This is the first part of a 5 part series: Your Dissertation Committee. Before you jump into the process of receiving your doctorate degree, you’ll need to focus on a few things, such as who should be in your committee and how you’ll create a good community among all of you. The following tips will make up the rest of the Your Dissertation Committee series, so keep an eye out for these topics over the next few weeks:
1) Assemble a Committee That Can Communicate
After reading your program’s handbook to understand how to develop your dissertation committee, get an idea of who you think may work for each required slot. You will then be able to determine if the personalities you choose will be able to work well together. From this first edition of your committee, you may have to move the puzzle pieces around to ensure that you have a committee that will best help you achieve your goal.
2) Expect Your Committee to Expect More From You
Yes, your committee is there to help you, but they are most likely some of the busiest people at your university. I’m not saying they don’t have time for you, but I am saying that they don’t have time to walk you through every step. As Dr. Jalongo notes from her article, Working with Your Committee: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Sources of Conflict, the title of “Dr.” lets future colleagues and employers know that you are able to critically think, plan, and research independently.
3) Decipher What Your Committee Says About Your Dissertation
When you read the notes on your document, you may notice that your committee members contradict each other, but don’t let this stress you out. Details tend to stress out doctoral candidates, so it is very possible that your committee members have the same general idea about what they want you to do with your document.
4) Protect Your Relationship With Your Committee/Major Advisor
You might hear stories from other graduate students about how unorganized, unprofessional, and disappointing their committee has been during their dissertation writing process. While this conversation topic may seem harmless to many, it is important to remain professional and protective over your relationship with your committee. If talking negatively about your committee becomes habitual, you could get injured in the long run if a committee member hears certain things through the grapevine.
Don’t hesitate to check out other websites to learn more about communicating better with your dissertation committee.
Again, keep an eye out for the rest of the Your Dissertation Committee series, coming soon!