Each student in the DNP program has been assigned a faculty advisor. This academic adviser gives assistance, information and counsel in planning a program of study. Students are required to meet with their advisor each semester to review their program of study and discuss their goals. It is the responsibility of each DNP student to schedule and attend advising appointments, be prepared to discuss your specific program planning goals, and keep an ongoing personal record of the progress you have made toward meeting your educational goals in the program. These goals will be reviewed each semester with your faculty advisor to ensure that students are progressing in the program. If students wish to change academic advisors, they should complete the change of advisor form (see Related Links) and meet with the DNP Director prior to submitting the request.

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How do I get matched with a faculty advisor?

Students are matched with a faculty advisor by the School of Nursing based upon area of specialization and faculty interests.


PhD training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing relies heavily on a mentoring relationship between the PhD student and one or more members of the faculty who share a research interest (theory, method, population, or clinical phenomenon). Faculty mentors are responsible for meeting with the student to help develop an initial program plan and to provide advice about a wide variety of issues such as coursework, goals for independent study experiences, research group participation, career development, and student well-being. Upon admission, each student is assigned a primary faculty mentor who assumes responsibility for (1) assuring that a suitable program plan is developed, (2) signing any official School of Nursing or University documents, and (3) preparing the students’ annual progression review evaluation. These activities may be carried out in consultation with one or more co-mentors assigned by the school upon admission or recruited by the student during the course of his/her program.

Both the mentor and PhD student will have expectations of each other, and it is important to try to assure that there is a shared understanding of those expectations. Some faculty and students prefer to have explicit conversations about what each will do in the course of an academic year and put those shared understandings in a written document. The SoN has prepared a mentoring agreement that you may choose to use or you may want to develop your own document. Having the written agreement can provide a sense of security, but simply having regular conversations about expectations will contribute to a more productive and fruitful mentoring relationship.

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Can I change advisors?

On occasion, a student may find that an alternative faculty member, other than the assigned primary mentor (advisor), may be better suited to facilitate the student’s training. In these situations, students are permitted to change faculty advisors. The need for a change may occur when a student’s research focus has changed and no longer matches that of his/her faculty advisor, or when the student and faculty advisor mutually agree that a different advising relationship better facilitates the student’s progress. Students may also need to change advisors when a faculty member retires or leaves the University. A student may continue under the advisement of a faculty member who retires for up to one year from the date of retirement. Students will need a new faculty advisor if they do not expect to complete the dissertation defense within the academic year following the advisor’s retirement.


Mariah Allen

Position title: DNP & PhD Program Coordinator


Phone: 608-263-5258

1131 Signe Skott Cooper Hall