There Is No Defending the Dissertation

In an article from The Chronicle by Stacey Patton, she asks "The dissertation is broken, many scholars agree. So now what?" 

The article covers an issue that is not new. In the big mix of things that are changing in higher education, rethinking graduate education, particularly  Ph.D. programs, is in that mix.

The short list of sub-issues includes reducing the amount of time it takes to complete degrees and reducing attrition - the two are certainly connected. 

For doctoral candidates, another push is to better prepare them for nonacademic careers. With debt for students increasing, there is also increased competition for academic jobs. Jobs are not increasing; they are decreasing.

Is it time to move away from the traditional, book-length dissertation that more and more students and faculty a relic of the past? 

What would a University 2.0, 21st-Century dissertation look like? If you look at the rise of the digital humanities, there are digital possibilities for digital dissertations with video, 3D animation, audio, interactive mapping and more. It is a scenario that probably scares many academics.

 


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