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ERIC Number: EJ1002568
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr-22
Pages: 0
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Remember, Professor, Not Too Close
Cassuto, Leonard
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr 2013
Everyone tells tales about advisers. Some of the stories are heartwarming, while others are prurient, even horrifying. Most everyone has such stories on tap because the adviser-student relationship is the most crucial in turning a graduate student into a professional. the ties between graduate students and advisers are both professional and personal, and therefore uniquely strong--and tense. This author's advice is "So don't get too close." Part of what the author means is obvious. Advisers should not make their students into their flunkies, for example. The author has known graduate students who have picked up their advisers' dry cleaning. Of course graduate students should be invited to collaborate on projects that might advance their training or careers, but an adviser has to be careful to offer them graceful ways to say no. Advisers need to treat their graduate students as people without getting overly personal. "Not too close" serves as a professional caution as well as a personal one. Countertransference can transform teachers into nannies who worry more about a student's deadlines than the student does. That can never do. Graduate students are in the final stage of becoming professionals, and they have to figure out their professional identities for themselves. Advisers can also turn into mad scientists who seek to clone themselves. Graduate students know the difference between advisers who want to reproduce themselves and advisers who help students to know their own minds. That difference obtains even in science labs, where the adviser approves and pays for graduate-student experiments, and places his or her name on all student publications that come out of the lab. So do not get too close, but do not stray too far either. How to maintain that delicate equilibrium will vary with each graduate student.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A