Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Writing -- my dissertation supervisor

So, I have this really odd relationship with my dissertation supervisor.

When I went to grad school there was nobody who really ended up as my mentor. I took several classes from the BIG GUY in the field, but -- since everyone loved him they all wanted him to be the chair of their committee--- and he was uber busy... and now isn't there at all.. hmmmm......

When I set-up my committee I knew I'd be moving to BNstate. I needed someone who was good in e-mail... hard to tell when you talk to them or take a class from them if this is the case -- I was lucky enough to TA for my supervisor for a mini-semester ethics course a few years earlier (3 week course... aargh, my first TA experience, my first grading -- wow.. it was intense!) and I'd done well with it. He was good about answering e-mails then, and when I took a couple of classes with Supervisor he was prompt about answering my e-mailed questions then as well.

I also knew that Supervisor was smart, not too intense and was very easy to get along with -- all things that I needed.. and, of all the people in my department, he was closest to my topic, although he says he isn't well-read on it. When I contacted him, he responded promptly to my e-mail and we were off..

Now, 4 years later, he's still hanging in there with me -- he knows I teach way too much and when I contact him he doesn't make me feel gulity for the long period of time I've spent not doing my own work. This summer he's also been excellent and very encouraging of me --- even noticing my progress... which is nice. He also, very subtly gives me good advise on the other stuff I need to do to finish -- which is what I see a good supervisor doing...

He might say that I was a good grad-member of the department in that I'm not much trouble, have tenure and got another member of my cohort a job as well at BN... well, I didn't get him the job, I told him about it and used my persuasive skills to persuade the committee to interview him -- and now he earned the job himself and will start the tenure-track in the fall :).

The strange part is that I'm not sure we could have a "normal" meeting to discuss my work -- I went down there in November to see THE guy in my field speak at my grad school and we didn't meet -- 'cuz I didn't know what we'd talk about... I hope he doesn't feel slighted or put-off by this -- (maybe those of you who supervise dissertations can give insight...) but, I didn't want to waste his time when I had nothing new to say... Perhaps when I have drafts etc.. to submit we'll do the discussion face to face -- especially since Hubby will be teaching less than an hour from grad school... the meetings will be more convenient for both of us.

Anyway, I was just looking back at our most recent chain of e-mails and realized that this guy is really good... and I got uber-lucky when I picked him.

6 comments:

T-Mac said...

Well I'm happy you've got someone good for something this important...I had a similar relationship with my advisor as an undergrad. Anyway, rock on! :-)

Abbey said...

I wish there were more advisors that are as helpful, responsive, and understanding as yours.

Gina said...

You were incredibly wise to check out your advisor's emailing capabilities before selecting him. I've had so many clients who had reasonably good advisors in person, who took their leaving (even though they left for good reasons) almost as an abandonment. You wouldn't believe the stories -- emails not returned for weeks, chapters not read for months. So congratulations on having such a great supervisor.

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