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View Diary: How did Jason Richwine Get a PhD from Harvard? (332 comments)

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  •  There are lots of reasons for a late addition (15+ / 0-)

    to a committee.  When I defended my dissertation, I had a committee member from another department who I didn't work closely with and who had many advisees.  She had scheduling issues and so we found a replacement to get the Diss done on time.  People go on sabbatical; they leave departments.

    It very well could have been a political clash, but I'd expect that the person who pulls out of a committee for a political reason may have been more likely to do so in the early stages.

    Also -- depending on the program and the university, there may be a tacit assumption that a junior member or an outside member of a committee not make waves.  You make sure the scholarship follows the generally accepted norms of academic discourse and you sign off on it.  And all this is assuming that all the committee members actually read the thing, which, sadly to say, may be a stretch to assume.

    •  I had to replace a committee member (4+ / 0-)

      because the most senior member died. That was the ONLY reason the school would allow a substitution in the graduating semester. Otherwise substitutions require an additional semester. ALSO our PhD committees needed FIVE members. It seems like a low standard for Harvard to require just 3.

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