It’s one of those long standing traditions of academia – having your work examined by someone who has no stake in your future career. In theory, this should liberate the external examiner from feeling obliged to grant unworthy applicants a degree, but in practice, I have the sinking suspicion that, to the examiner, it probably just feels like one of those thankless tasks that really doesn’t have any reward.
Although I can’t actually do anything to make it more rewarding for whomever steps up to the plate for my thesis, other than try to make my writing as easy to read as possible, I thought I might start by casting the net a bit wider than the average grad student’s search – in the hopes of finding someone with a real interest in reading my thesis.
If this were a job application it would go something like:
Wanted: One External Examiner. Must be an academic with interest in at least two of:
- Chip-Seq Algorithms
- Large databases
- Human cancer variation
- Breast cancer
Applicant will be required to read and comment on a 120+ page document, and either appear at an as yet unscheduled thesis defense, or to send comments via email. Successful applicants will be allowed to twitter or blog the defense, if desired.. Compensation will not be commiserate with experience… or with anything else, for that matter.
Does that appeal to anyone?
In any case, I fully expect to start putting together a list of names in the next couple weeks. I should mention I’m not really expecting anyone to step forward, but I would be thrilled if someone did.
Other Thesis Related Matters: The document currently sits at 92 pages of text/figures/refs, with what feels like about 65-70% of the content I want to put in. I anticipate having a reasonable first draft in about 3 weeks, putting my thesis defense roughly in November-December. I’m still debating doing all of edits in an open manner on the web, but I will not be opening up any of it until after my committee has seen at least one draft, at the earliest.