Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP): Each student in the Ph.D. program must attend a total of 15 doctoral mentoring program sessions before defending his or her dissertation. The mentoring program is central to the community of scholarship at CPAP. Three DMP sessions are scheduled each semester, for a total of six each year. Students can earn DMP credits for attending additional lectures, round tables, and sessions identified as appropriate for DMP credit but students must attend at least 10 of the regularly scheduled DMP sessions, and no more than five alternative sessions. Students are encouraged to attend the DMP throughout their studies, even after reaching 15 sessions.
Recognizing the importance of developing academic-collegial relationships within the CPAP community, the Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP) was instituted to maximize the student learning experience. The DMP is constituted of two distinct activities, the DMP meetings and faculty advising.
The DMP satisfies the 3-credit Pro-seminar requirement for the Ph.D. degree program. Attendance is required at a minimum of 15 DMP meetings in order to satisfy the Doctoral Pro-seminar requirement for the Ph.D. degree. The DMP is coordinated by a faculty DMP Manager, who is drawn from the CPAP core teaching faculty in Blacksburg on a rotating basis.
CPAP Blacksburg will hold six meetings per year (three meetings per semester) in addition to an initial orientation/organizational meeting for new students at the start of each fall semester. Each regular meeting of the DMP will consist of two parts:
A Plenary Session involving all doctoral students who are participating in the DMP and in attendance, representing the collective membership of all mentoring groups; and
Mentoring Group meetings consisting of small groups of doctoral students assigned to a core faculty mentor.
In addition to the six regular DMP meetings per year, students may add to or substitute for regular DMP sessions (as approved by the DMP faculty Manager) by attending the following:
- High Table – Counts for one Blacksburg DMP session
- Up to one course in the Future Professoriate Certificate program – Counts for 3 sessions
- Up to one Alexandria DMP session – Counts for one Blacksburg DMP session
- Special events to be determined at a later date.
The agenda of activities of the DMP meetings will generally be determined by the students themselves, but ordinarily can be expected to include the following sorts of topics:
- Faculty and guest speakers on a range of intellectually stimulating topics, including examination of the research process
- Ongoing discussion of student experiences in courses and the CPAP Program in general
- Discussion of preliminary exams and the dissertation process, meeting with potential chairs from Blacksburg and Northern Virginia, as well as the development and review of potential concentration and dissertation topics
- Professional socialization activities and training – such as how to write an academic vita, how to write a proposal for a conference paper and get on a conference program, etc.
- Planning for different paths after the Ph.D.
- Seminar topics related to academic writing, such as the differences in the voice used in various writing venues, norms of academic writing, etc.
- Ongoing discussion of topics of intellectual identity and general concern to the life of the mind.
Mentoring Community Norms
A community such as CPAP requires two discrete sets of norms: “conduct of business” or structural norms that would govern the operation of the community and the groups that it comprises, and “process” norms that would refer to and regulate the texture of interpersonal relationships within each of the mentoring groups. The governing principle is that all of the individual groups are to follow a common and agreed upon set of operating norms, though it is inevitable that there will be some variation in the way specific mentoring groups develop.
Norms for Conduct of Mentoring Community Business Generally
- Individual Mentoring Groups should hold to the schedule of the sessions. Mentoring groups may, of course, hold additional meetings if they so wish at times and places they agree upon.
- Conflict is okay. This is a community based on dialogue and discourse. We stay with conflict and work it through at least to the level of mutual understanding of the other’s position.
- Expression of feelings is okay.
- Nothing that participants say or do in DMP sessions will be taken into account in any official academic evaluation procedure that participants might undergo in the remainder of the academic program of CPAP.
- The DMP will rely upon a consensus decision making process.
- DMP meeting dates/times will be published along with the normal semester course schedule announcement, and should, if possible, be available at least three months before the beginning of the semester.
- All sessions will follow the standard norms for attendance and participation that are used for any class. Program activities will not be altered to accommodate late arrivals.
- Confidentiality in the large group is to be respected.
- Anyone can offer to invite an outside resource person to the meetings.
- Each mentoring group will choose at least one representative who will be a member of the DMP Planning Committee.
Assignment of Students to Mentoring Groups
Students are initially assigned to mentoring groups by the DMP Manager. The Manager is responsible for assignment decisions and for advising students concerning changes in mentoring groups if they are deemed desirable or necessary. Students wishing to make a change should contact the DMP Manager by the first week of the Fall Semester at the latest.
Faculty Advising for Doctoral Students
The assignment of students to DMP mentoring groups is distinct from ordinary faculty advisor assignment and/or choice. Faculty advisors initially are assigned on a random basis unless a student expresses a preference for a specific advisor. A student wishing to change his/her faculty advisor assignment for any reason may certainly do so (and indeed is likely to do so as substantive interests are refined and the student moves toward the dissertation). However, barring conflicts, communication difficulties, or other problems (in which case they should consult the CPAP Chair), students wishing to change advisors are expected to discuss the matter with both the “gaining” and “losing” faculty member, both as a courtesy and to insure that the “gaining” advisor is willing and able to take on an additional advisee.
The initial discussion of a student’s doctoral plan of study is to be done as part of an annual advising session during orientation week or, for students beginning the doctoral program in January, upon entry. This initial meeting should emphasize student interests, program plans and goals, and the transfer of credit where appropriate.
Subsequent advisory discussions are to occur on a one-on-one basis between the student and a faculty advisor, whether that advisor is one randomly assigned to the student upon program entry or a faculty advisor of their choosing. These subsequent discussions should emphasize long-term program planning, formal Plan of Study (POS) development, and POS adjustments. Each doctoral student is responsible for communicating on a regular basis with their faculty advisor (at minimum, once each year) about the status of their progress in their academic program. The student is responsible for scheduling their regular annual advising session – ideally at mid-semester. The faculty advisor is responsible for periodic evaluation of student progress in the academic program.
The DMP is facilitated by a planning committee composed of faculty members, student representatives from each of the three mentoring groups, and the graduate assistant assigned to support the program. The DMP agenda is set by students, but typically includes the following sorts of topics:
- Discussion of student experiences in courses and the CPAP Program in general;
- Discussion of preliminary exams and the dissertation process, meeting with potential chairs from Blacksburg and Northern Virginia, as well as the development and review of potential concentration and dissertation topics;
- Professional development – such as how to write an academic vita and how to write a proposal for a conference paper;
- Seminar topics related to academic writing, such as the differences in the voice used in various writing venues, norms of academic writing, etc.;
- Ongoing discussion of topics of intellectual identity and general concern to the life of the mind, such as articles in journals such as the New York Review of Books that would not normally be taken up in class sessions;
- Guest speakers on a range of intellectually stimulating topics.
Participation in a minimum of 15 DMP events is required prior to completing the Ph.D. Beyond this point, participation is voluntary, though students often choose to continue to attend DMP meetings and events.