Saturday, June 7, 2008

Changing horses midstream

I just wanted to bump Anon 11:54's question up top:
Hi everybody. I have a question that's very difficult to ask as it must remain super-duper anonymous, for obvious reasons. Has anybody out there ever heard of an ABD student switching directors within the same department? If you have heard of this, do you know the outcome? Can it ever "work"? Before you all start recommending the obvious solutions (be more more flexible...grin and bear it...) let me be very clear that in the case I have in mind, none of these options will work. We're talking end of the rope, last-ditch scenario here (with the one particular faculty member in question--not with others in the same department).
There are a lot of good comments replying to this in the comments to the last post. I'd be a little surprised if changing advisers hurt your job prospects, but it may prolong your stay in grad school.

I do think there's a case to be made for moderate grinning and bearing. Your advisers probably comprise the majority of people who will read your diss which gives you some reason to seriously take their concerns (however good you think they are) into account. And, so long as any non-dissertation related favors etc are more annoyances than hardships, doing the favor may help maintain positive relations.

That said, if you're thinking about this over the summer, you've been working on your diss for at least a year. One significant reason to change now (and this goes for all your advisers, not just your director) is that all your advisers have to sign off on your diss before you can get out of there. If the end of the rope has something to do with your director not being receptive/responsive/respectful of your ideas after a year+, it's just practical to get out of that situation.

-- Second Suitor

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