Sunday, August 28, 2005

Incommunicado

So my dissertation defense date is rapidly approaching and 4 of my 5 committee members are supposedly reading away, marking up their copies of my diss., and preparing their questions for me for September 13.

But my second reader hasn't even gotten his copy of my dissertation. More than a month ago, I sent out an email to all my committee members, asking them where I should send their copies and Prof. W never responded. So I emailed him again. And again. And again. Four times I wrote and four times I got no response. So the other day, I just put the diss. in the mail to the address I had sent him something a few months ago and crossed my fingers. I sent him an email telling him that I hope this is okay, that it should arrive at his house in New Hampshire, and not at his office in Boston. I still haven't heard anything. Good thing I blind-CC'd my first reader/adviser on that message, for he told me I was doing the right thing. I just think it's ludicrous that three weeks away from my defense and Prof. W isn't grousing about not having his copy of the diss. A couple of months ago, before spiffing it up for the final copy for the committee, I had sent him a version of the diss. to approve before I started the machinations for the defense and I still haven't heard anything about that.

I don't know if I should be worried or just irritated. When I was taking courses with him, Prof. W and I got along fairly well, despite the fact that he has a very prickly personality. But once I moved from Boston after finishing my coursework, I was sort of "out of sight, out of mind" to him, which I guess is fine. My oral exams were fine, and he caused no problems then. But the past couple of months, he's been almost completely out of communication.

What I'm afraid will happen is that he'll raise all these issues at the defense, issues he could have raised months ago, had he read the dissertation then. Since my first reader has been in charge all along, I suspect that the two of them will meet before the defense and Prof. K will tell Prof. W not to make too many waves, or at least not berate me for things that he could have discussed with me during the writing process. I'm very happy now to have had Prof. K as my main advisor--I'm only realizing now how much he has stood up for me and that he has always been in my corner.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you aren't really expecting them to read it are you? because from what i've seen, most don't... or at best skim it, focussing down on one or two chapters. then read the conclusion. unless you aren's supposed to pass, which they have already decided or not.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Francesca said...

I expect they'll do something more than skim, less than read. Most of all, I expect my second reader to do this, which is the point of my message.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Porkorama said...

From what I hear from friends who have defended, it is very rare that a professor will have really read through your whole dissertation. Skimming seems to be the rule of thumb. Which at this point I'm thinking of using to my advantage.

If your reader points something out that they hadn't brought up before, you can find a way to politely inquire why they hadn't brought it up in the previous versions they read. But one of them will probably bring something up just to make it seem like they're doing their job, trying to give you something to defend.

God I can't wait for this nightmare to be over.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Francesca said...

Okay, my point wasn't really about how much of my diss. the committee members will read, it's about the fact that my second reader has dropped off the face of the earth.

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