Dissertation Advisors and Committee | Graduate School
Let us suppose that your Dissertation Advisor can actually be turned into a friend and/or mentor. That would be the best of all possible worlds for you at this time in your life. Pull out every conflict resolution skill and technique you have and get to work on this relationship. You might have to swallow a little pride in order to investigate why your Dissertation Advisor is giving you such a hard time but, in the end, if you are able to resolve the problem amicably, everybody wins. You get your Ph.D. and life goes on the way you always dreamed it would. Believe it or not, it is possible that your difficult Dissertation Advisor, the person you thought was Bella Lugosi reincarnated, can turn into your very own, personal champion. It is also possible that you just might make a friend for life. One particularly disagreeable Dissertation Advisor was known to curse his students at a distance of about two inches from their noses. Most ran for the hills. However, those who stayed soon realized that the man actually was mentally ill, but that he would become not only their beloved major professor, but also a dear and precious friend for life. You just never know what the real problems with difficult Dissertation Advisors are until you take a little initiative and try to resolve them. I think they call that professionalism and it is a characteristic, after all, to which you, as a Ph.D. candidate aspire.
Surviving A Bad Thesis or Dissertation Advisor - Editing
The strategy that is most used and works best when dealing with a difficult Dissertation Advisor is attempting to turn them into a friend and/or mentor. The reason this strategy works best is because it can be real or an illusion. You have to remember that there is a two-pronged goal here. First, you want to do good work/research. Second, and equally important, you want your Ph.D. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. However, you may have to tweak one a little bit in order to get the other.
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If a student's dissertation advisor leaves Stony Brook, that person may continue the research direction of the dissertation or thesis. However, a co-advisor should be appointed from the academic department. The student will then have two advisors, one an official member of the Stony Brook faculty who will be available to the student for research and administrative matters, and the ex-Stony Brook advisor.Perhaps the most important decision you will make as a doctoral student is your choice of dissertation advisor. Acting as a both a mentor and a supervisor, your advisor's function is to help you structure your work during what could otherwise be a long and lonely process, offering advice and critical feedback, and generally keeping you on track. That's not all, though - your relationship with your advisor is often an entree into academic circles, a way of making helpful contacts and establishing yourself professionally - it is a system of nurturing and mentoring that is as old as academia itself, and is unique to scholarly work. Advisor problems arise from three sources: First, doctoral programs do not adequately define the role of the dissertation advisor. Second, advisors are not motivated to help you. Third, doctoral candidates lack assertiveness in obtaining the services for which they pay. Let's look at each. There are rarely any guarantees regarding the choice of a dissertation advisor, yet this individual is in a position to profoundly affect your future as an academic. It's up to you to approach this issue with maturity, forethought and reflection. Don't be pressured, don't be shy, and don't underestimate the importance of choosing the right dissertation advisor!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 , 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? Why? 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... or the reverse might be true; if you tend to be tense or anxious about your work, you might benefit from an advisor who can help you put things in perspective.Sorry. That one doesn't work at all! You can weep all you want - sob for hours, days, or weeks - and you still have to do your dissertation, and you still have the same Dissertation Advisor, and he or she still hates you, your research, and your dissertation. The falling apart thing might get you a prescription from your doctor but, in the end, that doesn't work either because it not only costs you money - but produces the same end result: you still have to do your dissertation, and you still have the same Dissertation Advisor, and he or she still hates you, your research, and .If you are reading this, you are a post-graduate student and convinced that your Dissertation Advisor hates you. You are already into the dissertation process and the pages of your early drafts are covered in either red ink or, you suspect, blood - because the look in your Dissertation Advisor's eyes is suspiciously like the look you have seen in the eyes of Bella Lugosi, in late-night television horror movies. You keep telling yourself you are a brave and courageous, adult professional. It isn't working. All it takes is the thought of your Dissertation Advisor for you to be instantly transported back to the insecurities of a first-grader on the first day of school. This will never do. There is no way you can survive two, or more, years of this. Something has to be done!Chances are, there is someone on your Committee whom you like and trust. Taking your problem to them is a good option. You might be able to work something out so that they can take over as your Dissertation Advisor without causing too much of a fuss. If your Dissertation Advisor truly doesn't like you, or doesn't like your work, they would probably be as happy to get rid of you as you would be to get rid of them.