A Presidential View

A Presidential View
Oct 23, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

I took a very pleasant ridge walk in the early fall of my first hiking season on Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton, Maine. In August of the second season, I returned to climb the Ledges Trail, the shortest route to the summit of Pleasant Mountain (elevation = 2,006 feet), an elevation gain of some 1,500 feet up a very pleasant, and occasionally steep trail to a set of ledges at the 1.1 mile mark and the main summit after a 1.8 mile hike.

 

A Hiking Guru

A Hiking Guru
Oct 16, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD
Willem Lange is the principal host of New Hampshire Public Television’s Windows to the Wild series. He is an expert on the outdoors in general, and hiking in particular. At the age of 20, Willem hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 89 days, which was, as he said in passing on one of his programs, “booking it.” Assuming that the AT then was approximately the same length as it is today, which is 2,180 miles long, and that he hiked every day, he was traveling at an average speed of 24.5 miles/day. More realistically, if we assume that he spent 10% of the time off the trail, his average speed was closer to 27 miles per day. Imagine walking 30 miles in one day on a nice level surface (versus the challenging climbs and descents typical of the AT), and with no pack (versus a 25-50 pound pack filled with overnight gear and other essentials) and you get a rough idea of how incredible any thru-hikers accomplishment is, especially Willem Lange’s.

Hiking the AT

Hiking the AT
Oct 09, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD
The Appalachian Trail (AT) is the reason I started hiking. A friend recommended A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, because in it Bill chronicled in a humorous way his misadventures trying to thru-hike the AT (he didn’t make it). I read the book, had a few laughs, but found myself wondering what someone who had completed the trip and written about it in a more serious way might have to say. This led me to Earl Shaffer’s Walking with Spring.

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park
Oct 02, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

Whether you want to take a leisurely walk along the pristine shores of an iconic lake in search of moose, explore a variety of challenging trails with breathtaking views, or go for broke and climb to the summit of mighty Mount Katahdin (at 5268 feet in elevation, the highest peak in Maine), Baxter State Park is the number one place to hike in Maine. Created as a result of the generosity of Percival P. Baxter, a former governor of Maine and graduate of my alma mater, Bowdoin College, who donated the land for this 200,000 acre wilderness in north-central Maine, Baxter State Park is just incredible. A simple plaque on a boulder at Katahdin Stream Falls, gateway to Mount Katahdin via the Hunt trail (and the last leg of the famed Appalachian Trail for those thru-hikers traveling the entire 2,180 miles of the trail from south to north in one trek), captures the essence of the man who made it possible for all lovers of the wild to enjoy this majestic place forever:

 

Man is born to die. His works are short-lived. Buildings crumble, monuments decay, and wealth vanishes, but Katahdin in all its glory forever shall remain the mountain of the people of Maine.
 

 

Scholarly Writing: Style

Scholarly Writing: Style
Sep 25, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

To write at the doctoral level, you must meet high standards of communication. Both the content of your writing (i.e., your ideas per se) and the formatting of your document (i.e., how you present your ideas) are equally important in doctoral writing. The areas that you must pay special attention to when you write are:
 

 

Content

Organization

Grammar

Style

 

In this article, we examine issues related to the style of your doctoral papers

Scholarly Writing: Grammar

Scholarly Writing: Grammar
Sep 18, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

To write at the doctoral level, you must meet high standards of communication. Both the content of your writing (i.e., your ideas per se) and the formatting of your document (i.e., how you present your ideas) are equally important in doctoral writing. The areas that you must pay special attention to when you write are:
 

 

Content

Organization

Grammar

Style

 

In this article, we examine issues related to the grammatical correctness of your doctoral papers. 

Scholarly Writing: Organization

Scholarly Writing: Organization
Sep 11, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

To write at the doctoral level, you must meet high standards of communication. Both the content of your writing (i.e., your ideas per se) and the formatting of your document (i.e., how you present your ideas) are equally important in doctoral writing. The areas that you must pay special attention to when you write are:
 

 

Content

Organization

Grammar

Style

 

In this article, we examine issues related to the organization of your doctoral papers. 

Scholarly Writing: Content

Scholarly Writing: Content
Sep 04, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

To write at the doctoral level, you must meet high standards of communication. Both the content of your writing (i.e., your ideas per se) and the formatting of your document (i.e., how you present your ideas) are equally important in doctoral writing. The areas that you must pay special attention to when you write are:
 

 

Content

Organization

Grammar

Style

 

In this article, we examine issues related to the content of your doctoral papers. 

The Secret to Accelerating Your Doctoral Journey

The Secret to Accelerating Your Doctoral Journey
Aug 28, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

This article is about how to optimize your doctoral journey so that you can produce your best work and complete your program of study in the shortest possible time.

Dissertation Research: Finding a Dissertation Committee

Dissertation Research: Finding a Dissertation Committee
Aug 21, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

Earning a doctorate is not just about writing a quality dissertation. That is necessary, but not sufficient. Besides selecting a dissertation committee whose members have the expertise to assist you in crafting your dissertation, you must choose a chair with the knowledge and competence to guide you through the dissertation review process.

 

Because choosing the members of your dissertation committee is a crucial decision that can make the difference between earning a doctorate or being ABD, you need to do so with care. But how do you decide who should be on your committee and why they should be on it?

Dissertation Research: Finding a Dissertation Topic

Dissertation Research: Finding a Dissertation Topic
Aug 14, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

One of the biggest challenge that students face in their doctoral programs is finding a viable (i.e., doable and researchable) dissertation topic.

 

The most common initial topic that I have encountered in many years of working on dissertation committees (as chair, member, content expert, or methodologist) is one that a student lives with every day at work.

Dissertation Research: A Systemic View

Dissertation Research: A Systemic View
Aug 07, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

One of the characteristics of systems that we are all familiar with is the fact that the parts of a system are interconnected. As a result, a change in one part of the system affects the other parts of the system to varying degrees.

There are 10 interrelated steps in the dissertation process:

Critical Thinking at the Doctoral Level

Critical Thinking at the Doctoral Level
Jul 31, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD
What does it mean to exercise critical thinking? Does it mean to be negative and adversarial? Does it mean to provide constructive criticism? Or does it mean something totally different?

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Participation

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Participation
Jul 24, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

One of the secrets of accelerating your progress toward your ultimate goal of earning a doctoral degree is to practice the 4 Ps.

 

I am not referring to Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, the 4 Ps of Marketing.

 

Rather, I am referring to an equally important list of Ps related to doctoral study—Planning, Persistence, Patience, and Participation.

 

In this article, I will discuss the fourth P—Participation.

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Patience

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Patience
Jul 17, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

One of the secrets of accelerating your progress toward your ultimate goal of earning a doctoral degree is to practice the 4 Ps.

 

I am not referring to Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, the 4 Ps of Marketing.

 

Rather, I am referring to an equally important list of Ps related to doctoral study—Planning, Persistence, Patience, and Participation.

 

In this article, I will discuss the third P—Patience.

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Persistence

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Persistence
Jul 10, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

One of the secrets of accelerating your progress toward your ultimate goal of earning a doctoral degree is to practice the 4 Ps.

 

I am not referring to Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, the 4 Ps of Marketing.

 

Rather, I am referring to an equally important list of Ps related to doctoral study—Planning, Persistence, Patience, and Participation.

 

In this article, I will discuss the second P—Persistence.

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Planning

The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Planning
Jul 03, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

One of the secrets of accelerating your progress toward your ultimate goal of earning a doctoral degree is to practice the 4 Ps.

 

I am not referring to Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, the 4 Ps of Marketing.

 

Rather, I am referring to an equally important list of Ps related to doctoral study—Planning, Persistence, Patience, and Participation.

 

In this article, I will discuss the first P—Planning. In, subsequent blog articles, I will discuss the other three Ps.

Secrets of Dissertation Research: Do Something Every Day

Secrets of Dissertation Research: Do Something Every Day
Jun 26, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

What are the secrets of completing a high quality dissertation (or doctoral study) successfully and rapidly?

 

That’s what I most wanted to know when I was a doctoral student. So, I made it a point to seek out experts in dissertation research who spoke at required doctoral residencies I attended.

 

The experts I had the privilege to meet, who were exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful, all said the same thing:
 

If you want to succeed in your doctoral journey, then you must do some work on your dissertation frequently—every day if possible.

 

Let’s contrast this approach to what most students do.

 

Secrets of Doctoral Study: Speed vs. Quality

Secrets of Doctoral Study: Speed vs. Quality
Jun 19, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

When I was a doctoral student, my mentor was a terrific fellow who had very high academic standards (which I appreciated), but who was also blessed with a sense of humor (which I also appreciated).

 

A short time into my program of study, he correctly surmised that I had several key goals: (a) to learn as much as possible by doing high quality work, (b) to save money by finishing as quickly as possible, and (c) not to trade-off one (quality) for the other (speed).

 

In short, I wanted it all. Compromise was not an option. Given this set of specifications, my mentor came up with a saying that became my mantra: “Work hard, go fast, save money!”

The Doctoral Journey

The Doctoral Journey
Jun 12, 2019 by Robert E. Levasseur, PhD

A doctoral journey is the academic adventure of a lifetime.

 

If you find the right school and have good advisors, a doctoral journey can be a magical ride. If you are less fortunate, it can be an endurance test rivaling an ultramarathon. Either way, it will have its share of ups and downs. How you handle them will determine whether you succeed or fail in your quest.