Reforms instituted by the Government Department last spring to prevent a shortage of thesis advisors appears to have paid off, the department's head tutor said this week.
"This year everything is according to schedule," said head tutor Paul Pierson. "Last year's problem seems to have been corrected."
In the past few years, a surge in the number of government concentrators posed a problem for seniors trying to find professors or graduate students to advise their theses.
Last year, "there were a couple students who said that they knocked on 10 doors and had been unable to find someone," Pierson said. "It took a lot of work to match students with advisors."
Starting this year, the department requires honors candidates to maintain at least an 11.5 (B/B+) grade point average in concentration courses until the spring of their junior year in order to qualify for an honors thesis. The measure reduces the number of eligible thesis writers by about one-fifth.
The department also adopted new methods for pairing students with thesis advisors.
"Last year the tutorial office didn't make any effort to coordinate the process in any way. It was a pretty haphazard process," Pierson said.
This year, the department streamlined the process by having the available professors and graduate students select beforehand the candidates they are interested in working with based on a list of names and thesis topics.
Each student then received a list of interested advisors, with whom they were welcome to arrange interviews.
"We didn't want to force anybody into a match," Pierson said. "We give the students the phone numbers and then it's up to the students to contact the professor."
An estimated 110 government concentrators are writing theses this year. On average, each thesis advisor advises three students.
While most of the senior honors candidates have found advisors, Pierson said some students who signed up late for theses were still searching for advisors.