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Directing your M.A. Thesis

This post is for students who are seeking me to be their chairs for their M.A. thesis or Culminating Projects as we call them at NCSU.

First and foremost, I am so glad that you are considering working with me! It truly is an honor and I look forward to seeing where this goes. I must disclose that I am only able to supervise one to two students per cohort. If I ever have to choose, I will choose to supervise students whose research interests are closely aligned with mine. Before I can commit to direct your M.A thesis, do two things:

  1. Review my expectations for students I accept to supervise;
  2. Review my research interests and how do these interests could serve you.

As a junior faculty member, I am often juggling many different projects and for me to insure that I am doing a good job on yours, I want to make sure interests align.

Take a look at this curated list of topics I can now supervise for an M.A. thesis or Culminating project:

  • Women magazines in Pre and Post Colonial Francophone Africa;
  • Graphic novels and Representation of Women;
  • Black Fashion and Artistry;
  • Translation projects related to Gender and/or Francophonie;
  • Digital Mapping;
  • Teaching Portfolio;
  • ••• etc

Current M.A. Theses or Culminating Projects I am directing:

  • “Empowering Women through Sex Ed: A Literary Analysis of French Graphic Novels “(Lyndsay Lowdermilk, 2020)
  • “L’aventure personnelle d’Alain Mabanckou et la Françafrique” (Philippe Mvula, 2020)

That being said, at the moment I am currently unable to supervise topics that are outside of these topics. If you think your topic somewhat fits in the list but isn’t listed, shoot me an email and let’s discuss further!

Looking forward to working together! 🙂

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Contemplating an Independent Study?

This post is for students who are seeking to do an independent study with me.

First and foremost, I am so glad that you are considering working with me, however, I am not currently available to offer independent studies. As a junior faculty member, I am often juggling many different tasks and am not able to dedicate more time to independent studies. However, I would be happy to offer you a basic reading list if our research interests intersect. Read about my current research interests and see how they could serve you for crafting a reading list.

Past reading lists I have already crafted from which you could pick:

  • Veil in France: Theory, Literature and Culture;
  • Eco-feminisms: French and Anglophone Perspectives in Literature;
  • Transnational Feminisms in French;
  • Gender and Banlieue in Contemporary France;
  • The portrayal of the Relationship between France and Algeria in Literature, History and Art.

That being said,  I am currently unable to provide you a reading list outside of these topics. If you think your topic somewhat fits in the list but isn’t listed, shoot me an email and let’s discuss further!

Looking forward to working together! 🙂

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Am I the right person for the job?

Whether it is to supervise your M.A. project or collaborate on a project, here are a few guidelines on how I work best with people. You will find my preferred way to communicate and what to avoid when communicating with me! Ready?


You want me as your collaborator / advisor if…

  • You love a goal-oriented, focused conversation.
  • You provide assurances about input and decisions.
  • You offer input on how to make the ideas become reality.
  • You are accurate and realistic and do not over-inflate ideas or outcomes.
  • You make an organized appeal for support and contributions.
  • You remember to provide specific action steps and details for all involved.
  • You follow through and do what you say you will do.


You don’t want me as your collaborator /advisor if…

  • You tend to complain about all the work you have to do.
  • You tend to rush into the agenda; let’s break the ice/warm up first!
  • You tend to be vague about what is expected.
  • You tend to be impersonal or jump to conclusions.
  • You tend to be vague or ambiguous.
  • You tend to be disorganized.


Hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to contact me for more questions or clarifications!

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Graduate Students, Let’s Work Together!

*I am indebted to Dr. Dana Bultman’s own guidelines*

I am always happy to talk to NCSU Graduate Students about their work. First year M.A. students especially should feel free to stop by and chat generally. All students are welcome to set up a meeting via email. I advise students whose interests overlap with any one my research or teaching fields. The advice below is for students who are considering working with me. The clearer we can be about our mutual expectations, the more successful and productive your studies and developing career will be.

What you can expect from me as your chair or committee member:

  • I’ll respect your ideas, goals, personal and academic background, which initially I will invest time in getting to know and understand—so I can better advise you.
  • I’ll provide practical training regarding oral defenses and presentations.
  • I’ll advise you in detail on the technical, methodological and theoretical aspects of your research projects.
  • I’ll give you a realistic and clear evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your written work in a timely manner. If you are still waiting for feedback after two weeks, I may have been struck by lightning or simply juggling; do send me a clear reminder!
  • Note: if I am a committee member, I will not evaluate chapters of a thesis or culminating projects until your chair has first approved a working draft.
  • I’ll assist you in disseminating the results of your research. Together we can consider appropriate venues for presentations, conferences and publications, and I will review your submissions beforehand.
  • I’ll encourage your professional development by being on the lookout for special opportunities, such as grants, internal and external fellowships, and will support you in the application process.
  • I’ll be there for you to count on whenever you get stuck, but it is not good training for a chair to micromanage a student’s progress or be relied upon as the sole source of authoritative information or empowerment.

 What I expect from you as a master’s advisee:

  •  To keep on top of the deadlines and requirements of NCSU’s Graduate School and be familiar with the information posted on our Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, clarifying all questions you have about policies with me and the Graduate Coordinator as soon as they arise.
  • To take (or audit) the relevant courses offered by the people you want to work with. Professors don’t usually jump at the chance to participate in the committee of an unknown student, so planning ahead and taking the initiative to get to know your resources and possibilities in the program is important. It’s also good to employ thoughtful “upward management” skills.
  • To commit to regular meetings (twice monthly) and to develop a written “master plan” for your progress in which you list goals, deadlines for each goal, and steps for achieving each goal.
  • To manage our meeting time efficiently by preparing a list of questions for us to cover, formulated in advance. I prefer that you send these in an email before our meeting, as our agenda. We will then discuss accordingly. Our standing agenda item will always be to review where you are in your plan.
  • To be able to consider criticism, and to disagree with me and argue your points with confidence. This will allow us to not waste time with niceties and get to the substance of your work.
  • You are the author of your thesis or culminating project. With this in mind, I recommend that you keep a log of the results of our meetings. This can be done via email, sent to me afterwards as a brief recap. It will serve us both as a written record of our mutual agreements. Without it, we just have our wild and windy memories.
  • To be self-sufficient, finding out about and bravely exploring unfamiliar resources, information, and ways of working from peers, librarians and other mentors outside of classes or meetings with me. Strong efforts should come from the student to fill in gaps independently and in conjunction with the networks and contacts she or he is building.

Feel free to email me and/or stop by to further discuss!