The Deliberate Doctorate:

A Values-Focused Journey to Your PhD

By Leela Viswanathan

Now Available!
The Deliberate Doctorate book

The Book

The Deliberate Doctorate

Are you intimidated by the thought of embarking on a PhD? Do you wonder if you can or even should go down that path? Are you in the throes of the journey but have lost sight of why you began in the first place?

Author Leela Viswanathan has been there and her book, The Deliberate Doctorate, is designed to help you every step of the way. Viswanathan reflects on challenging situations on the road to her PhD and offers insights from her experiences as an associate professor and PhD supervisor. Her exercises will help you identify why you want to achieve your degree, what having one will do for you, and how to stay true to your core values throughout the process. Taken together, the exercises will produce a personalized roadmap to your doctorate.

Designed for current and potential PhDs, the book will guide you through networking in academia, avoiding burnout, and setting boundaries – crucial but often unaddressed aspects of the journey that can make the difference between earning a PhD and abandon­ing one. Ultimately, this book provides a roadmap for a kinder and more meaningful academic experience – one that nurtures rather than saps graduate students’ energies.

Where To Buy The Deliberate Doctorate

About The Author

Leela Viswanathan PhD, RPP, FCIP

Leela Viswanathan

Leela Viswanathan is the founder and principal of Viswali ConsultingTM where she works with clients to develop plans, policies, and practices for systems change. Dr. Viswanathan is the author of The Deliberate Doctorate: A Values-Focused Journey to Your PhD, published by On Campus, an imprint of UBC Press.

A lifelong learner, Dr. Viswanathan has over 20 years of experience as an innovative planner, award-winning educator, and accomplished researcher in government and not-for-profit sectors, and in academia. Currently, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University and Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University, Viswanathan is also a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners (FCIP).

Dr. Leela Viswanathan

Public Speaking

Motivational Talks, Discussions, and Informal Meet and Greets

As the author of The Deliberate Doctorate and a thought leader in higher education, Dr. Leela Viswanathan is available to meet with students, faculty, career educators and advisers, and university administrators for motivational talks, discussions, and informal meet and greet sessions. She is happy to develop a talk that best meets the needs of her audience and event organizers, including speaking on the following topics:

  • Debunking and addressing imposter syndrome
  • Developing an entrepreneurial and growth mindset
  • Supporting wellness throughout the PhD journey
  • Networking
  • Fostering equitable, diverse, and inclusive research environments
  • Transforming postsecondary education policy and practices

Stay Connected

Key messages from The Deliberate Doctorate show postgraduate students how their PhD journey can be driven by purpose when it is grounded in their core values and aligned with their future plans.

Follow Leela on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram at the icons below. Come back often to this website. Book launch and community event details will be posted here, and on social media, as they happen. Order your copy of The Deliberate Doctorate from UBC Press, the University of Chicago Press, or your favourite bookstore.


26 September 2023 Book Launch with Guest Reviewers, Sayed Dastgheib-Beheshti and Charlotte Lombardo, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University.
28 September 2023

“Making the Most of the Journey to Your PhD”, Professional Development Seminar, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Waterloo.

19 October 2023

“The Deliberate Doctorate”, Fireside Chat, St. John’s College, University of British Columbia (Vancouver).

19 October 2023

Guest/Visiting Author in GRSJ 515: Keeping the Creative in Mind: The Poetics and the Politics of the Imagination, University of British Columbia (Vancouver).

20 October 2023

Breakfast and Meet and Greet organized by St. John’s College, University of British Columbia (Vancouver).

20 October 2023

Indigenous Student Lunch, organized by UBC Indigenous Graduate Initiatives, Vancouver.

6 November 2023

Guest Speaker, Marine Management Skills Development Course, Marine Affairs Program, Faculty of Science, Dalhousie University.

8 November 2023

Closing Keynote Address, “Building a Supportive Community for Students on the Journey to Their Graduate Degrees”, Graduate and Postdoctoral Development Network Annual Conference (Victoria, BC and Online).

14 November 2023

“Making the Most of the Journey to Your PhD”, Professional Development Brown Bag Lunch Workshop, Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University (Keele Campus).

14 November 2023

“So you’re now in the ‘weeds’ of graduate study: How to survive and thrive?” Guest speaker, GGR 1105 Geography Master’s Core Course, University of Toronto.

16 November 2023

Book Talk, “Making the PhD a Journey of Self-Discovery,” with Guests, Sheila Stewart and Dr. Beverley Mullings, Another Story Bookshop, Toronto, ON.

21 November 2023

The Deliberate Doctorate Lunchtime Gathering, Ban Righ Centre, Queen’s University (Kingston).

16 January 2024

“The Deliberate Doctorate”, Teaching and Learning Speaker Series: Teaching To Transgress, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Queen’s University (Kingston).

18 January 2024

The Deliberate Doctorate, Book Celebration and Reading, Novel Idea Bookstore, Kingston, ON.

31 January 2024

Guest Speaker, “Scholars to Leaders” Speaker Series, Western University (London, ON).


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