This morning I’m a little sad.  My current project is to form a dissertation committee: three people, of whom I have one (my chair).  I had someone in mind, a very senior scholar who I adore because he doesn’t pull his punches and isn’t afraid to say what’s really going on.  Unfortunately I just found out that he is going on sabbatical in 09 and then retiring, and therefore isn’t accepting any more students.

To give you an idea of why his retiring makes me sad, I asked about how long a quantitative dissertation should take or usually takes.  His response: 

Well, the trite answer is “It all depends.”  The real answer is, your
committee will be suspicious if it goes too quickly…that’s is, they will suspect that you haven’t suffered enough. A good six month at least should elapse between prospectus and final oral, to create the impression of
sufficient suffering.

How can you not adore someone who answers questions like that?

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