futureapppsy2

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I defend my dissertation last week and was wondering what would be an appropriate gift to give to my faculty mentors, particularly my advisor and my department head (who's been phenomenonly supportive of my research)? Most people seem to suggest handwritten notes, but I can't actually write by hand so that seems like a non-option. I've already sent my committee a thank you email and thanked them in the acknowledgements of my dissertation, of course.
 

PsychPhDStudent

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I actually emailed their students (for my non-chair) to find out what they liked. Got them small amount of that (local to where I was on internship). Things I considered were of the candy/coffee bean variety with a thank you note.

A few of us got something more personal and/or quirky for our chairs. Do whatever feels right. A gift isn't necessary and I'm sure there's a lot of variation.

I defend my dissertation last week and was wondering what would be an appropriate gift to give to my faculty mentors, particularly my advisor and my department head (who's been phenomenonly supportive of my research)? Most people seem to suggest handwritten notes, but I can't actually write by hand so that seems like a non-option. I've already sent my committee a thank you email and thanked them in the acknowledgements of my dissertation, of course.
 

psychrat

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I defend my dissertation last week and was wondering what would be an appropriate gift to give to my faculty mentors, particularly my advisor and my department head (who's been phenomenonly supportive of my research)? Most people seem to suggest handwritten notes, but I can't actually write by hand so that seems like a non-option. I've already sent my committee a thank you email and thanked them in the acknowledgements of my dissertation, of course.
I was on internship when I defended my dissertation, so went to a local chocolate shop and bought my advisor a box of homemade truffles from the area where I completed internship. I also gave a card. I did not get a gift for the other committee members, but bought an extra nice lunch (sandwiches, fruit, cookies from a local organic grocer) since we are expected to provide food for the committee when we defend and mine was during lunch hour.
 

Pragma

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since we are expected to provide food for the committee when we defend and mine was during lunch hour.
This seems a little strange to me. Just an unwritten rule or an actual program expectation? I have never heard of such a thing. Pushes ethical limits to a degree.
 
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PsychPhDStudent

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This seems a little strange to me. Just an unwritten rule or an actual program expectation? I have never heard of such a thing. Pushes ethical limits to a degree.
Food for defenses was banned in my old department. In other departments, it's gotten out of control in my opinion. I've seen bagels/donuts and travelers of coffee provided (for committee AND attendees). Like preparing for the defense isn't enough.:rolleyes:
 

WisNeuro

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This seems a little strange to me. Just an unwritten rule or an actual program expectation? I have never heard of such a thing. Pushes ethical limits to a degree.
Wasn't required in ours, but kind of customary. I had a fruit tray, crackers/meat/cheese, and some beverages. Didn't see it as a big deal.
 
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This seems a little strange to me. Just an unwritten rule or an actual program expectation? I have never heard of such a thing. Pushes ethical limits to a degree.
It was banned where I went. People at some departments were literally starting to get their defenses catered. I brought a thing of starbucks coffee because my defense was at 8 am, and I brought homemade (sugar free...) cookies to my proposal.

Asking the committee members' students what they like and getting them a *small* thing of that seems like a thoughtful thing to do after the dissertation defense.
 
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futureapppsy2

futureapppsy2

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My undergrad officially banned food at defenses but unofficially expected/required students to provide it, so that was weird. In my PhD department, it's the norm that students bring food and typically a lot of it. I've seen students bring full-on lunch spreads (e.g., several sandwiches per member, chips, fruit, cookies, soda), and even those who bring breakfast or snack foods bring multiple items (e.g., one box of donuts wouldn't cut it). I even knew one student who paid a bakery to deliver food to her out-of-state committee member (the faculty member had moved jobs mid-dissertation).
 

psychrat

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This seems a little strange to me. Just an unwritten rule or an actual program expectation? I have never heard of such a thing. Pushes ethical limits to a degree.
It was unofficial. It was banned for comp defense but an unspoken expectation for dissertation.
 
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Jegg

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I didn't give any gifts. I did buy food trays, beverages, and deserts for the defense. I don't think anyone ate any of it though (except me afterwards), or maybe I just blanked that part out due to defense anxiety. It was such a wonderful experience for me. While I was fairly averse to writing research papers initially, and prefer performing/writing assessments over other activities in the field, the comittee response to my work helped me reconsider that position.
 
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I was talking to a fellow intern today about her dissertation proposal. She said that there's an expectation at her university that meals be provided at both proposals and defenses. She created mason-jars with committee member's names on them and provided sweet tea. She also had (home-made) fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable dish. She also had a tray of small pies as a dessert.

Strangest thing I've ever heard.
 

MamaPhD

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Providing food was standard at our defenses too. I won't say it was expected, but it was a norm, and it was perpetuated more by the students than anyone else. We didn't go overboard - usually just cheese/crackers/fruit for a mid-day or afternoon defense, maybe coffee and bagels or pastries for a morning defense.

In my book, if you give a token of appreciation it should be accompanied by heartfelt card or letter. A freestanding letter is fine too.
 
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I didn't find out that there was an expectation of food for the defense at our program until while I was driving to the campus. I was so focused on the quality of my research and the work itself that I almost missed the boat on that one. My wife brought it up while we were driving there. She has sort of a random yet uncanny intuition at times. At first, I stated, "Naw, that's ridiculous! Why would they expect that?" Then as my anxiety built, I told her to go ahead and call a friend and they confirmed that it was indeed customary. Quick trip to Starbucks and had the coffee and danishes. Whew! That was close. I successfully defended and the rest is history. :cool:
 

Pragma

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I didn't find out that there was an expectation of food for the defense at our program until while I was driving to the campus. I was so focused on the quality of my research and the work itself that I almost missed the boat on that one. My wife brought it up while we were driving there. She has sort of a random yet uncanny intuition at times. At first, I stated, "Naw, that's ridiculous! Why would they expect that?" Then as my anxiety built, I told her to go ahead and call a friend and they confirmed that it was indeed customary. Quick trip to Starbucks and had the coffee and danishes. Whew! That was close. I successfully defended and the rest is history. :cool:
Perhaps those Danishes altered the course of history... :)
 
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My university didn't require it, but it was considered a common practice. Something simple like cheese and crackers, small publix deli sub plate, etc. Nothing that would cost over ~$30. The professors had a scheduling conflict and moved my defense up 2 hrs at the last minute and I was traveling in from out of town so they missed out on food.
 

President_LeslieKnope

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Wow, all this food and gift-giving. I'm so happy that this was not allowed at my program.
Ditto! I find it a little strange that those defending are encouraged (or required) to bring in food/gifts for the committee in some programs. Dissertations are stressful enough! It doesn't sound like much but I would not appreciate having to prep food/snacks the night before my defense or drive somewhere the morning of to pick up something up when all of my cognitive reserve is already taken up by my dissertation. Yikes!
 

entitlement

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Ditto! I find it a little strange that those defending are encouraged (or required) to bring in food/gifts for the committee in some programs. Dissertations are stressful enough! It doesn't sound like much but I would not appreciate having to prep food/snacks the night before my defense or drive somewhere the morning of to pick up something up when all of my cognitive reserve is already taken up by my dissertation. Yikes!
Seriously, I had the same visceral reaction to this thread.
 

bmedclinic

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I didn't find out that there was an expectation of food for the defense at our program until while I was driving to the campus. I was so focused on the quality of my research and the work itself that I almost missed the boat on that one. My wife brought it up while we were driving there. She has sort of a random yet uncanny intuition at times. At first, I stated, "Naw, that's ridiculous! Why would they expect that?" Then as my anxiety built, I told her to go ahead and call a friend and they confirmed that it was indeed customary. Quick trip to Starbucks and had the coffee and danishes. Whew! That was close. I successfully defended and the rest is history. :cool:
same experience. Almost exactly.
 
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