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Advisor Switched


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I've come into a really weird situation and I wanted to post to get some feedback on it.  I was accepted into a program for art history.  I applied looking to have a certain professor be my advisor and that professor was my main contact and who I met with personally when I visited. Now that I'm getting ready to enroll, both the department administrators and my online enrollment confirm that another professor has been assigned to be my advisor.  This professor is in a related field, but I've only read a few pieces of her work and she's very well-known for a time period a little earlier than what I wanted to focus on (only 50 years, but still).  I don't think this was a mistake and now I'm unsure of how to proceed.  I really don't think that this was an unintentional slip-up, as I've spoken with both of the administrators a few times to confirm it.  I, of course, don't want to offend anyone and say that I think she would be an unsuitable advisor (because I'm sure she would be very supportive) and I wanted my original one, but now I'm a little concerned.  I know there are a lot of grad students and now my irrational feelings are kicking in.  Did the person who was my advisor not want to work with me? Or does (s)he have too many advisees and thought I was the least interesting/potential/whatever?  It is only my M.A., but I'm still a little concerned?


Should I just wait until I get there to say something? Then what do I say?  I don't want to step on any toes or insult anyone who is a brilliant/well-known person in the art history world.  Even though they aren't right in my time period, they are the same location and I feel like the art history community is so small, that I want to make sure I don't offend anyone (especially at such an early stage).





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I was informed by my department that you aren't assigned your POI Advisor until after your first year (for PhD), and I will be assigned an adviser to  help guide me through the process of my first year. It's understood that my POI will be my adviser, he just won't be the person I turn to for administrative things and the like for my first year. Maybe they have a similar policy? Do they have a graduate student handbook for your department? It clarifies the process in my Graduate Student Handbook. 

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Your instincts are correct about treading lightly, but you should absolutely say something about this to the chair of grad studies, if you department has one.  If not, then talk to your advisor about the change.  Maybe you should embrace it.  If this person works in the same field and you're doing an M.A., it should not be an issue for your future professional development unless you think that this other advisor would be a better mentor.  Best of luck. 

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fullofpink - I hope you're right! I've looked in the handbooks and it doesn't say anything to that effect, but hopefully it is just a temporary, standard procedure.


oh_la_la - I think you're right.  I will try to say something, but will probably wait until I get there, so I can mention it in person and gauge reactions. 


Ugh, still stressful, but thank you for your feedback

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