I think it might be best if Cognate advisor were merged into Doctoral advisor, with the addition of any other co-advisors, associate advisors, and assistant advisors are commonly used. There's not much in either article, but, combining all of them might leave an article of reasonable size. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:08, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
- I agree, as long in so doing the different roles are not blurred or eliminated. Here is my understanding, which is supportable by going to just about any American (non-American policies may differ) university’s website:
- Doctoral advisor - works with the student to develop the plan of work (i.e., coursework prior to a qualifying exam - as opposed to entrance exam). This person usually continues as the Major Professor/Dissertation Chair. At many universities, the DA works with the student as along as the student is called a "Doctoral Student" (as opposed to "Doctoral Candidate" which can be after qualifying exams or post prospectus defense).
- Major Professor (or Dissertation Chair) supervises the dissertation. In many fields, many MP's also give the topic to the doctoral candidate. Although usually the MP was the DA, it need not be the case.
- Co-Advisor. In some situations, the MP cannot supervise the dissertation alone, either due to the topic extending beyond the MP's area of expertise, the MP's credentials have lapsed (i.e., toward the end of the career when the university required recency in publications has lapsed), the MP is on Sabbatical, etc. Typically, the MP certainly initiates the dissertation supervision, but along the way requires assistance. This is a problem for the Mathematics Genealogy Project (MGP), because there is no place to enter the CoA.
- 2nd advisor. Dissertation committees that I am aware of range from 3 to 5 members (your mileage may differ). Often, a 2nd advisor is designated, whose duties are less formal than a co-Advisor. For example, although the entirety of the dissertation is within the expertise of the MP, it is too broad for one person to supervise all aspects of it, and hence a 2nd advisor is designated. This is the major problem with the MGP, because there are many different definitions of a 2nd advisor from university to university, and nowhere at the MGP is the 2nd advisor role defined. 0n another talk page, the new director of the MGP stated he goes through the database and deletes 2nd advisors "on a case by case basis" without any objective formula, which makes the "prolific" advisors page meaningless. Furthermore, MANY MANY MANY 2nd advisors lised for mathematicians prior to the 1900s actually only served on the examination committee at the final defense, but had no other role with the dissertation, and yet are so-called 2nd Advisors!
- Cognate advisor. A doctoral student may be majoring in statistics, with a minor area of study in educational psychology. At many universities, the minor area of study is equivalent to at least 1/2 (if not 3/4ths) of the content courses necessary to obtain a Master's degree. The student is required to write a qualifying question given from the cognate advisor. The backdrop of the dissertation is usually in the cognate area. When that occurs, the CA usually has a larger role in the dissertation than the 2nd advisor. For example, a dissertation on a psychometrics topic will have a psychology measurement context, and the statistic being studied is viewed from the frame of reference of that application. This is also a problem with the MGP, where there is a place to include a 2nd advisor, but not a CA.
- Committee member/Examination Committee member. This person rounds out the committee, or only surfaces at the final defense, but in either case has no supervisory role. Unfortunately, at the MGP, the new director is subjective in permitting CM's for some entries, but not for all.
- So-called "Intellectual" Advisor. In reference to the MGP, there are a number of entries wherein the so-called protégé never actually met the advisor, was under age 10 when the advisor died, etc. HC (the originator of the MGP) only indicated a few of the many cases where this is so. Thus, there are numerous examples where the presumed protégé's dissertation was actually only an intellectual "son of/daughter of" follow-up of the work of the "advisor," even though it is listed in the MGP. (Did Levy even ever meet Volterra?) I see no role for such an imaginary designation in an entry on "doctoral advisor" in Wikipedia, because all it does is inflate the prolific score while promulgating misinformation in the genealogy.
- So-called "Unofficial" Advisor. There are some roles that defy these catagories. For example, in the MGP, Liouville's advisor is listed (correctly) as Poisson. Thenard is listed 2nd. Thenard actually signed the dissertation (Poisson did not as far as someone I have corresponded with who has seen the original can recall), because he was the "Dean" of the applied college where Liouville matriculated and graduated, and Thenard signed all of the dissertations from that college. However, in his journal, Liouville published an early article based on about 1/2 of his dissertation, and in the footnote thanks Poisson for giving him the topic and directing the study. Should Thenard, a chemist who was clueless regarding Liouville's dissertation, even be listed as an advisor? Similarly, Blum was a student of Loeve, but Le Cam (Blum's classmate) actually supervised his disseration, even though Le Cam had only graduated a year before Blum. Should Loeve be listed as an advisor when he did no/little actual advising, and Le Cam not be considered an adivsor because he did not do so in an official capacity?Edstat (talk) 01:27, 31 October 2010 (UTC)