For Dissertation Students

Expectations for Dissertation-Related Research

Please read the following sets of expectations and norms for dissertation research prior to asking me to serve on your dissertation committee. NOTE: I typically do not provide out-of-class consulting on analysis for dissertations unless I am a member of the dissertation committee.

If you are asking me to serve as a member of your dissertation committee:

All committees:

  • You must have already spoken with your dissertation chair about committee membership, and your chair should have already approved of you asking me to serve on your committee.
  • You will be asked to meet with me to discuss your dissertation project prior to any commitment on my part.
  • I can typically return feedback on dissertation research products in 2-3 weeks.
  • I also expect 2-3 weeks lead time to read and comment on products in advance of any attempt to schedule a general oral exam, proposal meeting, or dissertation defense.

As a content expert:

  • If there is applicable coursework in the content area, you should have taken that coursework, with me as the instructor when possible (e.g., teaching & learning focused-inquiries should have taken Certificate in College/University Teaching courses with me).
  • Areas in which I am comfortable serving as a content expert for a dissertation are as follows: Women in Higher Education, STEM in Higher Education, Critical Pedagogy, Curriculum Design, Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL)
  • If you submit your dissertation research for publication, it is expected that you offer me co-authorship on any resulting manuscripts on which I have invested substantial labor.
  • I will primarily comment on Chapters 1, 2, and 5 (or their equivalent) of your dissertation.

If you are asking me to chair your dissertation:

As a Higher Education Ph.D. Student:

  • You should have extensive research experience with me through a combination of coursework, out-of-class research experiences, and/or research assistantships.
  • Your dissertation should be on a topic for which I am a content area expert (see above for a list of content areas in which I am comfortable serving).
  • You should be comfortable with a one- to two-year timeline for completing the dissertation, and be planning to publish your work. It is expected that you offer me co-authorship on any resulting manuscripts.
  • If I chair your dissertation committee and you later decide not to pursue publication of your dissertation study, I may proceed with preparing a manuscript based on the study, on which you would be invited to serve as an author or co-author.
  • You will be expected to form a dissertation agreement which sets out the specific dissertation expectations and establishes a tentative timeline for completion.
  • If I was not your advisor when you entered the program, your advisor must agree to a change in committee structure before you approach me about the dissertation committee.
  • You must consult with me prior to approaching faculty members to serve as committee members.
  • I can typically provide feedback on dissertation-related products within 2-3 weeks.
  • I will provide extensive feedback on all portions of your dissertation, and you will address all feedback.
  • I expect regular communication. At a minimum, I should hear from you once per month.
  • I must receive a complete draft of your dissertation on the first day of the semester that you wish to graduate.

As a student outside the Higher Education Ph.D. program:

  • I am not normally able to chair committees outside the Higher Education Ph.D. program.
  • If you have a dissertation chair or advisor who has advised you to ask me to chair/co-chair the committee, that may be possible. All of the criteria listed above would apply, pending an agreement between you, your within-program chair/advisor, and myself.

My approach to dissertation advising/chairing:

Choosing a dissertation advisor is an important and difficult decision, and my approach to advising is not the only (or even necessarily the best) approach to dissertation advising. Nevertheless, it is the approach I have chosen, and it is best that you know what to expect. First, if you are enrolled in dissertation hours, we will have a weekly meeting scheduled throughout the semester. We will not always use that time to meet, but I expect that we will both have that time reserved in the event that a meeting is needed. At a minimum, we will meet at least once a month in person or via Zoom to discuss your dissertation, progress, advising, and job search (if applicable). Second, you will participate in a writing group with my doctoral advisees that are also in the dissertation writing process (proposal, data collection/analysis, and defense). In that writing group, you will meet at least twice a month to review and provide feedback on each other’s work. I have found writing groups to be valuable to receive feedback on your drafts before submitting to me for review, to keep your writing on track, and to avoid the isolation that can be a part of the dissertation process.