Paul Kei Matsuda

Do Not Disturb

This is a serious concern for a lot of graduate students in my field. I have been approached by many who told me that their advisors were not available to give them the kind of help they needed--professional development opportunities or advice on research and career development.

The author of this article does seem to have aggrevated the situation by wanting to work only with the star professor and not with other professors on campus who are less coveted but who may nevertheless have important insights to share. And I am disturbed by the "customer" mentality especially at the Ph.D. level. But he does, toward the end, seem to have gained autonomy through his own initiative.

Mentoring doctoral students is one of my important professional agendas, and I try to make myself available as much as possible. I always answer email from my students. I also encourage students to make appointments with me to discuss their projects at various stages. I invite interested and promising students to work on various projects with me. This year, I'm working with a prospective doctoral student for the whole summer to help him become socialized into the world of L2 writing research.

But there is only so much I can do for students who don't take the initiative to make an appointment with me or ask for advice. There are opportunities, but if you don't seek, ye shall not find.



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Last update: January 6, 2008