Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Completion Agenda, Part 1

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20th, 2015

Graduate school, the job market, the tenure track, and every other stage in an academic career are so fraught with challenge that you cannot afford to dawdle too long on foolish ventures or waste time holding out for perfection when "pretty darn good" will do.
The first supreme hurdle — the one that scares off many potential academics and cripples the progress of others — is, of course, the dissertation. What counts as a dissertation and how long you should take to complete it vary across disciplines, institutions, and committees. But that you must complete it — and that others must approve it before you can move on — is essential.
In this series I will focus on the "getting it done" aspects of the document that are not field-specific. But let’s begin with that existential imperative: No excuses, you must actually finish. Yes, there may be factors beyond your control and, yes, you may want to strive for perfection. But let me make the case for a completion agenda, above all considerations.

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