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Doctoral Advising

Students in the Doctoral Program in Developmental Education have access to formal, intensive faculty advising, which forms a core aspect of our apprenticeship approach. We delineate the different advising roles in a few different ways, depending on what stage of the program students have achieved. These roles are as follows: 

  • Graduate Advisor: Shared by all students in the doctoral program (this person is also the Program Director) for purposes of communication with The Graduate College.
  • Initial Advisor: Assigned to students upon acceptance of the program and continues until the end of the first year.
  • Program Advisor: Selected by each student at the end of the first year and continues through the comprehensive exam.
  • Research Mentor: Selected during the research apprenticeship process, which is from the end of the first semester through the end of the third semester
  • Comprehensive Exam Committee Chair: Selected by the student to serve throughout the comprehensive exam process
  • Dissertation Chair: Selected by the student after the completion of comprehensive exams to serve from the point of forming the doctoral dissertation committee through the end of the dissertation defense. 

Though these have different names and different foci as appropriate to a given stage of the program, the are all "advisors" and can be referred to as such. Each role could be filled by the same faculty member, or each could be filled by different faculty members -- in most cases, this is up to you; however, we strongly recommend working closely with different faculty members in these roles. In truncated form, usually the "Initial Advisor," "Program Advisor," as well as the "Comprehensive Exam Chair" and "Dissertation Chair" working with you will all be referred to as "Advisor" (in this handbook, we will refer to both/all as "Advisor/Chair"). However it is important to note that there are differences across these roles.

It should also be noted that advising at the doctoral level is very different from advising at all other educational levels. For instance, at all levels of the program, you should expect -- and seek out -- regular meetings with your advisor/chair. IN terms of practical tasks, your advisor/chair will assist in course selection and registration, monitor your academic progress through regular reviews of your degree audit, sign required forms, guide you in committee selection, write letters of recommendation, and communicate with the program faculty on your behalf. More broadly speaking, your advisor/chair will provide mentorship as you move into professional and scholarly arenas. 

At any point throughout the program, it is possible that you will need to make a change in your advisor/chair (for instance, your research focus may have changed, or perhaps your advisor/chair will be unavailable to work with you on a timeline that you prefer). Please know that students may request an alternate advisor/chair at any time (using the Advisor/Committee Member Change Request Form).