It is very likely that your chair will seek to find an internal independent person to have a look at your corrections. They should not move the goal post, so they should only assess how well you responded to previous comments and the corrections done. No new reading of the entire thesis should be required, and so no new comments should be added. Please download and have a look at the criteria for a PhD award in your university and demonstrate how you have ticked all the boxes.
I received an email today regarding the reconsideration of my proposed third round of revisions. After a 3 week wait, the university have decided that an independent internal panel need to re-assess whether they feel I have addressed the revisions already done so far. Two academics will be on this panel - one is the Deputy Vice Chancellor who is a Professor of Immunology (bearing in mind my PhD is in Sociology and his expertise therefore lies outside my discipline), the second person still hasn't been chosen. I fail to understand how the university can keep me waiting for 3 weeks and still don't even know who the supposed internal 'expert' will be.
They said I could work on the latest revisions asked of me (that is 'up to me'...which seems shady) or I can resubmit my thesis as it is. It all seems very strange and tedious.
Maybe this 'expert' who is yet to be appointed will think I've done what was asked of me...but then what? Will I get my PhD or will this just go into another dispute with my external? And say if this 'expert' thinks I haven't done what was asked of me, even though my internal examiner thinks I have, where does that leave me? My university seem to be going round in never ending circles and, in the mean time, my career prospects continue to deteriorate.
I'm going to take 1-2 days to think about it but would really appreciate any advice or insights. At the moment, I'm planning on resubmitting my thesis as it is as I believe I followed the examiner's report closely and did what was asked of me. I can't believe it's now been 26 months since my viva.
And the sleepless nights continue... :(
I think that you do not recognise that this outcome is in your favour. Let me break it down to you.
I have expected an independent internal re-examination of your thesis. See my previous post. They can't just gift wrap it to you even if they recognise that there were deviations from normal procedures and an OK to pass from one of your previous examiners. They have to resolve the conflict between the two examiners and this is the best way forward. It is good that they did not insist on you working on your latest comments too.
Someone of significantly high position has to be one of your panel member to fend off problems with the external examiner. You do not want the external coming back and questioning the reexamination. Your Deputy VC fulfills this role, even if he is not in your field.
Your second panel examiner has to be chosen carefully, because this person should be someone who is closer to your field of study. This expert will be the one who gives comment on your content and whether your work is up to par. Together with the Deputy VC, you could not have asked for a better team to stop your pesky external from questioning and interfering, if they decide to pass you. So, no, there should not be another round of corrections after this. This should be the final decision from uni.
Your clock has finally moved again. Great. Perhaps you could consider making a table with columns highlighting all the examiner comments given, the corrections you did and location in your thesis. Make life as easy as you can for them so that they do not need to read the entire thesis again.You can submit this with your thesis.
Good luck to you, faded07. I am happy for this good outcome and respect the efforts from your chair. Imagine how difficult it must have been to convince the Deputy VC that they messed up (Whoops) and need his help to solve problems. Persevere on. You are nearly there.
I agree with Tru. I think it sounds very positive. I know it sounds strange that they say it is up to you whether to do the added corrections but thinking about it, it would be very undiplomatic to say "nah, scrap those!" It sounds like they are trying to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion without anyone losing face.
I think the advice to make a detailed spreadsheet of your corrections and where they are is excellent. Maybe I would also include the new ones, and if you disagree with them give a reason why and substantiate it with references or quotes. I also think that this is great news for you, for the reasons given above. Unbelievable that they have dragged this out for 26 months!!!!!
I agree this is progress towards getting the situation resolved, and therefore a good thing - although I completely understand your frustration at still not having a result for your PhD!
If you can show clearly that the corrections address all the examiners comments (agree that preparing a table/spreadsheet is a great idea) then I think it's going to be incredibly hard for them to fail you - remember, even your external wasn't able to claim that your corrections were not as requested, only that she'd suddenly decided she wanted wanted more/different corrections.
Good luck once again, and let us know how it goes.
Thank you for your helpful comments and advice. I resubmitted my thesis at the beginning of the week which equates to my fourth submission now. I did include a separate document detailing where each of my revisions were in the thesis and how each one answered the examiner's report etc.
I'm hoping this is a positive move - I didn't view the situation with the greatest of clarity when I heard what the next step was. I think after waiting for so long and enduring so many negative situations, I have a severe lack of trust in my university and the PhD system in general. I just hope the university are choosing to support me now and won't be governed by the unprofessional and inconsistent recommendations of my external. There is a general consensus amongst my academic colleagues and supervisory team that my external undoubtedly 'has it in for me'...but it just makes no sense. I've only met her once, on the day of my viva, and, since then, have done everything that she has asked of me up until this point where I refuse to do any more. I guess that's something I'll never know.
The university still haven't confirmed who the internal expert will be. They've been sitting on that decision for almost a month which, again, I deem far too long under the circumstances.
Two job opportunities came up yesterday which I will apply for but, again, without my PhD I am relegated to the back of the application queue. The longer they take to draw this process out, the more it affects my career and job opportunities as my temporary lecturing contract comes to an end this summer.
I hope that the university will recognise that time really is of the essence now but, from my experience of dealing with them, they generally think we're all going to live forever and have no conception of time or deadlines.
So my patience is wearing thin but, as per usual, I have to keep waiting...
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