My PhD advisor is also a provost


Hi all,

I want to see if anyone on here has been in this strange situation. I first met with my prospective PhD advisor about a year and a half ago. We had good chemistry and he is a close colleague with my advisor from my master's program. It was an easy choice to pick him to be my mentor in my doctoral program. In the time since we met and I've enrolled, he has left his role as the chair of my department and now works as a provost with the university - no more teaching, no more research. It's a mid-sized state school with ~28,000 students.

He still is fine with being my advisor but he has been forthcoming about how limited his time will be to really meet and engage with me on my research. Pros and cons here I think. It seems like he is trusting me to work more independently than the average doctoral student. He cannot meet with me every week or even every two weeks like other advisors might do for their students. I don't think he would have brought me on as his grad student unless he thought I could handle that independence. While I appreciate his faith in me and am excited to be free to push my research forward with very little supervision, I think I'm sacrificing some of the benefits of a real student-mentor relationship. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. I definitely want to stay in the program and keep him as my advisor. I think I may just need to rely on some of my doctoral committee members more since he will have his hands tied in his administrative duties.

Tell me what you guys think. Has anyone been in this position before? How'd it go?




I would ask for a second supervisor who could provide you with extra support if needed.
That way you get the best of both worlds.

I only saw my supervisor once every 6-8 weeks and towards the end I didn't really need that either. That lack f supervisor contact time is reasonably normal. Meeting once a week would be a little suffocating for me and if they were expecting once a day I'd be working from home :-D

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I would ask for a second or even third supervisor. It is becoming more common to have extra supervisors and you are prefect example of why you need them.

If you current supervisor agrees you could potentially choose your second supervisor and find the right relationship. Your supervisor might suggest a few people but you might be allowed to ask someone yourself and establish the work relationship you want/need.