Dissertation Supervisor Stanford Admission Essay

Todd et al (2004) investigated students’ perceptions of the experience of undertaking a dissertation and found that “a strong consensus existed among respondents that the role of the supervisor is to give academic guidance on managing the dissertation, to motivate and encourage and to possess (and communicate) academic expertise in the area of the dissertation”.However, the idea that the supervisor should provide academic expertise in the topic area is at odds with the idea that a dissertation is mostly about process.Students who undertake a dissertation will be allocated a supervisor, ideally according to shared areas of interest.Relationships between students and supervisors will, to some extent, be determined by how they understand roles and expectations, so it is important to clarify these from the outset.Some students may feel that one-to-one supervision is better, but this is not necessarily the case.According to Akister et al (2009), studying in a group kept students engaged with their topic, whereas students who had one-to-one supervision were, midway through the process, less enthusiastic about their topic and less interested in developing skills.

Dissertation Supervisor-27Dissertation Supervisor-16

Harrison and Grant (2015) claim that hierarchy in the relationship remains the default position.Rather, their level of knowledge and interest should be such that they develop a deeper understanding of the subjects their students are writing about as dissertations progress.Supervisors should have an inherent interest in learning through systematic enquiry, be student-focused and have a personality that enables them to be both nurturing and challenging.Highlighting the merits of group supervision, Akister et al (2009) note that if students plan to work with others after graduating, then undertaking group work during their studies is invaluable.In that scenario, the supervisor plays a maintenance and overseeing role while students organise themselves, help each other choose and understand research methods, share resources and discuss literature on common areas of interest.For both student and supervisor, it is paramount to invest in that relationship.The first step is to meet as early as possible to agree on principles for their shared journey.One question to address during these early negotiations – and they should be negotiations rather than unilateral decisions – is whether to engage in one-to-one or group supervision. Individual supervision may enable less confident students to reveal what they perceive as weaknesses to their supervisor, which they would find more difficult in a group.Similarly, if students experience personal difficulties, they may be more inclined to talk to their supervisor about them and their supervisor may find it easier to address them.They should not be an unquestioning emotional prop with a need to demonstrate superior knowledge in all things: that simply encourages an unhealthy dependency.Supervising a student’s dissertation is by any measure a sophisticated role, the relationship with the student being at its core.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Dissertation Supervisor”