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Advising & Coaching

Maria LaMonaca Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement in the Humanities | Bio

Seeking perspective or resources beyond your PhD program? 

As Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement in the Humanities, I help Duke Ph.D. students in humanities and humanistic social sciences flourish during graduate school, and launch confidently into meaningful professional roles afterwards.

I am both a “supplemental PhD advisor” and a certified professional development coach.

PhD advising: I won’t attempt to advise you on coursework, your qualifying exams, or your dissertation! There are, however, many issues that PhD students might prefer to discuss with a knowledgeable person beyond their programs. At other times, they might simply want a different or fresh perspective.

Coaching: As opposed to “advising” (which suggests me providing you with information), I also support people in working through questions that don’t have simple answers, visualizing desired outcomes, getting beyond “analysis paralysis,” and executing action plans. Coaching creates a space for you to grow personally and professionally.

If you are in the early or middle stages of your graduate career, let’s talk! Some of the topics we might discuss:

  • Enriching your academic experience through interdisciplinary opportunities at Duke
  • Identifying and building relationships with a diverse group of mentors
  • Setting short and intermediate-term goals for graduate study
  • Transitioning out of coursework/exams and into focused dissertation research

If you are in the later stage of a PhD program, and are preparing for the academic job market, I feel your pain. Having worked as an assistant/associate professor of English for many years, I understand the dynamics of the academic job market and the quirks of departmental culture thoroughly.

If you are at any stage of a PhD program, considering a possible path outside of academia, let’s talk.  In 2012 I did the “unthinkable” and gave up a tenured faculty position to pursue other professional opportunities.  I encountered a steep learning curve, as I developed a new mindset and new strategies for a different kind of job market.

For either academic or nonacademic searches, I can help you with:

  • Researching new career paths and developing a networking strategy (more specific to nonacademic jobs)
  • Reviewing job search materials (CV, cover letters, statements of teaching philosophy, resume…whatever’s required)
  • Preparing for interviews (which of course differ, depending on what kind of job you’re after)
  • Evaluating job offers, discerning “fit,” and preparing to negotiate

In all cases, consultations are completely confidential and focused on your needs and goals. Phone and Skype conversations can also be arranged.

Email me today to schedule an appointment.