Author Topic: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?  (Read 7711 times)

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Canadianprincess

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Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« on: September 20, 2008, 01:18:09 PM »
I will be defending my thesis in a little over a week and it's in the afternoon. My supervisor and two committee members will be present. The defence is expected to last about 2 hours. Do you think I should bring food? If so, any ideas?

guihong

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2008, 01:33:54 PM »
Food for yourself or food to share?

If you know how the defense goes, and if you get a break, it's a good idea to bring some healthy snack.  As for bringing for all, what do other students do?  I thought it was more like a business meeting, where you are not expected to feed those attending.

Oh, and best wishes!

gui



NsWife

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2008, 01:41:22 PM »
Mine and the other ones I've been at are usually like a long business presentation. Do not bring food unless your advisor tells you you should.

Good luck on your defense!

Black Delphinium

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2008, 01:45:39 PM »
I just asked the two grad students I am currently watching the PSU game with, and they said that. at least in their department, yes, everyone brings food. Usually donuts, but sometimes even things like pizza.


So I'd say ask around to others in your department, and go from there.
When angels go bad, they go worse than anyone. Remember, Lucifer was an angel. ~The Marquis De Carabas

TootsNYC

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2008, 04:37:00 PM »
I just asked the two grad students I am currently watching the PSU game with, and they said that. at least in their department, yes, everyone brings food. Usually donuts, but sometimes even things like pizza.


So I'd say ask around to others in your department, and go from there.

I'd have said no--were I a professor, I wouldn't want you to bring food, bcs I wouldn't want any hint that anything other than your defense had any effect on the events of the day.

But then, here's this info from Black Delphinium, so it's clear I'm an outsider.

So, ask around, and follow your culture's norms.

Kaylee

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2008, 04:40:04 PM »
I just asked the two grad students I am currently watching the PSU game with, and they said that. at least in their department, yes, everyone brings food. Usually donuts, but sometimes even things like pizza.


So I'd say ask around to others in your department, and go from there.

I'd have said no--were I a professor, I wouldn't want you to bring food, bcs I wouldn't want any hint that anything other than your defense had any effect on the events of the day.

But then, here's this info from Black Delphinium, so it's clear I'm an outsider.

So, ask around, and follow your culture's norms.

I agree.  I'm sure this is highly individual--some departments would think this was really unprofessional and too informal, and in some it would be acceptable.  (I wouldn't have suspected that anyone would do this--I've also heard people complain that "Professor So-and-so was eating during my defense!"--so I wouldn't do it if it wasn't the norm.)

Ashe311

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2008, 04:42:32 PM »
I'm defending in a few months (hopefully).  I wouldn't bring food to my defense, but like a couple PP's have said, if it's something you do in your department go for it.  Defenses are usually scheduled to avoid conflict with a mealtime, so it's not like they'll be starving or anything.

I usually bring food to share for a committee meeting, but I wouldn't bring food for a defense.

That said, good luck!  Let us know the results!

kkl123

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2008, 04:59:21 PM »
Ask around -- it really depends on the culture of the department.  In my department, it was expected... and usually homemade goodies.  Those of us who did bake often took pity on those who did not and were facing their committee.  The department supplied cups and a coffee and tea service.

My major prof was nuts for sticky buns, so I brought them both times.  I needed a few seconds at prelims to formulate  a good answer to a question he asked, and I handed him the plate of sticky buns.  Everybody busted out laughing, and one of them asked if the sticky was to glue their jaws together. <g>  Brought them again to my orals, and apparently I got a little involved in minutiae in one section, because one of the members suggested I have another sticky bun.  So we all cracked up again.

But in some departments, refreshments would never fly.  Neither would laughter at prelims or orals.  Sigh.


blarg314

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2008, 02:41:44 AM »

I haven't seen anyone do this before. In my experience, the thesis defence is like a business presentation, and bringing snacks to share would be seen as unprofessional, and possibly like you're trying to soften up the committee.

From a purely practical point of view - if the committee is happily snacking on food, they're more likely to stay longer, as they'll be comfortable. You *want* them to start getting hungry near the end, so they'll finish up quickly, and let you go.

If you have some sort of medical need for a snack half way through that's different.

sasha

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 01:57:32 PM »
I will be defending my thesis in a little over a week and it's in the afternoon. My supervisor and two committee members will be present. The defence is expected to last about 2 hours. Do you think I should bring food? If so, any ideas?

This is completely dependent on your department culture and the only people who can answer it are in your department. Some departments expect food, others wouldn't dream of having it.

In any case, good luck with your defense!

Sasha

Deetee

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2008, 02:05:19 PM »
I will be defending my thesis in a little over a week and it's in the afternoon. My supervisor and two committee members will be present. The defence is expected to last about 2 hours. Do you think I should bring food? If so, any ideas?

This is completely dependent on your department culture and the only people who can answer it are in your department. Some departments expect food, others wouldn't dream of having it.

In any case, good luck with your defense!

Sasha

Total agreement here.

Where I defended, no one brought food to a defense. It was a serious meeting, not entertainment.
Where I work now, the candidate always brings food to the defence. It is a public event and people are used to all talks having food (the "real" defence is held three weeks prior-it is called a prelim, but everyone knows it is more serious.)

Etikate

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2008, 03:21:56 PM »
In my department, students frequently bring food as a thank you to their committee.

If I were you, I would ask my advisor how this would be received.

Fud

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2008, 07:07:08 PM »
My mother did, then again that was in the 70's

penguinpants

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2008, 12:02:12 PM »
Food was always present at the defenses I've attended, and always provided by the defender.  I assumed that it was a "thank you" move, as Etikate suggests.  These same defenses have always been professional, in-depth, productive sessions.  I assumed that this was standard practice, since everyone seemed so used to it and to proceed with business, as usual. 

One member of my committee was offended by the homemade cookies and brownies I provided, while the rest were perfectly fine.  I had no idea that anyone would object, since it seemed to be the norm.  I'd also never attended a defense where he was a committee member, but had attended plenty of defenses containing the others.  I was taken aback a little, but said, "I apologize for offending you."  The others shrugged and ate his portion.  :- )

So, yeah -- try to get a good read on individual committee members.  In my case, one person's taking offense didn't matter in the greater scheme of things; he was just more difficult to deal with for two hours.  But two hours, out of an entire life, ain't nothing.  If food simply isn't "done," however, it's important to know that. 

On another note:
Baking, for me, relieves stress, and it's also a chance for me to incubate, to invent, to reflect -- if my hands are busy with something else, my brain usually "unclogs," and gets working again.  I'd have baked anyway, and provided treats to the office staff, if my committee hadn't wanted them.  If I'm coming in prepared, with detailed notes, extra paper and pens for guests, extra copies of my thesis for guests, copies of the video and text under examination, etc., then I'm puzzled as to why it'd be assumed that my mind wasn't focused enough on the work itself?
Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable. -- Jane Austen

saki

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Re: Should I bring food to the thesis defence?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2008, 12:42:21 PM »
I've never heard of bringing food to a viva (the British equivalent).  I think my examiners would have been beyond stunned if I had!  Here, the "host" is the internal examiner, the "guest" is the external examiner.  It's the internal examiner's job to get water/coffee/tea/whatever for people and to take the external out for a meal (or, I guess, cook for them) before or afterwards.  The PhD candidate doesn't need to do anything, although it's traditional to go to the pub afterwards with the examiners and anyone else from the department who is around.  I would have bought my examiners drinks after mine but they both insisted on paying for me instead.  It was quite a tough viva so I didn't try that hard!

That said, I think the easiest thing to do is to check with people in your department.