I originally wanted to have my committee meeting in mid-January. Then when that wasn't going to be possible, I wanted to have it last week at the end of January. Several people's schedules made that impossible, so now I have pushed the date to February 10 and am planning to leave for the field just two weeks later.
This meeting is important because I am no longer actively pursuing the high-risk project I defended in my prelims last spring. My committee felt that rather than develop and present a proposal for my entire dissertation that I should instead focus on a clear component of it that I could submit for funding. I tested some of the methods last summer, and I just don't think it's worth the risk. So, I've got to describe my new plan to my committee. Last year I presented them with a theoretical table of contents (of which the high-risk project was only one chapter), and this year I will do the same. I need to be sure that everyone is on the same page with the direction my dissertation is headed so that none of them feel excluded or push me to go in a different direction because they misunderstand the new project focus.
My committee meeting is only supposed to be an hour, but it's hard for me to imagine how it can be kept to that time. I suppose I will continue discussions with individual professors (which should be happening anyway) if we start to run overtime. Herb told me to prepare a short 10-15 minute presentation, but I suspect that the committee will ask me questions throughout the presentation, turning my 15 minutes into 45. I just want to be sure that they agree on my projects and the timeline for them.