Gendered Differences in Acknowledgements for Doctoral Advisors at a Land-Grant University


  • Carolyn Copenheaver Virginia Tech
  • Thomas Meacham Lake Superior State University
  • Bryan Black University of Arizona



Gendered language, graduate advising, advisor roles, acknowledgements


The acknowledgements section of a doctoral dissertation provides a rare view into the student-advisor relationship. The gendered differences for how doctoral students acknowledge male and female advisors was examined in 208 dissertations from a U.S. land-grant university. Doctoral students used a greater number and diversity of words when acknowledging female advisors. Nine hierarchical thematic roles and obligations of advisors were identified and were equally represented in acknowledging male and female advisors. Doctoral students described the roles and obligations of their doctoral advisor independently of gender; however, they used gendered language, which highlights the persistence of gendered norms within academic culture.


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How to Cite

Copenheaver, C., Meacham, T., & Black, B. (2024). Gendered Differences in Acknowledgements for Doctoral Advisors at a Land-Grant University. NACTA Journal, 68(1).