One of the pleasures of my job is getting to meet so many students each year. I’m equally lucky to get to serve as an advisor for many master’s and doctoral students, in both official and unofficial capacities.
I meet with my master’s advisees in one-on-one appointments at least once a semester (and sometimes far more frequently!) to check in on how courses, jobs, assistantships, internships, and life are all going and to talk about plans for the future.
My doctoral students compose what has affectionately been dubbed “Team Sallee.” Doctoral advising is necessarily quite different than that of master’s students, and typically changes as students progress through their programs. With doctoral students in the first couple years of the program, my advising style parallels that provided to master’s students: we meet at least once a semester to talk about courses, research interests broadly speaking, and accumulating other experiences during the doctoral program. I also have my doctoral students complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) in the first semester of their program and return to the document repeatedly throughout their programs. The IDP allows students to reflect on their strengths and areas for growth and set concrete goals for the upcoming semester, year, and program.
As students near the dissertation phase of their programs, our interactions necessarily become more frequent. I take a structured approach to the dissertation process and ask students to approach their dissertation one chapter at a time. A student may (and probably will) complete multiple drafts of Chapter 1 before moving to start on Chapter 2. I find that by breaking the dissertation down into smaller pieces, the process is more manageable. I am generally able to turn around comments on a dissertation chapter within two weeks, though peak times of the semester may lead to delays.
The doctoral experience should not be an isolating one. Team Sallee plans outings throughout the year to allow us to have fun off-campus. Past outings have included dinners out, bowling, and mini-golf. We also hold writing retreats on a bi-weekly basis, allowing those in various phases of the program (from coursework to dissertation) to come together to have a quiet and dedicated space to write.