Critical friendship reconsidered

The complexities of graduate student advising across cultural contexts


  • Vachel Miller Appalachian State University


critical friendship, Ethiopia, higher education, graduate advising


In this paper, I reflect on challenges of graduate student teaching and advising across a cultural/institutional divide between a comprehensive regional university in the US and an expanding research university in Ethiopia.  This is a field-based report rooted in my recent experience as a Fulbright Scholar in Ethiopia in 2015-16 and contextualized by the rapid expansion of graduate education in Ethiopia.  Methodologically, I take a hybrid approach, blending autoethnographic and narrative moments with analysis based on higher education policy literature.  My purpose here is to tell a small story as a window into a larger story about the expansion of higher education in Ethiopia and the epistemological tensions involved in the work of critical friendship in graduate advising across cultures.