Building strong relationships is key to successful doctoral programs

Fostering rapport among faculty and peers for academic achievement and post-graduation support

Building rapport with students is a critical component of a successful educational journey, particularly in a doctoral program that may take years to complete.

According to Literacy and Learning Associate Professor Amy Burke, PhD, establishing strong relationships with faculty and peers is crucial to successfully maintaining the intensive and intellectually stimulating work required to complete a doctoral degree. Moreover, these relationships form a support system necessary for success not just in the program but also after graduation. 

As the doctoral program grows to include more distance students, the department actively seeks out and embraces opportunities to connect with distance students in meaningful ways. Despite the challenges that online education can pose, the department continually explores new ways to leverage technology and utilize opportunities for in-person interactions.

For example, the department uses state and national conferences as opportunities to meet with students in person. During one such conference, Burke met in person with a doctoral student who is participating in the program from a distance. They spent time visiting over coffee and working together on academic tasks, including revisions to an IRB for a pilot study the student is planning. 

Strong relationships and a supportive environment make a difference in learning. Making the most of each modality helps create lasting relationships with students. 

Page last updated 4:52 PM, July 14, 2023