Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chip (Bertram) Bruce: Ode to a Dissertation Advisor

When I entered my doctoral program at the University of Illinois College of Education, I was assigned an advisor.  Chip Bruce was new to the Curriculum and Instruction faculty, having spent the earlier portion of his career in a Cambridge based think tank.  Thus began a mentorship with a truly Renaissance man, creative and intellectually challenging, kind and humorous.  Loath to leave his fold, I went from doctoral advisee to dissertation advisee, completing my doctorate under him four years later. 

Chip has just announced his upcoming retirement from the University of Illinois (he is now located in the School of Information Science).  It seems like a fitting moment to consider the many gifts he brought to me and the others with whom he worked, and to offer a digital thanks to him.

This is not meant to be an obituary, because Chip is headed off to many new and exciting things, but rather this is an opportunity to think about the qualities of excellent doctoral advisement.  Here's what I learned from Chip:

  • Be kind:  Respect each student.
  • Be curious:  All is inquiry
  • Be open minded:  Try to understand all sides.
  • Be intellectual: Engage in theory.
  • Laugh:  Appreciate the humor in life.
  • Seek Community:  It is good to work with others.
  • Love Dewey:  Only good can come from Dewey.
  • Enjoy conversation:  It is the fruit of good community.
  • Be practical:  Test all propositions against the world of practices.
  • Be well organized: You get more done.
  • Explore new media
  • Be a global participant
  • Don't gossip: Avoid sarcasm
Thank you Chip for these excellent rules of the road.  Good wishes with the next stages of your journey...


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