When you return for your second academic residency, you will attend seminars that focus on building academic and research skills.

Dr. Alice Eichholz
(Director of academic residencies)

At Milestone Two, we’re interested in developing the skills that a student will need in order to begin to understand what research is all about. They may have been doing some research as part of their master’s or as part of the coursework or KAM work they’ve been doing. Now we want them to focus on what’s a problem statement, what are the components, what makes me passionate about research, what are my burning questions, what are the things I want to accomplish.

Dr. Bob Levasseur

We try to teach them something about what we call critical thinking, critical writing, critical searching, and critical reading … how they’re going to use the library and the Writing Center to help them be effective … in getting their work done. The second thing we want to do is we want to show them how to go from a very broad kind of general interest they all come in with, they’re all passionate about something, down to the level where they’re keyed into the literature, because the work they have to do has to come off of the boundaries of existing knowledge—we call it grounding their research in what exists in the literature and deciding if they’re going to add to something that’s already been done or maybe fill a gap that they’ve identified. So we teach them those tools, at least we begin to, and we answer a whole lot of questions about what’s coming down the road. What is that dissertation going to look like, how do I get a dissertation committee? What are some of the factors I should consider in doing that?

Dr. Rebecca Jobe

Faculty really play a central role in mentoring each piece of the process, as well as the process in general. And we feel very confident and very proud at Walden at how connected we stay with students from start to finish. Faculty are involved week after week, day after day, stay closely connected with students, walk them through the process, talk to them about what the challenges are going to be and what the expectations are going to be, and really, serve as a guide through that entire process.

Lisa Ward
(Ph.D. in management student)

I’m here for the second milestone. So I’ve gone through the very first basic: Here’s Walden, here’s what we do … which is kind of the inspirational message time. And the second one is really, OK, now we’re here and we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of what we’re working on. And so that’s been a really great experience this time.

Personal and professional relationships develop along with ideas at the second residency. This often includes getting personally acquainted with your faculty mentor—and meeting other faculty members from many different programs who might one day serve on your dissertation committee.

And one of the things that is going to be able to help you through this is looking at your population and not just putting together inner intervention, but a culturally sensitive one.

Dr. Tracy Marsh

The importance of the mentor relationship is that it’s providing a window for the student through which to see the possibilities in their field. And it’s an opportunity to get honest feedback about career path, about research opportunities, about career opportunities. And to help encourage or cheerlead a student, particularly as they’re going through their most challenging moments.

I don’t know about the equally good. I don’t know how to research the evidence of that. I know some of the arguments were … we don’t know who’s doing the work.

Faculty member
But you need to find the research problem, the thing that no one has solved before.

Dr. Ronald Paige
(Ph.D. in Education graduate, 2007 Harold L. Hodgkinson Award recipient)
I found the absolutely perfect person to work with because I have very high expectations for myself … and sometimes those expectations take me in the wrong direction. And this was a person who understood me well enough to know when to reel me in, when to let me go, when to be patient, when to lose patience. She really was an excellent person for me personally … and that was so critical to what I did with my dissertation. It’s why I came to Walden in the first place.

Dr. Howard Schechter

We at Walden are a very student-centered institution. And so the student really drives the relationship. Everybody’s busy, everybody’s working, everybody has family, everybody has a job, and they’re doing their doctoral work as well. So they will call us on the telephone, they will email us, they will sometimes arrange to meet with us in person. We can arrange to meet at a residency… to make this person feel as supported as possible.

Dr. Sreeroopa Sarkar

Our major strength at Walden is our relationship with our students. We always are available to speak with our students, to hear about their ideas, to critique their ideas, or to give them any kind of support that they need. They can take the relationship to the next level by coming to the residencies. So residency is a great place where students build a personal yet professional relationship with their faculty member.
You also get social and academic opportunities to reconnect with other students you may have met online, or at your first residency. Many students forge friendships in the online environment, and even attend residencies together.

Lisa Ward
(Ph.D. in management student)

The key to the Walden community is knowing other people that are in the same position …  you’re not necessarily sure. Even at the point where you are a year or so in, you know that you want to do this, but you sometimes need the moral support. And the Walden community is about the moral support. And that extends way beyond the students, that extends out through the faculty with the mentor relationships and everything else. The Walden community provides that support.

Michelle Robbins-Lavicka
(Ph.D. in Education student)

It’s terrific to come back each time and see the same advisors and see the same sort of care and growth in our relationship, and they remember who I am, and they say, oh it’s so wonderful to see you now … I  really appreciate and enjoy that.

As you hone your writing and sharpen critical-thinking skills, you leave your second residency with a better understanding of the research and dissertation process that lies ahead.

Michael Weinman
(Ph.D. in Psychology student)

By the time I finish this residency I should have a concrete problem, question, and proposal for my research, and generally speaking, just have a good hand on my dissertation. By the next time I come to Milestone Three,  I’ll have achieved data-driven resources to support my hypothesis proposal and get a better understanding of the whole picture of the dissertation process.

Brandy McKown
(Ph.D. in Psychology student)
I’m leaving the residency with more focus, which is definitely something I was looking for when I came here. I was really able to work with the faculty here that I already knew but I got to know better, and really narrow my focus, narrow my research, and actually may potentially have a dissertation chair or at least a committee member. So I’m really going away with some big foundational pieces to completing my degree.