As a courtesy to examiners, if the dissertation will be over 100,000 words long the student must notify the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies when the Appointment of External Examiner for Doctoral Dissertation form is submitted.
See also The Instructions for the Preparation of the External Examiner's Report.
The public was invited to watch; two dozen curious onlookers saw Stewart attempt to persuade five panelists that his 149-page thesis has merit, that it is neither outlandishly “deficient,” as some had insisted it was, nor an intellectual affront. There are no periods, no commas, no semi-colons in the 52,438-word piece. I was told that some people just wouldn’t get it, that there would be roadblocks thrown up.”He wrote his first draft in the Nisga’a language.
Stewart concedes the odd question mark, and resorts to common English spelling, but he ignores most other conventions, including the dreaded upper case. Its formatting seems all over the map.“I like to say that it’s one long, run-on sentence, from cover to cover,” Stewart laughs. “There’s nothing in the (UBC dissertation) rules about formats or punctuation,” he insists. That failed to impress at least one senior UBC professor, a powerful figure who would eventually have to sign off on the work, or all would be lost.
Stewart’s writing style — the lack of punctuation, the gaps and spaces and poetic license — continued to grate certain professors.
“I was asked to be a little more sympathetic to the readers,” he says. Anyone who has had the experience of thrashing through a highly technical journal article, bouncing from sentence to sentence desperately searching for some kind of conceptual foothold, can tell you that academics can oftentimes be downright unintelligible to anyone outside their discipline.Last spring, UBC introduced new for master’s theses and doctoral dissertations with the goal of making academic writing more understandable for a general audience, part of a broader effort within the UBC graduate school of bridging the often sizeable gulf between academia and the “real world.”“We were concerned about students being able to explain what they did to the person in line at Safeway,” said , dean and vice-provost of the UBC graduate school.The dissertation must have a coherent structure that provides a complete and systematic account of the student's scholarly work.It may incorporate work from submitted, accepted, or published journal articles, which may or may not have co-authors.Stewart used his own experiences — he was “born homeless” and grew up in a series of foster homes as a youth — to help inform the project’s design.newspaper two years ago, when his children’s village was officially opened. I didn’t have that stability of one spot.”Returning to UBC the second time, he found on the campus a new emphasis on indigenous studies.He gave up, and concentrated instead on his architectural practice.Working from the Sto:lo Nation in Chilliwack, Stewart has designed a number of high-profile buildings, including the Aboriginal Children’s Village, a unique, 24-unit residence for foster children and their families in Vancouver.Additionally, according to Porter, the lay abstract requirement will also help better prepare graduate students for their future careers.Such abstracts are commonly required in grant proposals and even in submissions to some academic journals, so the more experience students can get in writing them now, the better they will be served farther on down the line.