I went with option number 2.  It will take longer, but I am far more interested in the actual work.

Despite being a Chicago-numbers guy, adviser is being extremely supportive.  He gave me 3 reasons for that, which made me feel better about the whole thing.

  • This is better starter dough; there are a stack of articles that can come out of this general area
  • No one else is doing anything like it and he definitely sees the place for it in the school choice conversation
  • I am obviously more interested and motivated, even though he considers doing something that will require a new methodology to be more work.

Unless I can find a history research methods/historiography class being taught online, I’ll be spending this summer teaching myself the necessary research methods.  I’ve done a bunch of searches and come up with a list of books and articles based on syllabi on the web, so I’ll document what I’ve done, read and study them and go from there.

We don’t have a historian of ed in my department, however that may well handle itself.  There is another faculty member in our department who lists as her mentors one of the foremost historians of education.  I’m going to ask the internal faculty member to be on my committee and see if she can facilitate getting the external historian on it as well.  (We need 3 people and 1 can be external.)  Apparently adviser already broached the subject over lunch with the internal person, and she is willing.  That will help a lot.  I’m going to set up a meeting with this new member (we’ll call her Internal) after I get the feedback from my submission to the history of education society meeting.  I want to rewrite my 2-page overview based on that and use it as a starting point for our discussion.

On a tangental note, I apparently impressed people at the conference.  Adviser got a call to tell him they were impressed with the presentation (I did it – he watched) and to ask if I could review something for them.  He said no, that I needed to focus on my own writing now.  Which is probably true.  It’s nice to be asked though.

I offered to drop  my assistantship so that he can hire someone new.  Working full time means I don’t need the money and I don’t need or want the guilt that comes from feeling like I’m not working for my money.  He refused;  He said he might drop me to 25% from 50%, because he understands that my schedule makes it difficult, but that due to internal process stupidity he probably wouldn’t be able to hire someone else regardless of the money. 

However we have no more joint writing projects on the docket, which is good.  I will submit to conferences on my own, succeeding or failing on my own merits.  We are going to revise this last paper for submission and get it out by the end of May.  That will graduate me with 3 publications, which doesn’t suck.

We also talked about how burnt out I am and agreed that I need to slow down and settle in.  This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and I need to find a work schedule that leaves me some balance.

So that’s the update.  I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing.  The plan for now:

  • Finish fixing up AERA paper for publication and submit
  • Review feedback from HES when it arrives and update 2-page summary to use for communication
  • Approach Internal about being on committee
  • Work with Internal to get in contact and develop relationship with External.  See if External is willing to be on committee.
  • Document research methods sources and study them this summer
  • Write dissertation proposal once the above is done and try to defend before the end of the year
  • Take one day off per week to do other things

Busy, but not un-do-able.

Thanks for the comments.  I guess you’re all stuck with me for another couple of years.  I’ll try not to whine TOO much…..