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PhD Seminar Choosing an Advisor Jeff Offutt http://www.ise.gmu.edu/~offutt/
© Jeff Offutt2 The Advisor-Student Relationship The choice of your advisor is one of the most important decisions of your life The advisor-student relationship is lifetime You must be mutually respectful, professional, and be comfortable with each other You have a two-variable optimization problem: 1.Advisor 2.Thesis topic Both variables are equally important
© Jeff Offutt3 Student Motivation and Management Fear Caresses Carrots By example Advisors have different ways to motivate students: What works best for you? What is most comfortable for you?
© Jeff Offutt4 Publishing Issues How good is your advisor at writing? –Can your advisor complement your writing? –Can your advisor teach you what you do not know? Does your advisor publish much with students? Who does most of the writing? Where does your advisor publish? What order of authors does your advisor use?
© Jeff Offutt5 Practical Concerns Is your advisor research active (publishing)? How many students has your advisor graduated? Will your advisor be here until you finish? Does your advisor have funding? How responsive is your advisor? How long do your advisors students take to finish? Where do your advisors students work now?
© Jeff Offutt6 Junior vs Senior Faculty Junior faculty typically: –Work harder on research –Are more anxious to publish –Have more time for students –Need to graduate students Senior faculty typically: –Get more done with less effort –Have more funding –Have more experience advising students –Have a track record that can be evaluated –Expect more independence
© Jeff Offutt7 Standing in the Field Is your advisor known in his or her field ? –Do you want to work within your advisors core area of competence ? –If not, how far away ? Does your advisor –Serve on conference program committees ? Program chair? –Journal editorial boards ? Editor-in-chief? –Regularly review papers ? Does your advisor have contacts that can help you in your future career ?
© Jeff Offutt8 Advisors Responsibilities Technical issues How to write papers How to make presentations How to interact with other members of the profession How to write proposals University faculty are measured by the quality of their students work
© Jeff Offutt9 The Role of the Committee Form the committee for the research, not the comps The committee should be people who: –Can contribute technically to your thesis –Will proactively read your thesis and offer helpful advice –Won't give you too much of a hard time (ie, won't fight with your advisor) –Will be able to help your future career (ie, with reference letters, etc) –You can talk to comfortably (perhaps regarding complaints about your advisor)
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