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Ingredients to a Good Advisor. Joseph S. Francisco Mónica Martínez-Avilés Claudette M. Rosado-Reyes. What is an Advisor?. An educator who advises students in academic and personal matters.

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Ingredients to a good advisor l.jpg

Ingredients to a Good Advisor

Joseph S. Francisco

Mónica Martínez-Avilés

Claudette M. Rosado-Reyes

What is an advisor l.jpg
What is an Advisor?

  • An educator who advises students in academic and personal matters.

  • One who advises another, especially officially or professionally: consultant, counselor, COACH, MENTOR.

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Advisor: Mentor and Coach

  • Professional and personal relationship with advisors (in harmony and balance) can motivate students to work harder and provide a sense of belonging and direction.

  • MENTOR = deep personal interest, personally involved—a friend who cares about you and your long term development.

  • COACH = develops specific skills for the task, challenges and performance expectations at work.

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Ingredients for a GOOD Advisor


  • Role model

  • Enthusiastic

  • Supportive

  • Respectful

  • Available

  • Organized

  • Open door policy

  • Good communication skills

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Roles of an Advisor

  • Guiding students' research

  • Getting them involved in the wider research community

  • Finding financial support

  • Finding a position after graduation

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Interacting with Students

Tradeoffs that have to be made in each advisor-student relationship are:

  • Amount of direction

    • Self-directed/hands-off vs. ``spoon-feeding'' topics and research projects.

  • Personal interactions and psychological support

    • Do they want advice on career, family, and the like? Are you willing and able to give it, or to find someone else to advise them?

  • Amount and type of CONSTRUCTIVE criticism

    • General directions vs. specific suggestions for improvement.

  • Frequency of interaction

    • Daily vs. once a semester.

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Improving the Atmosphere of Your Interactions

  • Meet over lunch or coffee to make interactions more relaxed and less stressful.

  • Strive to maintain an open, honest relationship. Respect your students as colleagues.

  • Tell them if you think they're asking for too much or too little time or guidance.

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Advisor-Protégé Relationships

  • Find in your advisor someone who

    • Listen respectfully to your ideas, even when he/she disagrees with them

    • Believes in you under any circumstance, even when others might doubt your abilities

    • Share his/her own real-life experiences as a professional and as a person


      • Help you develop your definition of success, since success can be achieved in a number of ways

    • Macro and micro manage with balance the culture of the work place

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Issues for Women

  • Impostor Syndrome

  • Isolation

  • Low self-esteem

  • Harassment and discrimination

  • Unusual time pressures arising from family responsibilities

  • Lack of a support network

  • Lack of relevant experience

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Women as Advisors and Mentors

  • Help other women in navigating their careers while guiding them in combining full-time careers with satisfying personal and family lives

  • Universities are urged to involve female faculty members in all aspects of university life

    • Leadership and decision-making roles

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Female Advisors Empowering Relationships

  • Students learn that mutual empowering relationships mobilize the energies, resources and strengths of both people

    • Mitigate situations that bring about unspoken stereotypes of female vs. male roles

  • Psychosocial functions

    • Role Modeling

      • Model diversity in women’s lives today

    • Acceptance and Affirmation

  • Career Functions

    • Sponsorship, coaching and networking

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Students Thoughts on the Matter…

What to look for in an advisor:

  • Schedules regular meeting with individual students (as opposed to saying drop in anytime, which makes the student have to look for the professor and guess when he/she is around)

  • Actually shows up for scheduled meetings

  • Funds students

  • Encourages students to write and submit papers

  • Takes students to conferences (with a paper? without a paper?)

  • Introduces students to colleagues when at conferences

  • Points out workshops, interesting mailing lists, professional societies, and current publications of interest to the student

  • Gives the kind of help *you want/need* for finding research topics

  • Is currently up-to-date on research in field

  • Allows students to take proper credit for their work

  • Writes good letters of recommendation

  • Helps students find jobs (recommends people to contact? contacts people for the students?)

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In Summary…

In order to be a good advisor, you have to relate to your graduate students as individuals, not just as anonymous research assistants or tickets to tenure and co-authored publications. A good advisor will help their students to identify their strengths and weaknesses, to build on the former, and to work on overcoming the latter.

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  • Graduate School and Advisor Advice

  • How to Be a Good Graduate Student|Advisor

  • Women Mentoring Women

  • Mentoring