weekly writing (you don’t have to read all of it).
  45. 45. Encourage the use of timed writing And free writing.
  46. 46. Help students find external structure and accountability: • Agree on deadlines • Use productivity technology • Encourage peer support • Connect with campus resources
  47. 47. Communicate your feedback timeframe
  48. 48. Recommended Reading
  49. 49. Photos by me and by permission of the Flickr Creative Commons Commercial Attribution License. THANK YOU For information about talks and workshops for graduate students and faculty: scholar-studio.com/writing-consulting.html

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