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Dr. Halden Morris, Dr. Burchell Taylor &
Professor Emeritus Errol Miller
“Grateful and honoured – 4 years part-time is pretty quick I am told”.
In his interview with UWIGRIP, Dr. Canute Thompson is proud to have been given the Most Outstanding Thesis Award for his PhD work which was completed in 2008. Thompson pursued his second degree as a PhD student in Educational Administration at the School of Education at The University of the West Indies. He completed his degree under the stipulated minimum time-frame of four (4) years. However, with the advice of his Supervisor, he used the several remaining months to revise and edit his work.
Like every University that prides itself on being a premiere institution for its region or country, getting into a postgraduate programme at The University of the West Indies required more than Thompson had expected. As a prospective, he tells us that he had “to demonstrat[e] to the School of Education (the School) that notwithstanding my informal background in education I was capable of doing serious work at the graduate level in that field. This apprehension meant that I was required to do three (3) courses in education having done extra work on my original proposal.”
Thompson reminisces on one of his best moments at the University. He told us of the time he was late for his course, Fundamentals of Data Analysis. He said he was late for the course that was well in its advanced state; the lecturer was very disappointed that he had missed all that material. Nevertheless, he admitted him in the class. “I did exceedingly well on all the exams scoring high A’s but more importantly developed a positive relationship with th[at] lecturer who offered exceedingly helpful critiques of chapter 4 of my dissertation in a voluntary capacity”, says Thompson.
Thompson’s thesis looked at educational leadership, perception and expectation students have of their teachers and principal. These are a few of his findings and conclusions (a) the factors modeling, respect and motivation which together account for in excess of 60% of the variation in the data provides a platform for developing a new theory of educational leadership, (b) that the perceptions and expectations that students have of their teachers and principals are similar to those that adults have of their leaders in the workplace, (c) that the vast majority of the 160 students surveyed regard the willingness of their principals to listen to, and take an active interest in, their concerns as signs of effective leadership, and (d) that the vast majority of students believe that the willingness of their teachers to accept correction from students constitutes an act of showing respect for students.
Thompson has received several awards for his work and was able to write a book from the research he did here at the University and more significantly, he wrote several articles on leadership in the Sunday Gleaner. He applauds his supervisor for “providing quick and in-depth analysis of portions of the work submitted.” He adds that “time commitments given were upheld and feedback was often received ahead of the agreed time. The internet played an important role in this regard.”
He encourages post graduate students to read widely on many subjects, practice writing and getting critical feedback from everybody, develop and toy with a range of proposals before you settle on one, ensure your area of interest connects (intersects) with some aspect of working life, read other people’s research and seek out help in many places – from as many critical thinkers as you can – even if your subject area is not in their established zone of competence. Thompson says that those and more have guided him well on completing his degree here.
Additionally, he suggests other ways in which your postgraduate experience could be enhanced by (a) committing to a planned time-table and holding yourself rigorously accountable, (b) breaking up the tasks in pieces and set realistic but challenging time-frames, (c) doing your toughest work during times when distractions are unlikely, and (d) doing as much or all
of your work electronically and keep updating – always take notes as you read and toy with probable headings and sub-headings to give the material some form of early structure.
He graduated with a PhD degree in Educational Administration with High Commendation and later received the Most Outstanding Thesis Award from the Mona Campus at The University of the West Indies for the academic year 2007/2008.
Conditions of the Most Outstanding Thesis Award include the overall assessments of the thesis for its originality, its success in meeting its research goals and its clarity, organization and presentation. Additionally, there should be published works from the thesis that have some impact on the field or on society.