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Author Topic: Can I do this?  (Read 2063 times)
stringcheese
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Posts: 14


« on: November 09, 2012, 12:38:10 AM »


Can a faculty member remove themselves from a thesis committee if:

1) Only 2/3 of the committee ever meet
2) The thesis is an unacceptable level of work
3) The student neglected previous comments and has done minimal work
4) The student turns in drafts the evening before the meeting
5) Even simple things like formatting are never corrected
6) Student does not give a s***
7) Committee chair does not give a s***
8) This has been on-going since Spring
9) etc...

I have spent hours editing old drafts never looked at by the committee chair.  Same errors from months ago that the students just ignores.

Can I remove myself? 





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oldfullprof
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Representation is not reproduction!


« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 12:43:50 AM »

Yep.  Sounds like a good plan.  I signed off on two undergradualte honors theses I knew were no good.  One, the student promised to make my corrections and didn't.  The other, my two other committee members talked me into it.  I felt bad for while in each case.  I'm pretty breezy, but I hate bad theses. 

I did stop a couple of nascent bad masters theses by insisting on corrections, and getting them.  I was the outside committee member too.
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yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 12:45:42 AM »

So much of this depends on the departmental and institutional culture(s) you are dealing with.  I'm at a SLAC, but if I had a senior honors thesis student like this I would have recused myself ages ago.
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frogfactory
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Posts: 10,600


« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 3:42:57 AM »


Can a faculty member remove themselves from a thesis committee if:

1) Only 2/3 of the committee ever meet
2) The thesis is an unacceptable level of work
3) The student neglected previous comments and has done minimal work
4) The student turns in drafts the evening before the meeting
5) Even simple things like formatting are never corrected
6) Student does not give a s***
7) Committee chair does not give a s***
8) This has been on-going since Spring
9) etc...

I have spent hours editing old drafts never looked at by the committee chair.  Same errors from months ago that the students just ignores.

Can I remove myself? 


I don't know what you can do, in your institution, but #4 by itself is unacceptable.  I wouldn't confirm a meeting date until I had a draft in hand.  Even then, I would give it around a week.
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At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to masturbate in the bathroom.
compdoc
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Posts: 2,420


« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 5:24:19 PM »

Excuse yourself NOW. One of my colleagues started an ongoing feud with another colleague by staying on a committee and then refusing to pass the thesis when it wasn't up to par. (Student was other colleague's relative.)
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offthemarket
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Posts: 1,851


« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 6:14:40 PM »

Of course you can. You can excuse yourself for nearly all of those reasons on their own. You have no obligation to remain on a committee, and if the student can't identify committee members because of toxicity issues, essentially this is a problem of the student and the students committee chair.
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hiddendragon
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Posts: 1,230


« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2012, 2:48:18 AM »

It depends on the practice of your program.  At some programs, there are "readers" and "non-readers."  If you are only a "non-reader" then it is ok for the student to give you the dissertation just a few days or weeks before the defense.  Although, ideally, the student should know better.  You only have to listen to the presentation and ask questions from there.  At the program I graduated from there are three "readers" who have to read and comment from start to finish, and two "non-readers" who can read and comment later or not read at all--totally their discretion.  They still show up to the defense and listen to the presentation and they can also ask for a rewrite after the defense.

As for getting off this committee, there may be politics at play.  I had that very grad. student you described--did not make the changes I requested, and did sub-standard research (mostly secondary sources, like 90% of the diss was secondary sources).  But, you know what?  I couldn't just walk away because I was tt and he was my colleague's student.  Out if respect for my colleague, I had to see the process through.  Signing my name on to that dissertation has bothered me since, but I couldn't just walk away....
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lucy_
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Posts: 2,460


« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 6:23:29 AM »

I'll let others address the question of removing yourself from the committee, but I'll share a similar story.

We had a Masters student who handed in a thesis in just under the week he was supposed to. I started reading and editing it, but then felt like I was doing the job of the thesis advisor, so after just a few pages, I made a comment that I had started him off on the corrections, but was not going to do his job for him, that he needed to go through it himself first, using spell and grammar check first, talk to his advisor, have his advisor make the edits, then and only then would I look it over.

Apparently I wasn't the only one on the committee that felt the same way. So then we gave him a conditional pass. The seminar and oral defense was fine, but he'd pass only on the condition that the writing was up to snuff....still waiting for the revised thesis......

When I spoke with the young untenured prof, the prof said that the student only gave him/her one day to make the edits. I said if it had been my student, I would have told the student, "sorry, but we are going to have to postpone. sorry." Bad enough for the student to be so careless uncaring about his work, but for the research advisor to try to pass it off on the committee, well, that's another thing.

But the difference in my story is that the entire committee was on the same page, and wasn't going to reward bad behavior. Your situation sounds different in that regard.
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