Friday, February 24, 2017

A Thesis Office with a Mission

The Thesis and Dissertation Office at Northern Illinois University is focused on student success, offering resources at every stage of the thesis or dissertation writing process, and operating on a unique peer-advocate model for informing and motivating graduate students.

Comprehensive, service-oriented thesis offices exist at a few grad-degree granting institutions throughout the nation, it’s true. But they are not common, and at many schools the thesis office is focused only on guidance through red tape and the managing of documents.  While NIU’s Thesis and Dissertation Advisor, Carolyn Law, can help students navigate the most tangled red tape the graduate school can dish out, we like to think that our holistic approach to thesis and dissertation assistance is a unique one!

Not Just Information

The Thesis Office is the definitive source of information on how to get through the process of finalizing a thesis. But we are not just here to inform. We are here to help.

Some services we proudly offer:

  • One-on-one formatting and documentation assistance
  • Workshops on tricky thesis issues, such as page numbers, tables, and citations
  • Brown Bags and social media for meeting (online or IRL) other grad students and maintaining contact with people who understand your life situation
  • Writers’ meet-ups to help you hold yourself accountable for getting the writing done
  • Presentations on how to do the things we explain on the website (in case you need to see it and not just read it!)
  • And coming soon: Instructional videos on the toughest formatting bugbears 

So, as you can see, we offer a lot more than just telling you what to do!  We believe that this holistic, student-centered approach to guidance throughout the entire thesis process (you can visit us whether you’ve never written a word, or if you’ve written “AAAAALL THE WORDS!”) will help graduate students complete their goals in a timely manner, saving them money, headache, life crises, and preparing them for the job market. (In fact, as a department of the NIU Graduate School, we are committed to the Graduate School’s express mission of student professionalization.)

Another key to our approach is, as I mentioned above, our peer advisors.  Two graduate assistants are always employed by the office, to help you help yourself. I am one of them! (Robyn) The other is Fred. But whether you meet me and Fred this year, or Bob and Joe two years down the road (because Fred and I plan to finish our dissertations and get out of town…), you will come into contact with graduate assistants who know your struggle, and share in it every day.  We are living through the thesis process with all its highs and lows, and we also happen to be experts on how to get it done. (As well as on formatting, grammar, documentation, and everything else you would expect from English majors). In fact, part of our job requirement is that we get it done! So, the graduate student advisor helps students feel like they are not alone and provides a great connection for networking, as well as being an approachable authority in the Graduate School.

We do think we are special. While comparable missions are expressed by the thesis offices at Purdue and UT Knoxville to name a couple, we think we are hitting it out of the park.  Indeed, we would like to see this type of thesis office mission become a ubiquitous goal, especially among state institutions that often grant degrees to students of diverse and non-traditional backgrounds, while operating on limited funding… and working with students who may have limited funds themselves!

In fact, that is certainly one font from which we draw inspiration for the mission of the Thesis Office: our diverse student body of international, non-traditional, low-income, and returning students. That said, we are here for every grad student.

As you can see, we are a Thesis Office with a mission. We want graduate students to succeed, so our goal is your goal. We want to provide you with every resource (or at least refer you to one if we don’t have it) so that you can finish your thesis or dissertation with confidence and expedience.

Come see us in beautiful Adams Hall during the week, or call or email anytime!
M-Th, 10-2

Happy working!


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  2. This is so more better opportunities for the educators to learn more better science in the education. So i think at Northern Illinois University people found the best chance to do research about this.

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