At Creative Adventures, we are committed to a process-oriented approach based on principles of effective teaching and learning–rooted in a training & development / systems-change model–and problem-solving that draw on several different models that inform our practice. We believe that this approach is critically important for two reasons.
First, we believe the foundation for an effective consultancy—one that leads to you achieving your goals and having your needs met in a timely manner—is based on careful needs assessment on the front-end that leads to clearly identifying your current situation. By consciously and strategically evaluating your reasons for seeking thesis or dissertation support, and other key factors related to your unique situation, we can collaboratively develop a focused action plan that targets your goals and developmental needs that helps you in moving forward towards completing your thesis or dissertation in the most effective and efficient manner. In our experience spanning over 25+ years of advising, consulting, and mentoring doctoral students—and other researchers—we recognize that each student-researcher presents a unique academic situation which calls for an organic and flexible process-oriented approach that can accommodate the diversity of student situations.
Note that you can choose the level of up-front needs assessment that takes place when contracting for services. Short-term consulting engagements typically involve a more basic level of needs assessment, whereas longer-term consulting and coaching engagements involve more in-depth needs assessment, goal-setting, and action planning. We will work with you to collaboratively determine an appropriate level of support given your interests, needs, and goals!
The second reason we believe that a process-oriented approach is important, is that your capstone project offers you the opportunity to further develop core competencies in critical thinking that most 21st Century professionals, and scholar-practitioners, desperately need in order to manage the nature and complexity of their work; competencies that are also central to success in completing your thesis or dissertation! In most professional fields and disciplines today, attention to how one goes about solving problems, leveraging opportunities, making decisions, and working collaboratively with multiple stakeholders and people who possess diverse worldviews matters. At Creative Adventures, we practice and model critical thinking through our process-consultation approach as a matter of principle, where we believe transparency is a part of both ethical practice and, as research suggests, an integral part of developing critical thinking and the habits of reflective practice in others.
Our consulting process is based on a four-phase approach common to many types of intervention-based consulting models: Entry, start-up, engagement / immersion, and reflection / separation.
Phase 1: Entry Phase
The “entry phase” begins with an initial in-take assessment, where your dissertation advisor and consultant may spend up to an hour with you discussing your situation and the reasons why you’re seeking thesis or dissertation consulting, coaching, academic writing help, editing, or professional development in order to determine the fit between your needs and goals and our profile of service capabilities and to begin to establish the foundations for a collaborative partnership.
If through our in-take process we determine that there’s a good fit between what you’re looking for and what we can provide, we move into the “start-up phase,” which includes two components.
Our approach is scalable and flexible
to meet your unique needs and goals!
Phase 2: Start-up
The first part of the “start-up” phase, based on modern training technology and systems change / action learning models (e.g., problem solving / appreciative inquiry), begins with needs assessment (i.e., situation analysis, problem definition, opportunity exploration), which typically involves a thorough review of dissertation / thesis documents you send to us (e.g., thesis / dissertation outline, prospectus, proposal, data file), along with an interview-based assessment of your knowledge and skills in core competency domains and deeper exploration of your personal and professional goals. In addition, should you choose it, we also offer more in-depth assessment based on more extensive self-assessment tools and/or an objective assessment instrument.
The second part of this start up phase involves a collaborative action planning process based on the needs assessment and feedback we provide targeting your current developmental level in core competency areas in conjunction with your stated goals and interests. We work with you to carefully define your situation on the front-end in terms of a “current state” and your goals in terms of “future state,” and together develop a strategy to move you towards success in accomplishing your goals and completing your thesis or dissertation.
Phase 3: Engagement / Immersion
In the third phase, engagement / immersion, the profile of consulting, coaching, and training that you’ve selected as those which best meet your academic or professional needs and goals begins. This is where we work with you in implementing the action plan we’ve collaboratively constructed. We are positioned to review thesis or dissertation documents you submit to us, and to meet with you to provide feedback and coaching, on a weekly basis should you contract for this level of support, and to the extent that you’re looking for we will design and guide you through an experiential training & development program that fully immerses you in a wholistic creative learning adventure tailored to your individual personal and professional goals.
When we review work you submit to us, your dissertation advisor / consultant provides extensive and detailed comments and editorial remarks both in-text, in the margin of the document, and in a summary report. We then augment this written advice / feedback through live phone & web conferencing with your dissertation advisor to ensure that you fully understand the advisor’s feedback, and then work with you to address that feedback as necessary. Most often, this is where we will engage you in focused experiential knowledge and skill-building training activities that help you develop the necessary core competencies needed to move forward with your thesis or dissertation. This represents the iterative cycle of work we engage in with you–not unlike a similar cycle with your committee chair, though we expect to go much deeper and further with you!–that involves (1) submission of your work to us for review; (2) our review and written feedback; (3) a phone consultation / meeting to discuss the feedback; (4) focused training to build new, more advanced core competencies; and (5) revisions by you (with our on-call support!), leading back to re-submission.
Our dissertation consultants and advisors will also work with you to interpret any feedback you might receive from your chair, committee members, or others who review your thesis or dissertation work (e.g., proposal / scientific merit / IRB reviewers, stakeholders), and to address their comments and suggestions. Throughout this phase of engagement and immersion, we continuously monitor and adjust the nature and quality of our partnership to assure that we are meeting your needs and helping you accomplish your targeted learning goals as an inherent aspect of the experiential learning, quality improvement, and reflective practice models which we embrace.
To the extent that your goals are oriented in this direction,
we're prepared to engage you on multiple levels "wholistically":
mind, body, and spirit!
Your initial phone consultation takes place with
one of our consultants, and is free of charge!
Phase 4: Reflection / Separation
In the fourth and final phase of working with you—reflection / separation—we invite our clients to engage in an evaluation of their experience both for their own learning but also to provide feedback to us as part of our own reflective practice and commitment to continuous quality improvement!
Though we possess a relatively broad and eclectic base of expertise that spans across a full-spectrum of philosophic orientations, methodological approaches, research designs, core competency areas, and a number of professional disciplines, we also recognize that we can not be all things to all people. If during the initial intake assessment, it is deemed that your interests, needs, goals, or learning / collaborative style don’t align with our profile of services and approach, no one is worse for the wear—the initial intake interview is free!
Hopefully, given the depth with which we begin to engage you in reflecting on your development during the initial intake, you will have gained some new insight about yourself and the situation you’re facing in your graduate studies, as well as having experienced some of the strategies you can use to go about defining problems, and determining your current and goal state and some of the factors that influence your progress.
The 21st Century scholar-practitioner should be well-versed in using a variety of models, tools, and strategies used to analyze and map-out the complex systems in which they work. Our approach is intended to strengthen your visual literacy skills (e.g., periodic table of visualization methods), and in doing so we want to recognize some of the models and tools that inform our practice.