Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
What does it take to be an effective advisor to graduate students? Is the student the only one who learns, grows and develops, or does the advisor continue to develop through their experience as well? In order to be contributing members of a field, graduate students need learning and development beyond the core technical competencies of the field. Opportunities for this development exist throughout their graduate studies but students do not always recognize or understand how to use these opportunities. In order to productively guide student development there is a certain amount of responsibility that must fall on the student’s academic advisor to guide the student’s growth. Traditionally, when considering the dyadic relationship between student and advisor, researchers have exclusively focused on examining the development of the student. However, the recent recognition that professional development of graduate students is central to the creation of a diverse and flexible workforce has generated several new training frameworks. These program can seek to alter the interaction of the advisor with the graduate student, which can lead to the alteration of long-standing behaviors. This paper focuses on the faculty advisor and examines the experience and related growth and development that the advisor might also experience through their role.
The authors have recently completed the first year of a professional development program being created for graduate students in science and engineering fields. This program creates a structure for students seeking to strengthen their professional competencies while they are also gaining field specific knowledge and skills through their academic programs. Nine broad professional competencies are identified for development including planning, problem solving, oral communication, written communication, conflict management, cultural adaptability, teamwork, and creativity. Through this program, students work closely with their advisor to assess their current abilities and then to create personal development plans for enhancing their skills. While the student is the main focus of the program, the heavy dependence on the advisor for support and guidance throughout the student’s learning journey encourages the advisor to also take an active role in the assessment of their own skills and development in order to better facilitate the student’s progress.
This paper presents the results of an in-depth case study of an advisor engaged in mentoring a cohort of engineering graduate students through the pilot year of a professional development program. This study includes interviews conducted with both the advisor and the students to assess the advisor role from both perspectives. Findings from the in-depth interviews with the advisor are presented to highlight the advisor’s reasons for engaging in these activities as well as accounts of the advisor’s hurdles, set-backs, subsequent development, and realized achievements. Additional interviews with the students participating in the professional development program are also presented to provide a more robust view of the impact of the advisor’s experiential growth. This paper presents additional insight into how considerations for the students’ advisors who facilitate and support these programs might also be relevant in the formation of such professional development programs.
Kerr, A. J., & Brummel, B. J., & Arnold, B. A., & Keller, M. W. (2018, June), When the Master Becomes the Student: Adviser Development through Graduate Advising Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31239
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