Posts Tagged dissertation

New Year’s In the U.S.A.

Lets set some resolutions shall we?  I read a GREAT comment posted below an article about the first year of grad school.  After all the advice and the references to citation software, getting “involved” in a program, knowing your advisors and their expectations, BLAH BLAH, there is a comment.  This comment rises high above the rest, described by its author (Packard27) as an overarching suggestion for people rowing the boat that is graduate school.

“You can print [this] out and stick it on both your morning mirror and  your PC/Laptop/etc once you begin to write your dissertation: ‘YOUR SINGULAR & ONLY MISSION IS TO GRADUATE.’”

To all the MavGrads out there, this is an easy New Year’s resolution.  It should take only a few moments of your time, a little tape, and some self-control (i.e. when you get your first draft back, don’t go ripping these notes into tiny little pieces, laughing hysterically, terrifying your five cats).

1. Print out several signs with the language indicated above.
2. Tape them all around the house (Yes, on your gaming console’s CONTROLLER)
3. Sit back and let your plea to the universe be heard.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!  Keep your eye on the prize and get that diploma!  One day you’ll be freeeeeeee!

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A Foolproof Grant Template

In Dr. Karen Kelsky’s Foolproof Grant Template from The Professor Is In (a great blog so check it out!), the outline is as straight forward as you are going to get.  I have read several of the instruction manuals for applying to NSF along with humanities grants, and while very VERY helpful, they are also very VERY long.  Not exactly documents you can start with at the beginning of your brainstorming session.

In additional posts, Dr. Kelsky also addresses several common errors including using the words “I need to…” as in “I need to fill this research gap” rather than describing in plain, formal language how you can (and will!) fill the gap.  Also, do NOT sign the document like a letter – it isn’t a letter!

Be sure to emphasize why you are applying in the first place.  Some helpful language:

“However, none of these works have addressed the central question of ___________.”

“This should be YOUR view of what is most essential to an accurate understanding of the big topic, but which  has never to date been studied by anyone else.”

If you are going to be asking for the big bucks, be sure to address the point of it all, the reason you should get the money, and why this research needs to be done.  Some more helpful language:

“I expect this research to contribute to debates on _______ and play an important role in________.”

Check out the post on the template from The Professor Is In.  Perhaps you can get a grant – and you should at least give the application process a try if the opportunity and funds are available.

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Embargo or Not To Embargo?

An article by Stacey Patton in The Chronicle – July, 2013 raises two side of the debate:

  1. Some publishers don’t want work that is available on online for free.
  2. Who purchases what and when and where constantly changes while average sales are stable – so an embargo is moot.

The article goes on to state that some academics and publishers support embargoes as a way to protect your work and warn that you will be up a creek when you finish revisions and your ideas are already free of charge.  Others indicate that many authors’ first books published and based on their dissertations and editors are trained to help turn dissertations into books; books sell, and the difference between success and failure is editing.

READ IT!  And get more information before you decide whether or not to fill out an embargo for your works.  FYI – UTA does not have a form for embargos. You need to speak with T&D mechanical checks by emailing kwitkowski@uta.edu.

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Ph.D. Graduation Policies that Make or Break!!

Are you ABD about to morph into PhD?  Now there is a 3 hour dissertation course available for you to take your last semester!   This course number was created to keep students from needing to register for 9 credit hours in their final semester!  That kind of money can really add up if something prevents you from graduating in your intended semester – like the mice in the lab next to yours escape and break into your lab and devour all of your African Clawed Frogs or the computer that stores 2 years of research data spontaneously explodes…

Hopefully, nothing will prevent you from completing your degree as you intend.  When it’s time for you  to select your final semester enrollment (YEA!), keep the following in mind.

Review the following and speak to your graduate advisor before you make your final decision.

  1. You must have 9 cumulative dissertation credit hours to graduate.
  2. You need a “P” or an “R” in all 9 hours.
  3. You may need more dissertation credits as required by your department, but no less.
  4. You MUST enroll in a dissertation course and receive a P in your final semester.
  5. Dissertation courses include 6399, 6699, 6999, and 7399. You CANNOT graduate if you enroll in 6399.
  6. You CAN graduate if you enroll in 7399.
  7. You can enroll in 7399 ONE TIME ONLY!!!!
  8. If you do not graduate while enrolled in 7399:
    • You MUST take a minimum of 6 dissertation credit hours during your final semester (6699 or 6999)
    • You must receive a “P.”
    • You must meet all other graduation requirements.
    • If not, then you must enroll again in 6 hours of dissertation.
    • If there is a chance that you may not graduate in the semester you first apply, do NOT enroll in 7399.
    • If you enroll in 7399 twice, the second course will NOT count towards your graduation. DON’T DO IT!

Hopefully, when you are pretty darn certain you are going to graduate, this class will save you some money and some time!  Then you can enjoy your last semester spent locked in the lab finishing up your dissertation, with no social life what so ever, and Siri as your best friend.   YAY!

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Two Workshops Next Week!!

writing photo

Curriculum Vitae & Resume Critiques

Wednesday, June 26th 2013, 12:00pm–2:30pm

Chemistry and Physics Building, Room 303

Bring your CV or Resume and have a professional take a look! Get immediate feedback on existing job application materials, such as CVs, resumes, cover letters, and statements of purpose. Or, bring your laptop computer and work one-on-one with editors throughout the session. You can arrive with a blank page, start from scratch, and leave with a CV that is application-ready. SNACKS PROVIDED!

Dissertation Writing Group

Thursday, June 27th 2013, 9:00am–12:00pm

Email lberry@uta.edu for location

Do you have trouble locating a quiet place to write? Would you like to discuss your writing or organization with a trained tutor? Sign up now to work in a quiet, supportive environment that allows for intense, focused, and productive writing. A writing tutor will be available for consultation, but the purpose of this event is focused writing. No content will be presented. After registering to attend the event, email Lisa Berry (lberry@uta.edu) for location information. If you do not own a laptop computer, one can be provided for you. Include this information in your email.

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Summer Workshop Calendar

Classes are out for the summer.  Use this time to address social and professional issues that have been set on the back burner.  Gear up for your BIG PAPER (dissertation/thesis) and learn how to format in Microsoft Word like a pro BEFORE you start writing – this prevents delays in mechanical checks and LOTS of frustration.

June 6th 2013:
Managing the Time Trap – Organizational Skills Online Workshop

Wednesday, June 12th 2013:
Composition and Expected Content of a Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, June 18th 2013:
Word for Dissertations & Theses

Wednesday, June 26th 2013:
Curriculum Vitae & Resume Critiques

Register online through EDGE.

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Everyone Loves to Hate a Theif

The German University system has recently taken a blow as several high-ups have been accused and found guilty of plagiarism.  One such person was Germany’s Minister of Research and Education, Annette Schava:

“Rarely do political scandal and academe collide so publicly as they have now, in Europe. In February, Germany’s education minister stepped down after Heinrich Heine University, in Düsseldorf, revoked her doctorate because her thesis lifted passages from other sources without proper attribution.” The Chronicle – Feb. 2013

Several other high-ups have been accused as well.  As a result, this scandal has been associated with the quality of the German University system in general.

Wolfgang E.J. Weber, director of the Institute for European Cultural History, says his historian colleagues from elsewhere in Europe no longer consider the German system to be the gold standard. The Chronicle – Feb. 2013

For students who put their blood (probably not literally), sweat (maybe literally), and tears (definitely literally) into their theses and dissertations, this seems like sand in the face.  Imagine if you finally received a title that that took you three years to earn and now it means next to nothing. Not my idea of a good time.  Information in the digital age travels fast.  This news affects anyone who has ever received a degree from a German institution.  Its like a blemish on a record of good standing – one that may never go away despite the repeated attempts to buff it clean.

Keep this in mind the next time you cut and paste.  The worst part – this is NOT a slippery slope that I am creating as an example to scare you.  This is HAPPENING right now.  Academics across the globe are looking at Germany and thinking “What the heck happened over there?” because several of their leaders were able to get away with cheating in school.  Take a tip from American leaders – cheat on your spouse, cheat on your taxes, but do NOT cheat on your schoolwork.

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What’s Coming Up – Events to Know About

Tuesday, February 26th 2013
Word for Dissertations & Theses
Learn the advanced features in Word 2007 typically used to write longer documents; meet the Graduate School’s formatting requirements in less time, with less stress.
6:00pm–8:00pm Library, Room 315 A

Thursday, February 28th 2013
Graduation Workshop
Get important dates and deadlines you need to meet in your final term.  Q&A after.
2:00pm–3:00pm Davis Hall, Room B17

Register online!

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Looking Forward to Your Defense

For those of you applying for graduation and getting ready to set defense dates, I thought I would resource an article from last spring from the Chronicle of Higher Education: So You’re Defending Your Dissertation Tomorrow! The author, Gina Barreca,  states, “You’ve already won this race; now there’s nothing to do but enjoy the scenery as you cross the finish line.”

Some additional suggestions:

  • Wear comfy clothing.
  • Remember you have EARNED the right to be considered the expert in the room.
  • Bring water.  People staring at you = dry mouth.
  • Remember that part of what happens during the defense has more to do with the personalities of the faculty that you.
  • It will be over before you know it!

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Word for Dissertation and Theses

New template?  No problem!  The Library is hosting a “Word for Dissertations and Theses” workshop.


When? Oct. 30 6-8pm, Central Library Room 315A

Don’t let Microsoft Word make writing your dissertation more difficult than it already is!  Learn advanced features in Word 2010 that make formatting your paper to meet Graduate School requirements a breeze.

Register NOW!!

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