Your Diss is Dead

Sharing another post in our new semi-regular series, “Missives from the Editing Trenches” written by long-time TPII editors. They are the real MVPs, working in the trenches to catch you in all your job document pitfalls — from the self-deprecating to the self-aggrandizing. They’ve seen it all and are happy to share their knowledge and give you concrete tips on how to make your documents shine.

Today’s post is by Dr. Petra Shenk.

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Your diss is dead, baby, dead. But don’t weep. It went through a remarkable transformation into the book and/or journal articles (present, future, and past) that derive from it. And here is the other kicker, all the research that culminated in your diss and all that never made it into the tome, which nobody else will ever read, are also no longer your diss or your diss research. They too are simply publications (in review, in progress, etc.) and your previous and ongoing research.  

So, for example, if you have finished your degree, STOP writing variations of:

  • “My dissertation, How the ponies reversed climate change, explores how the power of friendship among diverse individuals coheres into a group of influential ponies that fight for the betterment of all ponies and non-ponies…”
  • “My dissertation is under contract with UC Press…” 
  • “UC Press has expressed interest in my dissertation…”

AND INSTEAD DO VARIATIONS ON THIS:

  • “My book manuscript, How the ponies reversed climate change, explores how the power of friendship among diverse individuals coheres into a group of influential ponies that fight for the betterment of all ponies and non-ponies…”
  • “My first book, How the ponies reversed climate change,
  • “My manuscript is under contract with UC Press…”
  • “UC Press has expressed interest in the project, and I will submit a proposal in June 2021…”

If you are not in a book field, then write variations on:

  • “My current research examines a remarkable reversal of climate change. Using mixed-methods, including X and Y, I explore how the power of friendship among diverse individuals coheres into a group of influential ponies that fight for the betterment of all ponies and non-ponies…”
  • “I currently have two forthcoming journal articles, one published book chapter, and another article under review. My article, “TITLE,” appears in Journal and argues…”

Now go forth and a save the world. 

About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.

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