Key objectives for the next four months

  1. Complete all PhD comprehensive exam requirements (Canadian Politics and Public Policy)
  2. Finish teaching my three tutorials on U.S. Government and Politics
  3. Complete this term’s PhD coursework (Policy Analysis and Qualitative Methods)
  4. Write the March 6th fossil fuel divestment lecture for
  5. Fulfill the mandate of’s committee on administrative engagement at U of T

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

14 thoughts on “Key objectives for the next four months”

  1. 3. For tomorrow, I have to write a 10-page paper for my policy analysis course on the topic:

    Policy analysis is often presented as either ‘art’ or ‘science’. With reference to the course materials in weeks 1-6 (inclusive) and additional research, including practical examples, please choose one side of the debate and make your case.

    After that, I can re-focus on (4) getting a draft essay written, alongside a job application and ongoing Canada Revenue Agency woes.

  2. Tasks for this week:

    350 (Thursday)

    • Finalize letter to President Gertler
    • Finalize Harvard response
    • Incorporate the latest set of comments into the lecture
    • Produce slides for the lecture?
    • Attend planning meeting (Tuesday)
    • Attend lecture (Thursday)

    Policy analysis (Tuesday)

    • Read: Webber, D. J. (1986). Analyzing Political Feasibility: Political Scientists’ Unique Contribution to Policy Analysis. Policy Studies Journal, 14(4): 545-554.
    • Read: May, P.J. (1986). Politics and Policy Analysis. Political Science Quarterly, 101(1): 109- 125.
    • Read: Fafard, P. (2012). Public Health Understandings of Policy and Power: Lessons from INSITE. Journal of Urban Health, 89(6) 905-914.

    Public policy comp preparation group (Tuesday)

    • Read and summarize: Henrich, J., R. Boyd, S. Bowles, C. Camerer, E. Fehr, H. Gintis, R. McElreath, M. Alvard, A. Barr, and J. Ensminger. 2005. “‘Economic Man’ in Cross-cultural Perspective: Behavioral experiments in 15 Small-scale societies.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):795-815.
    • Skim: Lindblom, Charles 1959. “The Science of Muddling Through.” Public Administration Review 19, 2: 79-88.
    • Read and summarize: Lindblom, Charles. 1979. “Still Muddling, Not Yet Through.” Public Administration Review 39, 6: 517-26.
    • Put all available question topics into searchable PDF, sorted categorically

    Qualitative methods (Wednesday)

    • Read: Lauren MacLean, “Chapter 3: The Power of the Interviewer,” in Mosley
    • Read: Joe Soss, “Talking Our Way to Meaningful Explanations: A Practice-Centered Approach to In-Depth Interviews for Interpretive Research.” In D. Yanow and P. Schwartz-Shea, eds. Interpretation and Method (M.E. Sharpe, 2006)
    • Read: Frederic Charles Schaffer, “Ordinary Language Interviewing.” In D. Yanow and P. Schwartz-Shea, eds. Interpretation and Method (M.E. Sharpe, 2006)
    • Read: Lee Ann Fujii, “Shades of Truth and Lies: Interpreting Testimonies of War and Violence,” Journal of Peace Research 47(2), March 2010: 231-241

    U.S. Government tutorials (Thursday)

    • Read: Charles Stewart, Analyzing Congress. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 2012. Second Edition ISBN-13: 978-0393935066 Chapter 9
    • Read: Lowery, David. Why Do Organized Interests Lobby? A Multi-Goal, Multi-Context Theory of Lobbying, Polity, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 2007), pp. 29-54
    • Read professor’s lecture notes on political parties and the legislative process
    • Prepare discussion notes, sign-in sheets, and randomized lists of presenters
    • Teach tutorials
    • Grade and provide comments on ten student papers (Friday)
  3. I managed to get through my policy analysis readings, only moderately disappoint my fellow comp prep group members (I still owe one article summary for this week), and stay awake through the 350 meeting.

    Tonight, I need to finalize the 350 letter to President Gertler and our Harvard response, as well as do the readings for my 10am class tomorrow. Then, by 3pm I need to produce the final version of the divestment lecture.

    Then, it’s tutorial prep and final logistical preparation for the lecture on Thursday, followed by frantic grading of student papers which are before my PhD proposal workshop on Friday.

  4. 1. I am not doing a great job of reading and summarizing the many assigned readings for the comp.

    2. My tutorials are going decently, though attendance is poor and everyone is pestering me for extensions, demanding additional one-on-one essay improvement sessions, and submitting appeals to disregard how few tutorials they have attended this year.

    3. In terms of actual class attendance, my coursework is nearly done. I still have a presentation, two essays, and an interview project to complete.

    4. A video and transcript of the lecture are available online.

    5. The divestment campaign is moving into a new phase with the creation of the ad hoc committee expected soon. I am trying to find new volunteers and/or motivate existing ones to take on more work, as we lobby university officials and continue to reach out to the media.

  5. 3. On Tuesday, the second essay for my policy analysis course is due. It’s only 12 pages, but it’s a reasonably complex undertaking nonetheless and I am scrambling to get through with it.

    Beyond that, I have the final assigned readings for my two courses and summaries to prepare for my comp preparation group (another process where I am way behind).

    4. This Thursday’s seminars will be my last ones this year, though students are submitting their final essays by Friday and grading them will require a great deal of time.

  6. The exact date for my next comprehensive exam has not yet been finalized, but it’s likely to be in the last third of May.

    Before that, I have two assignments to complete for my qualitative methods course (an interview to transcribe and analyze and a paper on the ethics review process), as well as student papers to grade (possibly with final exams to grade later).

  7. At long last, and with the exception of a few complex cases, I have finalized the grades for the essays and participation of my tutorial students and uploaded them to Blackboard.

    Now, I have a paper to finish for tomorrow, along with two outlines for my comp prep group.

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