Doctoral students represent the fresh and creative intellectuals needed to address the many social, economic, political, health care, and education disparities that have been highlighted by the 2020 pandemic. Our work as doctoral student supervisors could not be more central nor vital than it was at the beginning of, during, and following the pandemic. Written during the pandemic of 2020, the purpose of this paper was to describe how four faculty from three continents navigated their relationships with doctoral students in the research and dissertation phase of their doctoral programs. Using a common set of prompts, four faculty members each wrote an autoethnography of our experience as doctoral student supervisors. Even though our basic advising philosophies and contexts were quite different, we learned about the possibility and power of resilience, empathy, and mentoring online. Our findings imply that new online practices could be closely examined and retained after the pandemic to expand the reach, depth and impact of doctoral education.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Shift the perspective of doctoral student-faculty interaction from a distant supervisory perspective to a more reciprocal advising and mentoring relationship.
  2. Examine and bolster all efforts to use online technologies to reach a more diverse population and meet their needs .
  3. Related to #2., but more specific, urge departments and universities to support, encourage, and share student and faculty ideas in their creative use of new online environments.
  4. Keep the door open for international collaborations.
  5. Encourage doctoral student advisors to develop, examine, and discuss their own advising philosophy.

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