It has been a couple of months since my most recent update, and I wanted to make sure I posted before the semester begins. As a PhD student in the dissertation proposal stage, I find it challenging to track when the semesters begin and end as I have no formal classes to attend. I noticed this has also caused the length of time between blog updates to be longer than when I was in coursework. I will try to be more diligent about posting here as progress is made.
I’ve spent quite a while working to scope my dissertation proposal so that the actual dissertation is achievable. As a result, I’ve traveled down windy roads that have caused me to come back to my original idea and I’ve traveled down dead ends that have required me to backtrack, again to my original idea. Where am I now? I’m pretty sure I’m still moving forward, though I would never have imagined that it would take as long as it has to finalize a proposal. I’ve walked away from the “choosing one of the case studies and exploring it in depth instead” approach from my most recent update.
So where am I now? I am still focused on Bureaucratic Politics and the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. The dissertation is a historical analysis of the program and has expanded to four cases. The cases are much narrower in their focus and will examine the coordinator’s role in the program. I have a more robust list of players to interview and it seems like the proposal is now on the right track. I meet again with my committee chair next week for feedback. If you remember from the most recent update, I planned to defend my proposal by the end of this month. As I have learned throughout this process, from coursework through proposal work, plans have a habit of moving to the right. Proposal defense will not take place this month, and I have set a revised deadline of December.
In other news, our school now has a new name! The School of Public Policy (SPP) and the Department of Public and International Affairs (PIA) have merged to form the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs (SPGIA). This happened some months ago and I think it’s great news for everyone involved. I took two PIA courses, and I have some familiarity with the faculty. Our new website is spgia.gmu.edu. Check it out!