Dissertation House: UMB’s First Day


UMB opened the summer season of the Dissertation House on Monday with several students in the on-campus session, and others joining online.  The day opened with comments by Dr. Judith Pollack (PROMISE Coordinator at UMB), Dr. Renetta Tull, Dr. Erin Golembewski, and the Dissertation House’s own Dr. Wendy Carter. UMB’s Writing Center provided the afternoon mini-lectures on “Keeping it simple” and “Overcoming Writer’s Block.”Thanks to Gerry Lardner and Jane Sellman for their time.  Sellman also provided students with gifts from the Writing Center — good old-fashioned pens and paper … in various colors to stimulate the brain.

About Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at UMBC: An Honors University in Maryland (http://www.umbc.edu), and Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She is Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) – http://www.umbc.edu/promise, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research is on global diversity in STEM and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: http://renettatull.wordpress.com. Connect with her on Google+ google.com/+RenettaTull. Follow on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull; https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull
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2 Responses to Dissertation House: UMB’s First Day

  1. Good Morning,
    Yesterday, we had a great orientation and productive day. By 5:00, we had to practically kick the students out of the DH. We are here again. Even if you did not join us yesterday, it is not too late to get started. Today is another day and another opportunity to do something on your thesis, proposal, or dissertation.

    This morning, Dr. Pollack is doing a presentation on the “Elements of a Great Defense Presentation.” When you finish writing your dissertation, you are still not finished; you still have to defend it. Dr. Pollack presented ways to help students get to finish line.

    If you have to give a PowerPoint presentation, this talk is quite helpful. Dr. Pollack shared tips regarding font size, color, orientation, slide numbers, etc. She noted that 1 in 5 men are colorblind, so color matters! You don’t want to frustrate your committee by having them struggle to understand or even see your slide. She suggests using font size 28 or above, and Arial or Helvetica font styles. Let them your focus on your content. Don’t use the default colors and line weights if you move figures from Excel to PowerPoint. Be consistent and use slide numbers so that they can easily understand your flow and refer back to the slides with questions. Most of all, practice, practice, practice and rehearse (with an audience) as often as possible before your real defense.

  2. Good morning!
    This morning’s theme is preparing for the defense day. I talked about How to Make A Great Defense Presentation. If you would like more practical tips on preparing your presentation, check out my website http://www.DefensePresentation.com.
    Dr. Carter then talked about the nitty gritty details of preparing for the defense. She gave a lot of practical tips: make sure you have a spiral bound copy of your dissertation (the SAME copy that the committee has) and read it from cover to cover the night before. Committee members *will* ask you a question from your document, and you want to show finesse when handling your copy. Also, get a good night’s sleep. When your committee starts talking/arguing amongst themselves, let them, but follow their discussion because they may turn around and ask “So, what do YOU think?” That’s a good sign, since they are then treating you as a peer.
    Never defend without your adviser. The adviser is on your side and will act as your advocate (setting the ground rules and reining in non-compliant committee members). A lot of good advice!
    All the best to all today: you are getting closer to be Phinally Done!

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