Today I had a brief meeting with Herb in which we talked about two very important things: Sam's role in my dissertation, and my chapters. The first one went great, the second one? Not what I was hoping for.
For nearly two years, Sam and I have acknowledged among us that he is the one actually advising me. He's at a different institution, so he can't be my committee chair. He said he felt like he should officially be listed as a co-adviser, which prompted this post. At that time, he thought he should be the one to bring it up with Herb. Later, he said why don't I bring it up with Herb, and I said I thought you thought you should do it. Then for several months now, whenever he's seen Herb, he's said he didn't want to bring it up because Herb had so much else going on. So the conversation didn't happen.
Last week I asked Sam about it, because this should be resolved well before my defense. This time Sam was of the opinion again that I should be the one to ask Herb about Sam being listed a co-advisor. Cool. I could have done this ages ago.
With the go-ahead from Sam, today I finally brought it up with Herb. As I suspected, he doesn't care at all. He's not sure there's an official mechanism for co-advising, but he's fine to have Sam listed as co-advisor. Great! Resolved. Sam is my co-advisor.
The next important issue is about my dissertation chapters. You see, I have too many projects. Six. I have six dissertationable projects. Some people in my department have four chapters. Most have five. I proposed to Herb that my five chapters should be my five best projects and I save the other one for a rainy day. The problem is that Herb is of the opinion (which is well-supported by evidence from his students) that what isn't submitted or nearly ready to submit when you leave UBC will probably never see the light of day again. Therefore, he suggested that the 6th project be included as an appendix with the data and analysis of the data. Argh. That's basically going to amount to a crude 6th chapter. I didn't know how to argue otherwise.
I suppose we'll see what the rest of my committee thinks, but it sounds like I should dust off that 6th project and at least think about it before I get my committee together (I hope it's easier than last time).