Primary guidance in the planning and execution of the projects undertaken by Senior Fellows lies with the principal advisor, with the co-advisor serving to add breadth. Each advisor must be in the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor, and must hold an appointment not less than half-time. Normally the principal advisor and the co-advisor shall not be from a single discipline. Principal advisors who expect their duties to be burdensome may ask the Dean, in consultation with the departmental chair, to review their total commitments. 

If a student applying for a Senior Fellowship asks you to serve as a Principal Advisor or Co-Advisor, please consider carefully the responsibilities of the position before agreeing to serve. Your letter of recommendation for the applicant should address not only the quality of the proposed project and the ability of the applicant to complete it successfully, but also your own ability and willingness to undertake these duties.

The Principal Advisor meets with the Fellow on a regular schedule throughout the fellowship year. Although the frequency of meetings varies somewhat by discipline, we advise Fellows that three hours of meetings per week with their advisors is appropriate. Co-advisors normally meet less frequently but still regularly. 

If you expect to be away from Hamilton for an appreciable length of time during either of the two academic semesters of the coming year, you probably should not accept the position of Principal Advisor, though you may still be able to serve as a Co-Advisor if you can arrange a schedule of meetings.

In addition, these Principal Advisor and Co-Advisor(s) have the following duties:

  • The Principal Advisor, in consultation with the Fellow and the Co-Advisor, is responsible for selecting the members of the Board of Examiners and submitting their names to the Director of the Senior Fellowship Program by the end of the fall semester.  
  • In January, the Principal Advisor prepares a written evaluation of the Fellow’s work and submits it to the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty and the Director of the Senior Fellowship Program.
  • In early March, the Principal Advisor and Co-Advisor(s) receive the initial draft of the Fellow’s thesis for comments and suggestions.  During the remainder of the spring term, both advisors read and comment on several revisions of the thesis.
  • The Principal Advisor, in consultation with the Fellow and the Co-Advisor, schedules the Oral Examination and the Public Lecture.  The Principal Advisor normally introduces the Fellow at the Lecture.  The Principal Advisor is responsible for writing the final evaluation of the fellowship project, which becomes part of the Fellow’s permanent record.
  • Both the Principal Advisor and the Co-Advisor are expected to attend meetings of all Fellows and Advisors, one of which is held early in the fall semester, the second in mid-February.  A schedule of meetings and other responsibilities will be sent to Fellows and their advisors at the beginning of the fall semester.

If you have questions about the responsibilities of advising a Senior Fellow, please call or email Herm Lehman, Director of the Senior Fellowship Program (hlehman@hamilton.edu, x4298).

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