Norms for meetings and feedback with dissertation supervisors?
Norms for meetings and feedback with dissertation supervisors?

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In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

I’m wondering how much feedback others get from their supervisors and also how much they expect from you and your work. I’ve talked to others both in philosophy and outside, and I am very surprised to hear from a lot of people, mostly those from outside philosophy, that they get fairly little feedback, sometimes just once a year with committee meetings, and also often requiring fairly little revision at all. Are the expectations in philosophy much higher than other fields? Are they healthy?

Good questions! My sense is that there may be a lot of variance. I didn’t meet terribly often with my dissertation supervisor, who was pretty content with me working independently at my own pace–and though I got helpful feedback from him, I don’t recall it being a ton, and I was happy with this. On the other hand, I had another committee member (Jerry Gaus) who would give tons of feedback, which was great but could also be pretty overwhelming. But I’m curious to hear from others.

Another reader submitted the following reply:

I started with meeting with my supervisor roughly every two weeks for the first two years. The supervision was mainly about honing my writing skills such that I a) write on topics my supervisor believes to be worth writing on, and b) write in a way that, roughly paraphrasing my supervisor, won’t lead to a straight rejection from editors or reviewers upon finishing the first or second page of the manuscript. After the first two years, it’s pretty much meet whenever I have a draft or revision of a manuscript ready, roughly every 1-3 months. I think compared to some other graduate schools, my supervisor (and others in the department) are rather hands on. I’m not sure whether this works for everyone, but it surely worked for me in terms of publication quantity and quality, and in finding a job. Philosophical writing is, from my own point of view, extremely difficult unless one is innately blessed or properly trained. (Hint: I don’t belong to the former group, if such people exists at all.)

Any other readers care to weigh in? How much did you/do you meet with your supervisor, and what are their expectations/feedback like? Do you think the expectations are healthy and/or higher than other fields?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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