A part of my role at Zomba Theological College is to mentor three doctoral students. These are my colleagues who have been selected to study at the University of Aberdeen. Those who have earned doctorates know how challenging it can be, even with the support of a residential community with quality academic resources like a library. These three students are attempting their doctorates without a community of other PhD’s around them and with inadequate academic resources. My role is to encourage them, to basically serve as their residential academic community. As well, through the PCC, I can help provide academic resources. The PCC pays for some internet access so that the students can get to the library resources in Aberdeen. As well, we purchase books targeted by the students and their supervisors as especially important for their topics. It may not seem like much but some encouragement and support are helping these three students to succeed.
Here is an article about their first visit to the University of Aberdeen.
2 thoughts on “Mentoring Doctoral Students”
Hi Blair, sounds like a great partnership. While I read the articles on the partnership I wondered, how many women study at the Zomba Theological College? I would be curious to read more about gender at ZTC. Thanks!
Char, thanks for the good questions.
There are no women in the Aberdeen PhD program. Each of the three students was selected by their synod and so it was the synods who had the opportunity to select a woman. While these three have been studying at Aberdeen, one of my female colleagues has been doing doctoral work at Pretoria. The college has supported her financially but not to the same extent.
For our other programs we have much larger female participation. It isn’t 50/50 but closer to 75/25. One of the synods who provides students doesn’t ordain women so it is difficult to get parity. Some of our non-ministerial students (those not associated with the synods) come from denominations with larger numbers of women leaders and that helps a great deal.
There is a program for wives of those pursuing ordination. This equips them both to do their own ministry but also with entrepreneurial and vocational training that they might otherwise not have access to. This program, while somewhat sexist, empowers women to have more agency and economic independence and so I think is a good thing in the context.
Hope that helps.