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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!