Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version


Document Type



The Nebraska Educator, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2022), pp. 21-47



Copyright © 2022 University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The present study examines advice given by the graduate faculty in a department (n=24) to new Ph.D. students in the department. The thematic analysis employed inductive coding to draw themes from the data, and seven salient themes emerged from the interviews: relationships, openness, individuality, purpose, academic work, self-care, and logistics. Grounded in a theoretical framework of social constructivism, the present study analyzes how knowledge is created as a social artifact that is passed down from faculty to graduate student and highlights the ways in which doctoral students then shape the meaning of said knowledge through their own interpretations and actions. This study analyzes the interview data to examine the ways in which systemic challenges of pressure and power are perpetuated within academia and highlights the many ways in which graduate faculty are truly invested in their students and their well-being. The findings serve as a catalyst for introspection for the various actors in academic systems, while providing an uplifting motif of genuine care for the overall wellness of doctoral students.