Sunday, 27 September 2009

The last of the mohicans

The reason I had to go to Åbo is a doctoral defence. When I tell my British colleagues that in Scandinavia the PhD degree requires a public defence they are full of awe. (Or is it despise?) I have been through it in all capacities: defendent, opponent, examination board, audience. This time I am the moderator, aka kustos. It isn't a great burden, mainly declare the defence open, give the defendent and opponent signals to stand up or sit down in accondance with protocol, and see to it that they don't go on too long. Yet behind this minor role hides a major one: I have been the supervisor. And this time it may be my last supervisee in Finland.

My affiliation with Åbo Akademi University started way back in early '90s when I was repeatedly invited as a guest lecturer. Then I was made Adjunct Professor and supervised both Masters and Phds. For a year, I was a Distinguished Visiting Professor.

In Finland, PhD students have no guaranteed funding; they have to apply a bit here and there, and it can take years. Some of my students gave up and got a job, and I can't blame them. But a couple of years ago, the remaining few started getting finished. So this is the last defence in a batch of wonderful people, whom I shall miss. But it is a joy to see my supervisees grow up and become peers.

1 comment:

Ulla PE said...

Ja, jag hade velat vara där, men jag hade besök från Finland samtidigt (det var ju bokmässa i Göteborg), så jag kunde ju inte åka iväg. Och just nu är jag i HElsingfors.