Sunday, September 9, 2018

Explaining Your Dissertation, Obama Edition

That this video came out this week is great timing: one of the things I seek to teach in my Dissertation Proposal Workshop that starts next week is to get the students to learn to explain their dissertation in the following increments:
  • one sentence: this is the most that many will want to hear at a cocktail party or in a cafe (not Obama, he wants more)
  • a minute: this is what one will have a chance when meeting other academics
  • five minutes: at a poster session or in a group of folks who are interested in the general topic
  • fifteen minutes: the average conference presentation length
  • thirty-forty minutes: the basic job talk length.
This guy did pretty well, given that President Obama is a former law prof, and is aware of the general topic.  That this guy is an English major, well, he's doomed, but he did fine for someone three chapters into a dissertation.

Where he muffed it?  Explaining his objective: the job market.  Too bad he didn't read my post last month.  I guess this was not the time and place to push back against the person hosting Obama who seemed to think one could stick around and get a job in the same state.  Good luck with that.

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