Friday, December 11, 2009

Drained, But Now I'm A Doctor

I spent most of the past 48 hours fretting about my dissertation defense, an event that occurred this afternoon. After hearing of the horror stories, I feared that the defense would be a grueling exercise of academic torture, but my committee was much more supportive and helpful than I could have dreamed. They provided quite a few useful suggestions and relevant critiques of my work, and I am sure that the published version of my dissertation in book form will be all the better because of their input.

And no: I do not write this because committee members might venture onto this blog. I was pleasantly surprised at how non-confrontational and, well, collegial the process turned out to be. No tuxedo jackets or pompous personalities, just helpful advice.

So the next 12 hours will be spent making last-minute formatting changes and rhetorical tweakings to keep the Graduate School happy. In some ways there is more work meeting the plethora of university dissertation specifications than there is in meeting the approval of the committee members who judge the dissertation on its intellectual merits, but at least this is the real home stretch. Still, the Graduate School can be quite tough to pacify, starting with the paper specifications:
The paper requirement for both the original and all copies submitted to the College of Graduate Studies is white, at least twenty-four (24) pound, acid-free, 8 ½” x 11” paper. The paper must be of good quality; a texture or quality feel to the paper must be present.
Or how about the requirements for page numbering:
Page Numbering: All pages must be present and numbered in the proper sequence. Do not use periods, brackets, hyphens, etc. before or after page numbers. The title page is page one (i) of the document; however, the page number is not printed on this page. If a copyright page is included in your document, it should immediately follow the title page. It will be page two (ii) of your document. However, the page number is not printed on this page. Other preliminary pages such as acknowledgments, table of contents, etc., should be numbered separately using lower case Roman numerals (ii, iii, iv, v, etc.). The preliminary pages begin the numbering at page ii or iii (depending on whether or not a copyright page is included). For engineering students this may begin at page iv due to the college required signature page. The lower case Roman numerals on all pages of the preliminary material (other than the title page and copyright page) are placed in the center of the page and spaced ¾ ” from the bottom edge. The first page of each chapter should be numbered at the center of the page ¾ ” from the bottom edge. Arabic numerals are to be used. The first page of the first chapter will be numbered page one (1) with an Arabic numeral. All other pages of the document’s body including plates, blueprints, appendices and bibliography references must be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.—please use the same font style as your text). The page numbers should be placed either in the top center or top right side of the page and spaced at least ¾” from the edge of the page , or it will also be acceptable to print all page numbers centered at ¾ ” from the bottom edge of the page.


Finally, the answer to the as-yet unasked question is yes: I will make the next pizza delivery guy call me "Dr. Brooks," at least if he wants his $5 tip.


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