Mentoring and Advising

The Department fully endorses Yale’s efforts to strengthen the ties between student and faculty mentors. The entire faculty is ready to assist you at any stage of your Yale career and beyond. The Director of Graduate Studies serves as official advisor to all graduate students. Advising responsibilities of the DGS include:
  • • meeting with advisee during the first two weeks of each semester to discuss advisee progress with programmatic requirements, course selections, and plans for the upcoming semester.
  • • scheduling additional meetings with advisee upon advisee’s request.
  • • soliciting feedback from advisee’s instructors and sharing relevant feedback with advisee.
  • • soliciting and gathering feedback about advisee’s teaching and sharing relevant feedback with advisee.
  • • advising on job market and career paths including participation in conferences and professional meetings, job applications strategies and job interview preparedness. This will typically be done through workshops organized throughout the year. It is the student’s responsibility to attend these events.
No later than the beginning of the sixth semester, students will choose a dissertation committee. The committee consists of a main advisor and two internal readers. The department typically assigns an external reader for every dissertation closer to the time of submission. Responsibilities of advisers include:
  • • meeting with advisee on a mutually agreed regular basis (no less than twice per semester) and reading materials ahead of the meeting.
  • • promptly responding to advisee’s emails.
  • • providing timely and appropriate written and oral feedback on advisee’s written work and oral presentations. 
  • • guidance and involvement on medium-term career planning.
  • • providing clear guidance in goal setting, time management, and practical advice in balancing teaching and writing.
  • • reading job applications materials and providing quality feedback. It is beholden on you to give your adviser plenty of notice (minimum of two weeks), otherwise you will not get judicious feedback.
  • • sharing due dates and scheduling concerns with advisee (e.g. dates of travel, outside commitments and obligations)
  • • assistance in professional networking.
Responsibilities of dissertation committees include:
  • • meeting with advisee at least once a year at the end of the spring semester to discuss progress and plans for the job market. 
  • • eading and providing oral and written feedback on materials shared ahead of the end of the year meeting.
Responsibilities of advisees include:
  • • timely communication and submission of work to adviser: candidates who excel on the job market and beyond tend to be those who plan writing deadlines, keep good calendars, submit their work to their advisers in good time ahead of meetings, give plenty of notice when letters of recommendation are needed and share work with recommenders. Even when plans go awry, it is crucial to communicate bottlenecks and to let the adviser know where you are. Meetings are not just to share progress but also to discuss strategies for overcoming challenges.
  • • self-motivation, self-discipline and organization. No measure of support from an adviser can compensate for lack of initiative. It is appropriate to gently contact adviser if the meetings specified above have not occurred.
  • • openness to critical feedback: love criticism and learn to respond to it even as you disagree with it.
  • • imagination, risk-taking and willingness to explore outside of one’s comfort zone.
  • • regular attendance to departmental talks and events, intellectual generosity and participation in asking questions and engaging in discussion both in the classroom and at talks. The most successful students tend to be those who are most engaged in the intellectual work of our community as a whole. Attendance to events beyond the narrow field of research of the individual student are crucially formative in a variety of ways: by exposing students to new methodologies and relevant work in neighboring fields, by preparing them to engage intellectually diverse communities of scholars and students when on the job market, by exposing them to the work of successful scholars at different stages of professional development, by injecting ideas that can be usefully deployed in teaching and by opening opportunities for networking and collaboration. You don’t have to go to all events but it is important to learn to balance work, teaching and participation in the life of the department.