Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Last week I was privileged to take part in the examination of a doctoral thesis at the Iceland University of Education. The successful candidate, Dr Gudrun Geirsdottir of the University of Iceland, was grilled in front of a large audience over her thesis on academics' conceptions of the higher education curriculum.

The event of the doctoral examination was a very special occasion indeed. I like the practice of conducting public vivas, given that the thesis is not allowed to go forward until it is clear that it is a pass. The viva becomes more of a public celebration, and the inclusion of friends and family in the ceremony and celebrations afterwards is very special. Please see Gudrun's supervisor leading a song about her above. This is a completely different experience to the private viva in other systems in which the very real possibility of failure or revision ensures that no celebrations are planned. If anyone knows of a reason why public viva/ceremonies are a bad idea please tell me.

In the meantime I would like to extend a hearty takk fyrir to those in Iceland who made the week so enjoyable. They will sadly not be joining us at our Symposium, given that the Iceland University of Education is celebrating its centenary on 7 June, and shortly afterwards they are joining the University of Iceland through a merger of the two universities. So it is a critical time for them, and I wish them the best.

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