|Dr. Daniel Block, my doctoral advisor|
Coursework: These are the classes we're required to take (I'll take my final 8 credits in the spring).
Pedagogical Experience: "Pedagogy" means "teaching." (I'll be co-teaching a course on Deuteronomy with Dr. Block and my colleague, Austin—a.k.a. 'brother Blockhead').
Precepting: This is similar to pedagogical experience. The doctoral student works under a professor in a required Freshman class called "Gospel, Church, and Culture," leading weekly discussion groups and grading assignments. In exchange for this work, the student receives a fellowship.
Fellowship/Stipend: A scholarship given to students above and beyond the full tuition scholarship that compensates for hours spent as a TA, research assistant, or preceptor. So far I've worked as Dr. Block's assistant each semester, but in the fall I expect to be Precepting.
TA (Teaching Assistant): Usually involves grading and record-keeping for a course taught by a professor
Research Assistant: Similar to TA work, but not connected to a particular class. The professor assigns editing or research projects, or other administrative work.
ABD ("All But Dissertation"): At most schools this means a student has completed coursework and comprehensive reading, and is cleared to write a dissertation proposal. Wheaton has a concurrent model, so we are taking classes, reading from the Comprehensive reading list, and writing our dissertation all at once. Here we are ABD when our coursework is complete. By that time we are well into our reading and have started our dissertation.
Comprehensive Reading ("Comps"): A list of books we are required to read before we graduate. Wheaton's Old Testament list contains 35 books we must read and review carefully, 91 books we must read partially, 46 books we should be familiar with, and 46 reference works we should know how to use. We must also skim 10 years' worth of the major journals in our field. Yep, it's a lot, but it helps to broaden our knowledge of the field beyond our dissertation topic. Call me crazy, but I'm loving this part.
Dissertation: This is the major (300-page) research paper doctoral students must write to prove their scholarly capabilities (I'm nearing the 1/3 mark on mine!).
Dissertation Topic: This is what I'm writing about (in my case, the Name Command of the Decalogue).
Dissertation Proposal: A 10-page paper showing why a dissertation needs to be written
Proposal Defense: An oral presentation to the faculty inviting their critique of my topic, after which the student is cleared to begin writing (mine was April 11, 2012)
|Danny and the kids surprised me |
when I turned in my first chapter.
They all dressed up and escorted me
home for an amazing 3-course dinner!
Defense Draft: This is the "final" copy of my dissertation that I'll turn in 45 before my oral defense. I'll turn in 4 copies: one for my supervisor, one for my second reader, one for my external examiner, and one for the PhD seminar room so that other students and faculty can read it before my defense.
First Reader: At Wheaton our supervisor performs this role, reading each chapter as we write it and then the whole dissertation when we're through. They help us make sure it's ready to defend.
Second Reader: This is another faculty member from Wheaton College who reads and critiques the dissertation. Usually they read at least parts of the dissertation as it is written and then the whole thing at the end (mine is Dr. Karen Jobes).
External Reader/Examiner: This is a professor from another institution, an expert on the dissertation topic whose identity is kept a secret until the defense draft is turned in. They travel to Wheaton for the oral defense and critique anything and everything.
Dissertation Defense/ Oral Defense: The student and his or her work goes "on trial" before the second and external readers, and a defense chair (another Wheaton professor), while the rest of the PhD students and faculty observe. The work is either failed (rarely) or passed, with or without required revisions. This is the culmination of years' worth of work, and a highly stressful and uncomfortable experience. Not for the faint of heart!
Technical Reader: After any required revisions are made, the dissertation is then given to the technical reader, who goes over it with a fine-toothed comb to find any errors of spelling, grammar, or style before the dissertation is bound and printed for the library and the student is cleared to graduate.
After I complete all these steps, students can call me "Dr. Imes." It's an intense journey, and a blessed one. I'm so grateful to those who provided funds for my scholarship and stipend so that I can be here, and I'm thrilled to have a partner like Danny who is committed to seeing me through this program. Even the kids are cheering me on. What a great blessing that is!