Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is it right?

After 7 years (fall would be the start of 8) the gradstudent in my lab defended yesterday. 3 of the 5 on the committee dissented from signing of on the PhD. Instead, he left with a MSc. Big boss man signed off on the PhD, more to "save face" than anything. Quick background-- he has a first author paper in a decent journal (cowritten with a scientist in the lab who did half the work) and about three other projects "started" (i.e. on table with one number started)-so all-in-all very little work. The thesis itself was not well written, did not have a lot of critical thinking, examples, etc. and data. The talk was horrible (worse than a train wreck). My boss stopped paying him a year-and-a-half ago (at least, yanked his stipend-he could still order chemicals and work in the lab) in a passive-aggressive attempt to get gradstudent to write up and leave.

So, knowing all this, seven years and a masters. Is it right? A former committee member said he should have gotten his PhD just for being there so long. What?!? I personally wish (a) someone would have told him how bad he sucked a year ago (b) they (the committee) would have nailed him to the wall at his annual meetings (which he conveniently dodged the last 18 months) and (c) they would have been harder at the defense because the gradstudent still is arrogant with a huge chip on his shoulder. Yup- wasn't his lack of work, effort, etc that got him his masters, rather it was poor advising. For some reason, my boss told him to try things that didn't work. Go fucking figure- and here I thought we were doing research, not "search"....any thoughts?

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