It’s not uncommon to hear academics (and others) whine that no one reads dissertations. Indeed, many complain that one spends years preparing for the dissertation conducting lit reviews, writing the dissertation prospectus, preparing for oral exams, conducting research on an obscure topic, and ultimately spending extraordinary amounts of time writing a book that only a few (primarily the members on the dissertation defense committee) will ever read. While I’m certain that this is the case for many dissertations, I’m thrilled to discover that a LOT of people are reading mine! Indeed, while my dissertation was published in two places (ProQuest and eScholarship.org) just five months ago, I accidentally discovered earlier today that it appears on ProQuest’s “list of the top 25 Most-Accessed Dissertations and Theses across all subjects, based upon total PDF downloads” for the month of July 2014! I’m stunned, flabbergasted, and very honored! Currently, Proquest has approximately 3 million dissertations and theses in their online archives and yet mine was one of the most downloaded last month. How or why my dissertation made it to their list is simply a thrill! Furthermore, it’s the only dissertation published this year on ProQuest’s list for July. Hopefully, this is also a sign of good things to come – I just submitted the first article (of potentially several) based on my research to a peer-reviewed journal. Whether or not that will get published remains to be seen.
At long last! My University of California, Riverside Ph.D. diploma has finally arrived (heck, it only took the university nearly eight months to grow the tree and then make the ink so they could run the paper through a laser printer). Needless to say, I’m thrilled! I am also pleased to find that it states that I earned a Ph.D. in Education (Special Education). Although all Ph.D. Candidates in the Graduate School of Education at UCR earn Ph.D.s in “education,” there are several specializations within the field. Obviously, mine was in Special Education and I wasn’t aware that the specialization would be noted on my diploma (my M.A. diploma did not mention my specialization). Anyway, it’s great to finally receive the piece of paper that signifies that I’ve earned a Ph.D.
I’ve long waited for this day! On June 16, 2014 I participated in the 60th Commencement Ceremony at the University of California, Riverside. Although my degree was “certified” on January 8, 2014 and “conferred” on March 21, 2014, UCR only has one set of commencement ceremonies each year – at the end of the academic year in June. That means I had to wait forever for the big moment!
This year, there were seven commencement ceremonies at UCR with nearly 5,500 graduates participating. Fortunately, the ceremony for UCR’s Graduate School of Education (GSOE) is one of the smallest; there were just 105 graduates at our ceremony and only nine Ph.D.s were conferred. Of course, simple math reveals that many of the other ceremonies were huge but I’m glad mine wasn’t.
I’m very grateful that UCR took a video of the ceremony. The following video was created by obtaining a screen capture and then adding some more “fun stuff.” I’ve also reduced the ceremony from approximately 90 minutes down to just 7. Of course, these are the seven minutes that are most meaningful to me – UCR’s bagpipe band (I took bagpipe lessons many years ago), portions of the processional, the “big moment”, and a few still photos that were taken following the ceremony. FYI, the “BIG Moment” (when I am “hooded” by my academic advisor) occurs five minutes into the video. Spoiler alert! The last photo was taken a few hours after the ceremony – my “wild cousin,” who is visiting from Maryland, insisted that I put on my regalia so she could get some photos at the beach. What fun!
I’ve been working on creating several articles from my dissertation (although there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get everything done) and just noticed that Google Scholar has picked up my dissertation research. I hope that it’s well-received.
My dissertation, Neurofeedback as an Intervention to Improve Reading Achievement in Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Inattentive Subtype has just been published on eScholarship.org. eScholarship is operated by the University of California and “provides Open-Access scholarly publishing services . . . and delivers a dynamic research platform to scholars worldwide.” Unlike many diploma mills, which do not provide open access to their school’s dissertations, the University of California now publishes essentially all dissertations and provides free access to the public. This is as it should be. It’s rather interesting, to say the least, that the lower the status of the school, the more restrictive they are to providing access – in fact, many charge exorbitant fees for them. I am very proud to be a graduate of a world-class research institution such as the University of California, Riverside.
It’s hard to believe but on March 21, 2014 my degree was “conferred.” In other words, that was the official date that my graduation was recorded on the University transcripts. Of course, I’ve been done for many months and the conferral of the degree was merely a formality. Just the same, it is now behind me. The only thing I have remaining is the commencement ceremony in June (yes, that’s still a few gazillion years away). I’m really looking forward to that.
For the first time in nearly six years, I’m no longer a student. Although it has been a tremendous honor to have attended a world-class research institution such as UCR, it still feels great that I’m done. I couldn’t have imagined a better university to attend. Now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!
I have received the official word that I have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. It looks so wonderfully odd to receive an official letter from UCR addressed to Dr. Jeffry P. La Marca!
I’m absolutely speechless and EXHAUSTED but the incredible news is that I passed my dissertation defense this morning! Yippeeee!
I just returned from the 2013 Conference of the International Society for Neurofeedback & Research (Dallas, TX) where I presented a poster session, as well as an hour-long oral presentation on my dissertation research. What a fabulous experience! There must have been one hundred people at my oral presentation, including some of the top researchers on neurofeedback; at least two of the most renowned researchers who helped launched the field back in the late 1950s and 1960s where there. Not only was it an incredible honor but, of course, it was also a bit intimidating but that’s a good thing.
The exciting thing is that the university sent out the announcement for my dissertation defense today! Wow! I can’t believe I’m nearing the end of a very long and challenging (for lack of a better word) experience. Sleep may be in my near future again and, perhaps, I may even be able to break away from my computer for a few days (but not for too long as I’ve got at least one more presentation to do in a few weeks and several articles I should write). I’ve got some exciting things going on and it feels great.
It’s hard to believe but the first final draft of my dissertation is DONE! I finished it on September 4th at 6:58 P.M. after spending countless months glued to my computer, not to mention everything that preceded writing it up. I’m too tired to think straight so for now, I’m just going to leave it at that! I’ve proofread it twice so far and may write up the abstract before calling it quits for tonight. Just the same, it’s DONE!