Faculty: Should you have an advising expectations document? (Probably?)

One of the benefits of sabbatical is finally dusting off to-do tasks that have withered on the list from neglect. For me, today one such task was (finally!) looking at this Advising Expectations and Guidelines from @dandanar and updating it for my students (grad advisees + undergraduates working on research). I don’t think anything in this document will surprise my current students, but I’m hoping laying it out on paper (and making it available online) will help smooth the process of establishing new advising relationships in the future. My primary goal with this document was to encourage students to ask for assistance from faculty–especially on reading work-in-progress. But it is also meant to facilitate that ask so it is as easy as possible for me to say yes.

I’m posting the work-in-progress document here to start the conversation. Faculty: Do you have such a document? Why or why not? What do you include in yours? Students: Are these helpful? Why or why not?

And for more excellent advice on things like being a good advisee, forming your committee, and reviewing work kindly follow the links! (h/t to @olderwoman for the suggestions on Twitter).

Author: michellesphelps

Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

3 thoughts on “Faculty: Should you have an advising expectations document? (Probably?)”

  1. I think the idea of this is good! Though to be honest, if I was a student, I’d be super intimidated by it. How do you use it? Do you print out parts for certain students, as relevant? Post on your website for them to reference and direct them to it? Hand out to everyone?


    1. Yeah, I get that. Shorter would be better, but the impulse is just to keep adding to it. :)

      And to your other questions, I have no idea! I just drafted today. In the past, I’ve rolled all this out in 1:1 convos and emails over time as I work with someone. I’m not sure whether it’s helpful or too much to have it all in one place written down from the get-go!

      I’m curious what folks who have been using them longer (or students who had access to them) have to say about how they’ve worked…


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