Answered By: Paul Lai
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2022     Views: 28






Intro: Hello, all! Today we have a guest, Jeannie Headley! Listeners, you will likely recognize Jeannie’s voice from our interview with her about starting the prospectus. Note that Jeannie has gotten married since that episode, so even though she’s Jeannie Headley now, it’s still the same Jeannie you heard before. And as a refresher, Jeannie is a Walden student in addition to her work for the writing center, where she has recently become a manager. Welcome back, Jeannie!



Kacy: Yeah, welcome!



Jeannie: Hi!



Claire: Last time we checked in, Jeannie, you were just starting work on your prospectus, and now it’s approved!



Kacy: [cheering] That’s so exciting, Jeannie, congratulations. You’re one step closer to being Dr. Headley. How does it feel?



Jeannie: Thank you so much, Kacy and Claire! It feels great! I am so excited to be one step closer and now I’m working on my Proposal.



Kacy: For sure! Can you remind our listeners what you will be studying for your dissertation, and what program you’re in here at Walden?



Jeannie: My dissertation focuses on how writing center tutors can successfully support multilingual adult online learners in the development of writing through linguistic diversity, including learners of different English dialects. My dissertation relates to mitigating challenges related to Standard Academic English as well.


I’m in the Doctor of Education program with a concentration in Higher Education and Adult Learning.



Claire: Awesome. I’m sure that some of our listeners are also in that program here at Walden and your topic sounds really fascinating! I’m interested as a writing center professional myself, but I’m sure our students would be interested too since they will be potentially using our services as multilingual writers. We actually have a previous podcast episode on tips for English Language Learners that I’ll link in our show notes that might be interesting to check out too.


Jeannie, can you tell us a little more about the process of figuring out your prospectus topic? How did you decide on a focus and narrow it down even more to one specific project?



Jeannie: Great questions! I know it can feel challenging to figure out a prospectus topic. I spent time chatting with my Chair about my interests and different problems in my field. As a first-generation American and first-generation college graduate, I am passionate about multilingual students and students of different English dialects. Since I closely work with students, I decided to select a topic that would provide a solution to strengthen the relationship between writing center tutors and multilingual students. 



Kacy: How was the research aspect for you, Jeannie? What research have you done so far and how did the library play into your research at this point?



Jeannie: Oh, I had a lot of fun with the research aspect. I’m definitely a research nerd, and I was excited to dive into the research. I spent a lot of time building my literature review, which is such an important part of the research process. With my literature review, I was able to fully understand what authors had to say about my topic and identify missing gaps.


The library played such an important part in my research, specifically with finding articles from the last five years. I don’t think I’d be able to do this kind of research without the library. So, shout out to the library and the wonderful librarians!



Claire: The librarians are amazing! We interviewed the library on a previous episode that I’ll link to if you’d like to hear us chat with them a bit about general research. I’m so happy to hear about their help for this very important and very very detailed research project that you’re working on, Jeannie.


I know that the prospectus is really a phase of work between the faculty and the student to help find that right topic and ensure you aren’t heading in a direction that will make your study difficult to complete. How has your faculty helped support you so far?



Jeannie: Oh, my Chair has been so great and a serious advocate in my research. I am able to just bounce ideas off my Chair and truly bond over my topic. I am able to ask any question without feeling judged, and I feel so supported. I also appreciate the encouragement and the praise in all that I do. It’s super helpful in the research process. So, shout out to my Chair! You know who you are. Many thanks!



Kacy: That’s awesome that you’ve received such great support, I love to hear that. Can you give our listeners some advice as they start this phase of the process, or even just for working towards a dissertation in general?



Jeannie: Yes, please take the time to identify a problem in your topic and focus on that. Your entire research will relate back to your identified problem. From there, just lean on your Chair and be open to receive insightful feedback to strengthen your research.



Claire: It sounds so reassuring to have a chair to help and support you on your journey. And definitely I’m kind of on the sidelines here as far as premise and prospectus documents since I have only read some as a writing instructor and not written them myself, but the problem is so, so important. I definitely see some come into the writing center before they are approved and I definitely see some come into the writing center that have kind of unclear problems. So use your chair, use what’s available to you to help figure it out. Like Jeannie said it’s really the bones of the dissertation itself.

I have an unrelated question, I know life is always changing, a move, a marriage, an expanding family…a pandemic…do you have any advice to our listeners for navigating these upheavals as they work towards important research for their degrees?



Jeannie: Gosh, where do I begin? Remember to take one day at a time. I also recommend having a to-do list to help navigate through various tasks, I’m not perfect at navigating everything on my end, but I try my best, and that’s all you can really do.



Claire: That’s very true. That’s great advice, Jeannie! Be nice to yourself. Our interview with Cheryl talks a bit about that as well—it’s a really important as part of the doctoral journey or any journey during difficult life changes. And we have an episode on keeping up your motivation that you can find in our show notes with some other helpful tips.



Kacy: And on that note you can check out our blog, our theme for this year is keeping up your motivation when dealing with writing projects. So, thanks so much for coming on today, Jeannie and congratulations again for making it to this really important stage of your program. And for sharing your experience with our students.



Claire: Yes, thank you, Jeannie!



Jeannie: Thank you so much for letting me share my experience! And best wishes to the listeners!



Claire: We’ll link to our past episode with Jeannie and other episodes and relevant resources in our show notes. Until next time, keep writing,



Kacy: Keep inspiring.

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