Best Practices in Advising Thesis, Dissertation and Projects for ...


Best Practices in Advising Thesis, Dissertation and Projects for ...

Linda Boyd, RDH, RD, EdD

Dean & Professor,

Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene

Massachusetts College of

Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Margaret Walsh, RDH, MS, MA,



University of California-San


Gayle McCombs, RDH, MS

Professor & Director, Graduate Dental

Hygiene Program

College of Health Sciences

Old Dominion University

Rebecca S. Wilder, BSDH, MS

Professor & Director, Graduate Dental

Hygiene Education; Director of

Faculty Development

University of North Carolina-Chapel


Explore the role of the faculty advisor

overseeing graduate thesis and non-thesis


Discuss development opportunities for faculty

who need skill enhancement in mentoring

graduate students in scholarship.

Describe approaches for mentoring graduate

students in defining realistic projects and


Outline systematic approaches to journal

selection and writing of the publishable


Total # MS DH Programs

Total # Other MS Programs

Total # MS Online MS Programs

Scholarship Requirement of MS Programs

• Total # MS Programs Requiring Thesis = 9

• Total # MS Program Offering Non-Thesis Option

• Total # Programs Requiring Capstone Project

Linda D. Boyd, RDH, RD, EdD

Assist student in identifying/narrowing topic

to something feasible based on resources

available remotely

Assist student in understanding process from

a distance

Create supportive, collaborative online


Timely feedback

Lack of experience in scholarly inquiry &

how to support students in an online

learning environment

Online advising and interaction different

than F2F 1

Strategies for building effective online advising

relationships 1,2

Managing conflict in the advising relationship 1

Institutional reward structure for thesis advising


Teaching online can sometimes seem ‘invisible’ to other

faculty and administration

Program culture supporting quality advising

Electronic samples of thesis/projects to calibrate

expectations 2

Roles & responsibilities of student and

advisor need to be clarified

• Distance students tend to have longer completion

times and more fragmented time on task 2

Factors leading to thesis completion:

• Internal strength, including independence, high

motivation, ability to endure frustration

• Self-imposed deadline or goal

• Accessible, manageable, and interesting topic

• Dedicated writing/research time

Develop learning community to provide

support via synchronous and asynchronous


Offer 2-3 day F2F thesis writing workshops 4

Overcome writer’s block, make continuous


Encourage at minimum 8-10 hours/week 4

Following the UNC model for thesis allows

for mentoring of manuscript preparation &

facilitates dissemination

• 1 Knox S, Schlosser LZ, Pruitt N, Hill CE. A qualitative

examination of graduate advising relationships: The

advisor perspective. The Counseling Psychologist,

2006; 34, (4).

• 2 Bruce A, Stajduhar K, Molzahn A et al. Nursing

graduate supervision of projects as a distance: Issues

and challenges. International J of Nurs Ed

Scholarship, 2008;5(1): 1-8.

• 3 Quan-Baffour KP, Vambe MT. Critical issues in

supervision of post-graduate dissertations in distance

education environments. J Open Distance Ed & Ed

Tech, 2008;4(1):Section one.

4 Gonzalaz-Castillo V, Cohernour EJ. The

ABT phenomenon among graduate

students in a master program in Mexico.

Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of

the American Educational Research

Association (Chicago, IL, April, 2007)

ERIC ED496237.

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