Culture of PhD applied linguistics at SOLA

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Culture of PhD applied linguistics at SOLA

Postby Woravut » 28 Feb 2019 08:03

Another reflection from reading Sapiens is the issue of culture. What is our culture?

I am well aware that 11 years after the establishment of our PhD programme is still perhaps too short and too soon for some to see it as a culture. But a record of what we have done may tell us something about our culture. Some of the consequences of our actions/ideas may remain or vanish once time passes. Maybe 10 years from when we look back, we will see our historical development, and trace back to the origin.

As I was the first PhD graduate, I want to share something that happened and may be unknown to many.

1. There were three PhD candidates in the first batch. One graduated.
2. For Research Methods (RM), we studied the first two hours in MA students. The third hour was just for the three of us.
3. Some PhD courses were not offered (or perhaps did not exist?) at that time (e.g CALL).
4. I was asked by Ajarn Richard if I wanted my Qualifying Exam to be in public or in a closed room. I preferred to make it public. (as I believe in sharing)
5. There was a VDO recording of my QE for later generations to look at. Now I have no idea where that VDO is. My QE was arranged in a big room, and there were many people ( lecturers and MA students).

6. During the QE, there were no snacks for committee. (I see some later generation students used their own money to buy some good snacks for the committee)
7. I was allowed to contact external experts to ask questions about my PhD thesis. For example, I emailed to nine international journal editors for their help in developing the framework for assessing the quality of research articles. I seen this as a sign of open learning opportunities.
8. I was encouraged to write a paper as soon as I could. I cannot remember the name of the article, but it was published in rEFLections.
9. I was given freedom not to write a five-chapter PhD thesis. At that time, other institutions that offered a PhD programme in Thailand used a five-chapter PhD thesis. Aj. Richard and I agreed that writing a five-chapter thesis would deprive us of our creatvity and orginality. So,there are eight chapters in my PhD thesis. Also, the headings of each chapter/topics should be meaningful (not just 'introduction', 'literature review' etc.)

10 Aj. Richard asked me if I wanted my VIVA to be public or in a closed room. I said something like 'make it public'. (I cannot remember the exact wording). I had my VIVA in a big room. There were committees, and many other people, and these people stayed until the end (the current format is that other people leave the room and the committee continue with their questions) (on a personal note, I cried a bit during my VIVA, and the room was silent for a few seconds.)

(I may add more later).

I hope that we can help create a record of our records/recollections. (Maybe our records can be a contribution to 20th anniversary of SOLA.....Aum, what do you think?)
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Re: Culture of PhD applied linguistics at SOLA

Postby mr.thaisanta » 28 Feb 2019 17:02

I do enjoy reading this experiential post of yours.
It's like I had really traveled back to your time during the first batch via a time machine.

Yes! For me, the culture here is very impressive especially when you shared the described item 9.
I think it reflects how outstanding the program is and it always moves ahead of others.

Although it's so challenging for me to successfully study here,
I believe in and respect the culture of PhD Program in Applied Linguistics @KMUTT.
It does make the program "World Class".

P.S. Can't wait to read more updates from you soon..
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Re: Culture of PhD applied linguistics at SOLA

Postby Eric Ambele » 01 Mar 2019 11:01

An interesting piece here, P' Boy!

I think the manner in which you articulate the ongoing changes in the programme since creation speaks of "the innovativeness" and "ongoing adjustability" in the programme to meet the demands of changing times - an aspect which I consider as part of the culture of the SoLA, PhD programme.
I may not be able to make a nice comparison of the culture in the programme now with what was then, but one thing I can say for sure is the collaboration and support that mates in the programme affords to each other in order to foster and ease learning and research. This I personally find quite remarkable because though we individually focus on our own research areas, yet, the manner in which we (referring to the current students, or should I say those in my batch and ahead of my batch) take keen interest in other areas of our mates and provide constructive feedback and support to one another is a culture that's worth applauding.

Our culture is what makes us unique and STAND OUT from other PhD programmes elsewhere.

Probably that's why we still stay to finish despite the huge challenges and demands that comes with finishing the programme.
Eric Ambele
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Re: Culture of PhD applied linguistics at SOLA

Postby punjaporn » 02 Mar 2019 11:55

Boy, I found your story really enjoyable. These 10 truths about PhD @SoLA remind me of tears and smiles in my PhD life. This is not only interesting. I also believe that it could be something that new batch can learn from. I would be very happy if our community could contribute to the book we’re going to publish to celebrate 20th anniversary of SoLA. I’ll give some more info about the book in Research discussions this Monday. Also, I would like to add a few things to your list.

- We set an ambitious, but achievable goal. Q1 journal is the first option for publication. Get rejected?, there are still many more Q2, Q3, Q4 journals waiting for us.
- I have learned how to be patient and be ready for future failures. I submitted my first paper to International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. I waited for A YEAR to get the message saying that “I'm very sorry to have to inform you that …”.
- I have freedom to choose the thesis title which doesn’t tell you very much about the study. Guidelines for giving a research title in RM books might include a comment like any research title should inform readers about variables, participants/data, areas of study, time, etc. But, I was allowed to use “A theory of keywords” instead of “Analysing keywords in research articles to develop a theory of keywords” which, at least, tells you about my data, sources of data and the purpose of the study.
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Re: Culture of PhD applied linguistics at SOLA

Postby Woravut » 07 Mar 2019 10:14

Thank you for finding my post interesting and enjoyable.

However, we need to be aware of false impression based on such as list which discards a lot.
For example, I did not tell you about my deaf ears while having a supervision. I did not tell you about an informal, friendly talk among PhD students which now evaporates. I did not tell you that I wanted to quit as I could not create a thesis outline that would satisfy Aj. Richard.
I did tell you how frightened it could be to present a progress report. The PhD session time allotted to each student was much longer that the current one. But in the frightened moments, there were laughters. For instance, one presenter asked me something like 'what lie do I usually make?' I immediately answered 'I never lie'. Sudden laughters in the room.

Maybe what I did not tell you could entertain you more, especially if you want to know what underlies...

Eager to hear from others :)

(Note: I started to recollect my memories about many scenes in the PhD common rooms, and during the progress report, but I do not want to share them as my perception would be bias)
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