Monday, 5 March 2007

Shame Griffith, shame!

An open letter to Dr Terry Dartnall, lecturer at the School of Information & Communication Technology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia:


Dear Dr Dartnall,

This is with reference to my ill-assessed honours thesis in 1999.

Although according to the Vice-Chancellor Ian O'Connor my legal options in this matter have been exhausted, there are still questions which remain unanswered.

What would be of interest is your own role in all this.

My supervisor, Grigoris Antoniou, decided to have you assess the thesis. I was present when the conversation took place, and at the time such a mentioning did not seem out of place to me. After all, who did the marking of any assignment and/or test had never been a secret so far. When I subsequently handed in the thesis at the counter just before closing time on that day (I think it was Marie Gehde who took the papers) I made some remark along the lines of you still being in your office despite the late hour. This elicited the - somewhat non-plussed - reply that I should not have "known about that", meaning that I shouldn't have known you were the intended assessor.

Was there a change of plan, and what did it involve?

Moreover, throughout your lectures in the undergraduate as well as the honours course it became evident you have been working on a solution to how the mind works yourself, indeed according to the faculty's web pages you and others are still working on the problem.

There would not have been some kind of jealousy involved, an attempt to stall someone else's progress at a time when such a plan could have been effective?

In my step-by-step advance towards the goal I naturally had to consider what had been done already by others in the field including the converse, ie what kind of questions had not been asked and why. During some of your lectures I asked certain questions along those lines, being careful not to disclose too much (for one thing I often was still not certain myself and obviously I wanted to preserve the opportunity to get there). At one stage my questions incurred the label "eccentric librarian" from you.

Before you dismiss the above as the whining of yet another disgruntled student, the sheer silliness of some of the criticism in the assessments of the thesis does raise certain questions about a higher agenda. As far as my own status is concerned, I can only refer to what is presented on my website - the main work, the computer programs, the ongoing applicability as well as the many confirmations since its completion.

In addition you could consider -

- my entire academic record throughout the years at Griffith University (that thesis received the only graded Pass in any subject);

- the election to become a member of the Golden Key National Honours Society, despite the fact that I completed the undergraduate degree in two years instead of the standard three (in fact, at one stage I effectively dealt with five subjects at once because one lecturer wanted to leave for somewhere else and so decided to cram one entire semester into half the period);

- the subsequent progress in so many areas, from the computer programs to more society-related issues, all of which would not have been possible without a profound basis from where to start (see the website for all the details);

- my CV overall, which should indicate I am not the kind of person who under-performs and then tries to get away with it through some shenanigans (again see the website).

Sooner or later the truth will come out. It always does.

Yours sincerely, etc etc

1 comment:

Tom Wayburn said...

Hello Martin,

I know this story oh too well. As an assistant professor at Clarkson I was treated so badly that I was forced to draw up a 38-point grievance document that seems to have been lost on one of my discarded (non-maintainable) computers. A member of the grievance committee told me months later over dinner that the reason my complaints had been rejected was that they were too numerous. Apparently, then, Clarkson may have been found guilty as charged if it hadn't been quite so very guilty.

Tom Wayburn