How to pick an effective academic parent (aka faculty supervisor)?

I have to pick a faculty supervisor/mentor (replace it with your fav. term) by the end of my current (second) year, and I am having some trouble making this choice. I think the difficulty arises because I am under the impression this relation is a significant and lifelong one, am I correct?

I did get some help from Grover’s essays on  “Managing  the PhD Advisor”, but I would like to learn from my peers about the roadsigns I have to pay attention to while picking my academic parent!

I would appreciate if you can share what has not worked for you when picking an advisor? Thanks in advance for all your wits,wisdom, and lessons-learned.


10 Responses

  1. Before picking your academic parent as your supervisor/mentor, it is advisable to ask their existing academic children about their parental skills. 🙂

    Prior to embarking on my PhD, I read “How to get a PhD” book written by Phillips E.M., Pugh D.S., and I found it quite useful. You will get some useful information from this book.

  2. Kenny, Thank you for the information about the book and your suggestion. Do you have any thoughts if the “academic parent” of interest is a assistant professor?

  3. There’s an essay by Prof. Dan Robey about the topic of mentoring that is also quite germane to this topic. I don’t have the citation handy, but I think you can find it at ISWorld on the PhD page.

  4. Hi Jijesh,

    In my school, faculty members that have not been tenured cannot serve as the primary chair of a dissertation project. However, I find non-tenured professors to be full of fresh iseas, energy and drive to succeed. Many of them are great colleagues and mentors.

  5. Hey Steven,
    Thanks for the tip, I found the artcile.

    “Answers to Doctoral Students’ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs),
    Daniel Robey, Georgia State University.

  6. Jijesh,

    Thanks for the legwork. I’m sure many students will benefit from the article!

  7. Rachel,
    Thank you for your input. I will have to find out the official policy of my dept. and Univ.


  8. Hello there,

    While not a problem for me with my committee, I would strongly recommend that your chair not only be an exert in the field (duh), but gets along well with potential committee members. I understand that a dysfunctional committee has been the headache of may dissertators.

  9. I agree. Choosing an advisor is one of the most important steps. Moreover, the more he is involved in the research topic/propblem you study the more he can help you. I believe asking previous students about the advisor can help alot.

  10. […] How to pick an effective academic parent (aka faculty supervisor)? by jijesh on 28 May 2007 […]

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