After the PhD defense (part 1): Thanks

Post-viva smiles (Flickr, CC BY-SA catherinecronin)

I successfully completed my PhD defense (or viva) last week — and am feeling the joy!

No success is an individual accomplishment, of course. We move forward, in whatever ways we can, thanks to a multitude of sacrifices, kindnesses, and the good work of many others, seen and unseen, known and unknown. I initially shared my thanks on Twitter and then via numerous emails and other messages. I will be catching up with these for some time.

I could not thank all in my thesis by name, but I have thanked as many as possible. In this post I share my thesis Acknowledgements and Dedication. My next post (part 2) will be reflections on the viva itself.


Firstly, I thank each of the interview participants in this study for their time and their generous and thoughtful contributions. Thanks also to all academic staff and students who completed the surveys. This work would not have been possible without each of them.

I thank my supervisor, Iain MacLaren, for listening, guiding, encouraging and advising, with wisdom and good humour always. Thanks also to my Graduate Research Committee – Kelly Coate, Kathryn Cormican, Mary Fleming, and Simon Warren – for valuable and timely feedback at key stages in the research process.

Thanks to my wonderful colleagues and friends in CELT and NUI Galway for daily sustenance in so many ways. A special note of thanks to Conor Galvin, Pam Moran, Ira Socol, and my #icollab and #edchatie collaborators for nurturing early seeds of this work, and to Rachel Hilliard for offering and organising writing support at crucial times.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all who reviewed early drafts of this writing and provided feedback and encouragement: Caroline Kuhn, Frances Bell, Mary Loftus, Sharon Flynn, Leigh Graves Wolf, Pamela O’Brien, Su-Ming Khoo, Leo Havemann, Louise Drumm, Maha Bali, Fiona Concannon, Laura Pasquini, Patrice Prusko, and Barbara McKeon. Immense thanks also to my GO-GN colleagues, particularly all who participated in the 2017 Cape Town workshop. This global network of open education PhD scholars, sparked by the vision of the Open Education Research Hub, has been instrumental in developing my work.

I would not be working in open education, nor doing this research, were it not for my PLN, the network of educators, scholars and friends who encourage, inspire and teach me every day. Impossible to thank each of you here, but please know that your scholarship, your kindness and your encouragement lie right at the heart of my work in open education and motivate me to do this vital work. Thank you all.

Two wonderful friends and scholars engaged with the ideas for this research in its earliest forms, but sadly are not here today. I want to thank and honour the memories of Mary Mulvihill and Bianca Ní Ghrógáin, two incredible Irish women who inspired and taught so many with their joy of learning, teaching, and life.

Finally, I am grateful beyond words to my dearest family and friends, who kept the home fires burning, happily accommodated mad schedules and dashed plans, and encouraged and inspired me, not just along this PhD journey but always. Thank you, Hamish, Sarah, James, Mary and Bonnie, Dan and Katherine, Jean, Isobel and John, Meg and Andrew, Rose, Rowan, Ursula, Pat, Bernadette, Robin, Jane, Ali, Fi, and all.

This thesis is dedicated with love and the deepest gratitude

To my parents, Catherine (Devine) Cronin and Daniel Cronin;

To my husband and anam cara, Hamish; and

To Sarah and James, my best teachers and the sunshine of my life.


 

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