June 8, 2005

Rigor mortician on dissertation committees

The Panda's Thumb evolution blog reports an object lesson in dissertation duplicity with an aborted thesis defense of Bryan Leonard's "intelligent design" curriculum dissertation because, well, there was no evolutionary biologist or science education faculty on the committee! The money quote comes from the comment of Andrea Bottaro who wrote,

A graduate student has the right to a thesis committee that will provide expert critical feed-back and guidance on his/her thesis work of the same kind and academic/scientific rigor that the student is likely to encounter in their independent future career. Whether the student wants it or not, it is the duty of faculty members on the committee to provide such guidance and criticism, or recuse themselves. Rubber-stamping a thesis, or even worse leading it in directions that fulfill exceedingly minoritary philosophical preferences of committee members (as opposed to the mentor’s and student’s, who are free to pursue whatever idea they wish) is primarily a disservice to the student, in addition to being a stain on the academic process and the Institution involved.

Right on!

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Posted in Teaching on June 8, 2005 7:58 AM |