Prospective Students

This page is dedicated to graduate students (prospective and current), particularly those interested in working with me. In creating this page, I reflected on things my mentors told me – as well as things I wish I knew – about applying to graduate school. My hope is that this page helps diminish some of the mystery behind the graduate process. Please note, the content on this page is specific to working with me, specific to graduate studies at Iowa State University, and are my opinions (not those of other faculty and/or representative of Iowa State University). While there are likely to be similarities to other faculty and institutions, do not assume that other faculty and institutions have similar expectations of prospective students.

Prospective Students

Prospective full-time doctoral students are encouraged to contact me. Your research interests do not need to be identical to mine. However, I would expect that you can translate how your research interests intersect on some level(s) with mine. I encourage prospective students to contact me via email. After which, we may decide to schedule a phone or skype conversation. If interested in pursuing a Ph.D., here are the main topics I would expect that we discuss (these are also the items that should be clearly described in your Research/Personal Statement when applying for admission):

  1. Why a Ph.D., and why now?
  2. What are your [emerging] research interests?
  3. What do you think you “need” from a program and advisor to be successful? (This is the way to address the question “Why, specifically, Iowa State University”? You can connect your interests and needs to what is offered at Iowa State, and/or address how you think I might be a good fit as an advisor.)
  4. What do you want to do professionally after earning a Ph.D.?

* I want to reiterate the expectation that these main questions be clearly addressed in your Research/Personal Statement during admissions.

Advising Philosophy and Practices

I value student achievement. Formal advising and supervising students through the research group are integral components of the teaching and learning enterprise. I use these various interactions with students to aid in their professional and personal development. To me, the student-advisor relationship is immensely important.

Prospective students should make informed decisions about choosing an advisor; this is particularly important for doctoral students interested in directly working with me. My advisees are expected to have regular individual and group advising meetings. They are also expected to annually (if not bi-annually) complete an assessment document that helps establish entering and ongoing proficiency in a variety of professional competencies. This document helps guide conversations about academic, research, internship, and other professional experiences students should consider to achieve their goals.

Time is the only way to truly assess a mutual fit between student and faculty advisor. That being said, if you’re interested in me serving as your advisor, please reach out to me via email so that we can begin to build a relationship and to assess the possibility of a mutual fit.

Joining the Burt Research Group

Those interested in joining the research group are likely to participate in a variety of activities based on skill-level, interests, and availability; time commitment to the research group is negotiated between student and supervisor. Click Here for more information about the research group.

Students with the following characteristics and skills are most likely to be a good fit for the research group:

  • Positive Disposition
  • Dependable
  • Accessible
  • Time Management
  • Independent and Collaborative Hard Worker
  • Critical Thinker
  • Ask Questions
  • Interested in Thinking, Discussing, and Writing about Issues Related to Race and Equity

Students may contact me if interested in joining the research group. Otherwise, students may be invited after demonstrating potential in my classes.

Serving as Major Professor (Academic Advisor and/or Dissertation Chair) , Committee Member, or Program of Study Member

Major Professor (Academic Advisor and/or Dissertation Chair)

Students interested in me serving as a Dissertation Chair (Major Professor) are expected to take at least one course from me, and participate in my research group. These experiences will help us to assess the student-faculty advisor fit, help the student to understand my expectations as an advisor, and help me – as a prospective dissertation chair – to understand the needs of the student. It is likely that I will only agree to serve as a Dissertation Chair for students who have met these requirements.

As your major professor, I have some academic and professional expectations: 1) Students will work on – at the minimum – one publication per year; you will take the lead on manuscript(s) after your first year of working with me. 2) For those full-time doctoral students, you will also serve as a teaching assistant with me after completing your second year. While these academic and professional expectations may seem intimidating or frightening, we will collaboratively create a developmental plan to help you succeed.

Committee Member, or Program of Study Member

As an early career faculty, I have to make tough choices to focus my scholarship and teaching around my areas of interest and expertise. This being said, it is likely that I will only agree to serve on dissertation committees and programs of study where there is a natural connection between my work and a student’s work. It is the student’s responsibility to make the explicit connection between our work. My decision is not a reflection of you or the potential of your scholarship; my decision is a personal professional decision.

Other Helpful Information