Friday, January 20, 2006

I hate bureaucracy

A while back I mentioned the stupid timeline worksheet thingy from UBC Faculty of Grad Studies (FOGS) that I had incorrectly filled out. Well, it turns out that the incorrect way I originally filled it out would be more accurate than filling it out the correct way. Confused? I don't blame you.

Basically, the worksheet says to subtract 6 weeks from the day you want to defend and that's the day you need to give FOGS your thesis, which has been approved by your committee. But I just got an email saying that if you want to graduate in May, you need to defend by April 13 and you need to submit your thesis to FOGS by Feb. 10. I hear the calendrically advanced among you saying "wait a minute! that's 9 weeks, not 6!" So I called up FOGS to get clarification and they claim that I must have "misunderstood" the timeline* and that FOGS needs to send out your thesis to the external examiner 6 weeks before the defence, but that they don't send it out the day you submit it, so you need to submit it to FOGS at some (unspecified) time before that. So basically, if you want to defend on any day other than April 13, you have no idea when you are supposed to give your thesis to FOGS. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Anyhoo, the upshot of this whole thing is that now I'm not sure if I'll be able to graduate in May (as my committee needs to approve the thesis, which I will be giving them next week, having got my final set of revisions from my supervisor, and I need to give them 3 weeks to read it because, apparently, one or more of the 5 profs on my committee may have something else to do in addition to reading my thesis.... I can't see what could be more important than reading my thesis and why they wouldn't just drop everything else, but what are you gonna do?). I talked to the woman at FOGS for a while (and she was actually very nice and very helpful -- a rarity at UBC!) and she said that if I can manage to get my thesis to them by the end of Feb, we might be able to squeeze a defence in for around April 17 or 18 (which, although technically past the April 13 deadline could be OK if I can make any final revisions to the thesis in just 3-4 days). She couldn't guarantee that this will work out, but as it's not in their interest to keep people from graduating, she will do what she can. And while it's not the end of the world if I have to graduate in November instead of May (I'll still be done my defence and able to start my postdoc), you aren't allowed to call yourself "Dr." until the graduation ceremony has occurred. And that's what I'm really in this for -- so everyone will have to call me "Dr."... well, that and the lovely pink gown and puffy hat** that I get to wear.

*the timeline worksheet says, and I quote, "Date A" = "Approximate date for your final exam"; "Date C" = "Date A - 6 weeks"; "Date C = submit 2 copies of the Thesis to Graduate Studies"... if anyone can explain to me any other possible interpretation of this, I'd love to hear it

**they may call it maroon and they may have doctored that photo to make it look maroon, but when you see it in person, it's freakin' pink.

1 comment:

Jorge said...

It's times like these when I am glad I have nothing more to do with academia.
The whole How many [insert academic department admin reps here] does it take to screw in a light bulb? joke really comes to life when you hear stories like that.