Tuesday, January 16
I'm pretty sure I've complained before about the thesis committee meeting I should have scheduled about six months ago. I gave up on it at some point last year because I was sick of repeatedly being ignored by one committee member (the chair, in fact). I recently started trying to organize it again, after being threatened with not being able to register, but I feel like giving up again.
First, I sent out a list of 15 possible times and one committee member's assistant vetoed every one of them. Then, I emailed that assistant twice, asking for some guidance on what would be a better month before I spammed the whole committee with another long list of dates that wouldn't work. No reply. Today, I gave up on that idea and just sent a list of 30 possible times. Immediately I get a reply from the assistant who ignored me, saying only two of those might work (and pointing out that one of the dates I suggested was a holiday). I've still heard nothing from the chair, who I'm beginning to suspect doesn't use email at all. The phone number I have just rang and rang without even going to voicemail, too.
Any hints on getting three professors in a room together sometime before I get kicked out for failing to have this meeting?

Update: It's a miracle! I just got an email from the previously email-less chair! Maybe I should post here every time I have a seemingly insoluble problem. :)


fraud, in denim said...

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time, Dandelion. Can you schedule a meeting with the chair alone and ask for insight (and maybe find out what their aversion to email is)? It's too bad that you have to work through an assistant. I'll bet the member would be more flexible.

I'd pursue the holiday, if you can. I had a friend who defended his MA thesis on a holiday and was able to get his committee there because there were no classes or other commitments.

Good luck!

Dandelion said...

The chair actually doesn't have an assistant, so I'm not sure how I'd even get hold of him to schedule a meeting, short of camping outside his office.
The third committee member can actually do those 2 possible times, though, so maybe I will be okay if I can just track down the chair.

Scarlet said...

I'm glad your problem is on the way to being solved. a.secret is a mystical, magical place.

Turquoise Stuff said...

First, I definitely recommend trying to get an in-person meeting with your committee chair to iron out some of the issues. Once you're in the same room, you can nail down some specific times and proceed from there.

Second, and more importantly, I see a much larger potential problem looming here. If you can't even get these people to get back to you about a meeting date then how are you going to get them to give you constructive feedback during the dissertation process and how in the world are you going to get them to write you letters of recommendation that will get you a job?

Any chance you may have chosen suboptimal committee members?

Or have you asked around and is this the norm in your dept? If this is not the norm then I'd take some time to rethink your approach to your committee. You should have at least one person who is sufficiently enthusiastic about your training and who will work with you on getting the other folks on board.

Students often underestimate the importance of recommendation letters. And with this kind of attitude on behalf of your committee, I'm having a hard time seeing great letters emerging.

I don't mean to freak you out, I just think these are issues you may want to think about and this may be a good time before you go down a certain path.

Dandelion said...

Sadly, I seem to be back to square one again. Maybe I need some more a.secret magic.

Turquoise, you are freaking me out! My advisor keeps telling me this is normal. They did give me very good feedback last time I met with them, anyway.
I just remembered, in the last meeting, they kind of all tried not to be the one stuck with the job of being chair... I kind of got the impression that being on committees was an obligation, rather than something to be enthusiastic about. Is that not how it's supposed to be? They did seem to like my project, though.