When Done is Your Undoing: Failing the Dissertation Evaluation

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Bill Grover, Feb 7, 2003.

  1. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    This has been a week of checking my progress and adjusting my schedule to finish my programs on time.

    As part of this I reread the Unizul guide for doctoral degrees. Then I was struck with the possibility of failure. The UZ format is that the candidate is assigned a Supervisor. The student only works with the one guide. As the dissertation chapters are completed the student's work is evaluated by that Super only. But then, when all done, the dissertation (they say 'thesis") is presented to two profs of other universities. Then the three evaluations of the dissertation go to the UZ Faculty Board who also must say all is "Ok."

    Here's my concern and question: Does it often happened that one can finish a dissertation acceptable to the Super only to have rejected by these other evaluators?
  2. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Unlikely. Your supervisor's reputation is on the line in a minor way with your work, especially when the readers are external. He will not likely tell you that your work is good enough to make its tentative public debut if he thinks you'll make him look stupid.

    The only ready exceptions to this would be if your promoter hates you enough to want you to look stupid even at his own expense; if your promoter really is too stupid to know when you are ready; or if you pestered him enough, and prematurely, so that he chose to let you go to this donnybrook in order to get you to believe through the instrumentality of the external readers what you refused to believe from him, that you really are not yet done.

    As I say, unlikely.
  3. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member


    Unk if you were trying to provide me with assurance it didn't quite come acress.
  4. HJLogan

    HJLogan New Member

    This was very much the format I was under with my MA. My supervisor worked with me very closely throughout the project, and repeatedly reminded me that any glaring erors or omissions would be egg on his face as well. This is why it was so important to choose the most strict (read anally retentive) supervisor I could because I knew I would face him at one point!


    PS I really enjoyed the process for the most part - this became a much stronger mentoring relationship than other students I have talked with
  5. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member


    Overall this is a normal process. It does depend on whether or not the outside review allows for corrections. For instance, if an external evaluator thinks something needs to be done do you have the chance to address the issue?

    For my MA it was a one time deal so I worked closely with my committee beforehand so that when the thesis was submitted it was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

    For the Ph.D. there were several preliminary reviews by the diss. committee before the final submission for acceptance. Hence, any concerns and issues were addressed by the committee prior to a formal submission. I would think that you would be afforded the same or similar opportunity because who knows what an outside independent evaluator may determine as necessary whereas the Super. may think it is acceptable.

    Hence, I would suggest that you might want to look a bit deeper into the evaluation process. It may not be as stark as presented.

  6. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Thanks John. My Super advises but does not insist on corrections. Nothing is indicated about the other committee members allowing modifications.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2003
  7. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member


    Thanks. Actually at UZ the Super is assigned, I had no choice. However , we seem to be getting along OK and he is helpful.
  8. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Bill: Is your promoter a sadist? YES NO
    Is your promoter an idiot? YES NO
    Are you a pest toward him? YES NO

    Figure it out.
    I suspect you are OK.
  9. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member


    Is he a sadist? Of course not! Is he an idiot? Absolutely not!

    Do I pester him? Well, no, you know me, Unk. Well you actually don't, I mean you sort of do. Don't you think? That is, you know me as well as you could since you are there and I am not...there, that is. But as to the question of could I pester him , naw, don't think so. So I'm ok, huh, you think? I mean, what do you mean pester? as slightly annoying or down right bothersome, Huh Unk?? Could you be more specific cause this is kind of vital here. I mean if I do pester, how can I stop? But you think I'll be ok right? Please write back now cause I need lots of clarification. We need to really talh here, Unk. Boy this is getting tough Huh? Help me out here, I mean....................:D :D :D :D :D
  10. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    Updated version:

    Is your promoter a sadist? (1)YES (2)NO (3)NO, BUT I MAY BE A MASOSOCHIST

    Is your promoter an idiot? (1)YES (2)NO (3)PERHAPS, OR BETTER SAID, I MAKE HIM OR HER FEEL LIKE HE OR SHE IS


    :D :D :D
  11. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Cripes, Gus.

    Beel, Beel. When I said "unlikely" I meant it. You can't rule out just sheer unaccountable perverseness, but it's reasonable to expect that your promoter will be on your side vis-a-vis the external readers unless there has been a genuinely obvious breakdown in the relationship between the two of you. Nor is this to suggest that the external readers are necessarily or likely to be antagonistic. Do your research on them whenever you are told who they are, and respond accordingly. Given your capacity for excruciating detail :) you will be just fine.
  12. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Is a masosochist a mediocre masochist?
  13. Myoptimism

    Myoptimism New Member

    You could always hedge and stay enrolled in Trinity, hoping they attain NCA accreditation. :cool:

  14. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member


    "Get thee behind me, Satan":D

    (disclaimer: fewer complaints about TTSs program than about its lies)
  15. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Unk: I am mostly teasing. But there is the small worry that since my product is trying to bust the chops of widely held doctrines associated with the Nicenes and the Chalcedonians that I may step on a few toes.

  16. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

  17. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    I've known a number of people who have been in this position and they have all said that it is the dissertation supervisors job to make sure that the dissertation doesn't fail. Sure, you write the dissertation and it has to be up to standards but the defense/review/whatever is frequently seen as being a political process. Someone may not subscribe to your perspective and they may even disagree with your conclusions but none of that equals a failed dissertation. Hopefully your relationship with your supervisor is such that you are discussing these issues and can ask him/her these questions directly. It should be a part of the process, not just you preparing the dissertation but your supervisor preparing you for the defense. Good luck,
  18. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Bill, uh, about whom'd your promoter write his book? Hans Kueng. I wouldn't worry about Chalcedon.
  19. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member


    Thanks. The super and I got off on a slightly rough beginning because we hold different views on Barth. I've agreed to use his advice and connect the Barthian writings to only a limited portion of my work (ie, for those interested, the subordinational role of Christ but not trinal definitions of subsistences, hypostases, or 'Persons") . But at this point the super and I seem to be on good terms. He is very helpful and I really don't consult him much. He has called my approach to my problem "brilliant", but I don't know how sparingly he uses that adjective, and he seems not to be concerned with my logic or use of Scripture or the direction I am going in, but so far, seeks rather to help me be clear in what I am saying and to correct my spelling and grammar -somewhat from the South African perspective of English. I'll will follow your advice and ask him some questions. Thankyou for your help and encouragement.


    I don't how you discerned that my super wrote the work on Kung,[ ah ya, just remembered I told you in an email], but that is correct. I ordered his work to better understand the super's Christology and how he writes.

    My super does somewhat defend Kung, but does so partly by taking Kung's opining to addressed to the scientifically minded , the rationalistic, and the nonchurched. Kung does not use the methods of evangelicals. But I do. My work on other hand is addressed to evangelicals and attempts to by scripture disprove some tenets in the established creeds. As I am using pretty much the same presuppositions, but reaching different conclusions, as my evangelical "readers", -whereas Kung is not-, more criticism could be applied to my product than Kung's because it may be perceived as a direct challenge to their hermeneutic. But I am feeling better now about it thanks to the good folks here.
  20. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    No Bill, I googled every professor of theology in every SA university which offers DL.

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