How to Finish Your Dissertation


Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • A process focused approach to completing a dissertation and other academic writing
  • The function of a dissertation and how it’s often misunderstood
  • The importance of the research question
  • The shift from student to scholar
  • How delaying writing saves time
  • The differences between fast writing, editing, and proof-reading

Our guests are: Dr. Sonja K. Foss and Dr. William Waters. Sonja and William are the coauthors of Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation (Rowman & Littlefield). They offer writing retreats and present workshops at universities throughout the country on topics such as completing dissertations, publishing, and advisor advising and do individual coaching of scholars working on dissertations, articles, and books.

Sonja K. Foss is a professor emeritus in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research and teaching interests are in contemporary rhetorical theory and criticism, feminist perspectives on communication, the incorporation of marginalized voices into rhetorical theory and practice, and visual rhetoric. She is the author or coauthor of the books Feminism in Practice, Gender Stories, Rhetorical Criticism, Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric, Inviting Transformation, Feminist Rhetorical Theories, and Women Speak. Dr. Foss earned her Ph.D. in communication studies from Northwestern University and previously taught at Ohio State University, the University of Oregon, the University of Denver, Virginia Tech, and Norfolk State University.

William Waters is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston Downtown. His research and teaching interests are in writing theory and practice, the history of the English language, linguistics, and modern grammar. He was the managing editor of the book La Puerta: A Doorway into the Academy and has published several poems in national journals. Dr. Waters earned his Ph.D. in language and linguistics from the University of New Mexico and previously taught at Northwest Missouri State University; the University of Maine; University College in Galway, Ireland; and Cheongbuk National University in Korea.

Our host is: Dr. Dana Malone, a scholar and practitioner energized by facilitating meaningful learning experiences for students and educators alike. She benefited from Destination Dissertation as a doctoral student and is excited to share it with The Academic Life audience.

Listeners to this episode might also be interested in:

  • Dissertations and Project Reports: A Step by Step Guide by Stella Cottrell (Bloomsbury)
  • On Revision: The Only Writing that Counts by William Germano (Chicago UP)
  • Your PhD Survival Guide: Planning, Writing, and Succeeding in Your Final Year by Katherine Firth, Liam Connell, and Peta Freestone (Routledge)
  • How to Write a Better Thesis (3rd ed) by David Evans, Paul Gruba, and Justin Zobel (Springer)

You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you experts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DM us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.

Your Host

Dana Malone

Dr. Dana Malone (she/her) is a scholar and practitioner energized by facilitating meaningful learning experiences for students and educators alike.

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