A key part of your graduate education involves interaction with faculty members. It is important that you identify several faculty with whom you share substantive and methodological interests. You are likely to select your dissertation mentor and members of your dissertation committee from this group. This group will also be one of your principal sources of inspiration and assistance during and after your formal Georgetown education.We faculty offer several suggestions to help you take this initiative.
First, learn about us. Find out what our substantive and methodological interests are. Read what we have written. Review our syllabi. Check out our web pages. Ask advanced graduate students what projects we are working on. To help, review the bios for all faculty members in the GovernmentDepartment in the Graduate Handbook.
Second, talk to more advanced graduate students about what it is like to work with us. Find out whose research, teaching and mentoring styles are most compatible with yours.
Third, design a dissertation committee that fulfills several critical functions. On your committee you will need faculty who are senior enough in the discipline to help you get a job, you will need faculty who are familiar with the methodologies you want to use, you need faculty who have an appropriate substantive or area expertise, and you need faculty who will read and comment on your dissertation in a way that you find helpful. Remember, your committee as a whole should provide these functions, no single member need fulfill all of them.
Fourth, introduce yourself to the faculty in your major and minor subfields. Do this during office hours. Remember, we are all busy. At the same time, we are all looking for interesting and capable students to work with. Introducing yourself as some one from New York City is fine, but it is much less interesting or useful than introducing yourself as some one who is interested in a particular debate or problem that our discipline needs to address.
Fifth, begin the process of establishing these scholarly connections now. By the middle of your second semester in the program, you should have identified a group of faculty and possibly a mentor with whom you would like to work. While our faculty are generally much more accessible than those at other graduate programs, we are all very busy and will not seek you out. You must take the initiative. If you need a push, stop by during the Director of Graduate Studies' office hours or talk to students who have already done this.
Finally, remember to always shake hands and look people in the eyes. If you exude interest and confidence, you will be treated accordingly.
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