Unavailable Advisor

Lindsey Berginski


Context: Before you begin your research, you are discussing some ideas for a paper with a professor. The professor tells you to proceed with this idea and that s/he will mentor your research. You conduct your research and return to the professor for advice during the process in which you actually write your paper, but the professor no longer has time to help you. The problem thickens when the undergraduate research office tells you that you can not change faculty mentors.


Problem: You no longer have regular help from your faculty advisor.



         Professors and students are very busy.

         Oftentimes, schedules will conflict.

         Individuals may offer a service that is not practical given their schedule.

         Regular, consistent meeting times are important to develop a paper thoroughly.


Solution: Establish meetings and a serious commitment with a professor you trust and know well. In the beginning, set up a scheduled meeting time at least once a week. Talk to the professor about his or her, as well as your, future schedules. Also talk to other students, if available, who have worked with the professor or been advised by the professor concerning research in the past. Finally, seek out a second reader in your department.


Consequences: The unexpected may happen. Do not worry but continue the process the best you can when faced with such constraints. It will work if you make it work.


Known Uses: Undergraduate Research Students