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How to Say "Thanks"
April 4, 2012 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Do people give their graduate advisors presents following a successful defense? What would qualify?

I'm grateful to my committee and want to acknowledge how much they've helped my project and my career, but I'm not sure (1) if it's appropriate (2) what would probably signify my gratitude.
posted by anonymous to Education (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think a letter expressing your gratitude would be most appropriate.
posted by brujita at 9:16 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I managed to find out my advisor's favorite wine and gave him a bottle for each year that I had been in his group. I also wrote a letter.
posted by BlueDuke at 9:34 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my program, it was customary to give a gift to our mentor. Whisky was a common gift; knowing he was a movie buff, I gave him a gift certificate to the Criterion Collection. Neither of us are the sentimental type, so no letter was included (I thanked him in my dissertation acknowledgment section, though). I didn't give anything to my committee members...maybe a thank you card, but I can't remember.
posted by puritycontrol at 9:50 PM on April 4, 2012


I was never clear on whether it was customary to give gifts in my program or not, but I didn't, and it didn't seem to impair my relationship with my advisor any. I did thank him specifically in the acknowledgements. As someone who has graduate advisees, I find gifts like that awkward - I am, after all, just doing my job. Personally, I would much rather get recognition, like a nomination for a university advising award, if one of my advisees truly felt so moved. Or a letter to my dean or department chair acknowledging me.

But I might just be weird in my distaste for presents that relate to my job.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:06 PM on April 4, 2012


I learned on AskMe that a bound copy of your diss is standard. I instead did a Kindle for my advisor with a PDF of diss on it.

Wine for committee.

And nice thank you notes.
posted by k8t at 10:12 PM on April 4, 2012


The most I ever received was a plate of cookies; even that seemed not appropriate. If you decide to do something, write a little of thanks or put it in your acknowledgments. That always touched me. If you do give a gift, I would advise to do it only after you get your grade.
posted by PJSibling at 10:55 PM on April 4, 2012


I gave a thank you note and a bottle of good wine to each of my committee members, as well as thanking them in the acknowledgments section of the diss.
posted by chicainthecity at 10:59 PM on April 4, 2012


Bound copy of my dissertation and thank you notes to adviser and committee, special antique poster unique to our mutual interests with a handmade frame for the adviser.
posted by arnicae at 4:05 AM on April 5, 2012


I am Asian, so my mother insisted on gifting presents to my dissertation committee. My advisor got a leather briefcase as well as a bound copy of my dissertation. the other gifts were a leather handbag for a member who had also personally mentored me and made it possible for me to stay in grad school, a very nice bottle of wine, and for my outside member a box of chocolates (she was far away so it was the easiest thing to ship).

maybe other people might have found presents on this scale inappropriate, but culturally I was obligated to do this. Actually, I need to start thinking about what to gift my current post-doc advisors when my job here winds down.
posted by dropkick queen at 4:16 AM on April 5, 2012


I didn't give my advisor anything and 11 years later we are still good friends.
posted by gaspode at 4:47 AM on April 5, 2012


Mine got a nicely bound copy of my thesis with a handwritten note on the front page. It's still in his office, right up there on the bookshelf!
posted by juniperesque at 6:15 AM on April 5, 2012


Your successful career is my thank you present. But a gift is not out of place. Or a nice dinner.
posted by spitbull at 6:18 AM on April 5, 2012


(And yes, your adviser should definitely have a bound copy of the dissertation.)
posted by spitbull at 6:18 AM on April 5, 2012


(oh, when I say I didn't give him anything, of course he got a bound copy of the dissertation. I didn't really think that was an option. Didn't seem very gift-like though, more something to go on his shelf as a resource for other ppl in the lab.)
posted by gaspode at 12:10 PM on April 5, 2012


Yes, a copy of the dissertation is a must. And I advise students to hard bind it, not soft. If it has a hard cover, it will go up on a bookshelf and look wonderful; soft, it eventually gets stuck in a drawer!
posted by PJSibling at 2:24 PM on April 5, 2012


(oh, when I say I didn't give him anything, of course he got a bound copy of the dissertation. I didn't really think that was an option.

I didn't get anybody, including me, a bound copy of my dissertation. The university didn't want one, why would anybody else? They just take up space.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 4:47 PM on April 5, 2012


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