- Education and Science
Double Standards of Nottingham University UK, Malaysia campus
A conflict in PhD Exam at Nottingham University UK, Malaysia campus..
Dual Standards of Nottingham University UK, between its two campuses has ruined my life
I’m Nachimani Charde and I was a senior lecturer with my bachelor and master degrees in engineering. I had 5 years of teaching experience at colleges and at universities up to degree levels before taking up a research program at Nottingham University UK, Malaysia campus (UNMC). At one moment in my life, I thought to pursue a PhD program from which I can become a Professor; someday. In 2009, I saw an advertisement at www.nottingham.edu.my which has shown that there is a research program available leading to PhD award in spot welding. Then I contacted the person-in- charge and thereafter the regular admission process went on and finally I started my research in April 2009. The project leader (from here on, he will be addressed as supervisor) said the project is funded by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia (MOSTI) but I did not aware that it was funded only up to Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) level for the first two years. Normally MOSTI funds up to 2 years and this matter was hidden to me by my supervisor. Moreover the admission into a PhD program brought an annually renewing academic position called research assistant (RA) and I started my life happily with RM 1500 salary. I don’t have to pay the fee for the program (per year rm 40k for 3 three consecutive years) but I have to assist them in academic matters for 200 hours per year. I accepted the offer and completed 2 years with all the required completion of project, publications and documentations perfectly. The project was completed successfully and a letter of completion was released by MOSTI. In third year, the UNMC has converted me and few other students to research student (RS) category from research assistant (RA) category. From here on, the stipend will be given by the UNMC and other conditions remained the same but the staff status has been converted to student and therefore the ‘PhD by Publication’ door is closed according to their new rules implemented by new dean of faculty of engineering (FOE) at UNMC. This rule was not implemented in UK campus as the Quality Manual remained-unchanged. I had some problem with my supervisor during the finishing-time of PhD, because he wanted me to develop and maintain a web page for his own business which is basically outside from my academic job. When I brought this matter to the dean of FOE, my bad time has begun. I was transferred under the dean’s observation and my supervisor was not given room to defend his states. With all these struggles, I managed to submit a thesis with 20 publications (5-ISI, 5-Scopus and 10-Google Scholar listed publications). The viva voce exam or just viva has to be conducted within 3 months of time according to the Quality Manual UK but the dean has purposely delayed for 1 years. By delaying this specific period for months and months, the waiting student needs survival so he/she will look for a job around Semenyih or within the campus itself. When the viva date has arrived, I failed because of my medical condition (I had surgery) which was conducted in UK campus. This is mainly happened because of the wrong selection of examiners and the root cause was the short of thesis-preparing assistance-ship. Then the viva was announced to be invalid and I was transferred to UK campus under the dept. head and also wasted 5 months without any useful. Again I fought with Prof. Graham Kendall (Vice Provost of UNMC) to transfer myself to UNMC and I was given a different supervisor who was really good in preparing thesis for submission. Everything is perfect this time. I resubmitted my thesis with 60% of new data. Again the selection of the examiners went wrong as I reported this matter to Vice Chancellor office few times but all my complaints have been forwarded to the respective person in UNMC. During this waiting time, I went to University Malaya for further research and I was expanding my analysis in spot welding technology while publishing few more journal papers concurrently. The examiner selection was merely at the hand of Prof. Graham Kendall and nothing to do with my decision. He has selected a sr. lecturer (Dr.Fara) as external examiner who was an expert in welding engineering although I had discussion previously with her regarding my post doctoral research opportunity at UM. The internal examiner for my viva voce exam was not an expert in my field and he was very new to UNMC system. This matter has been notified to Vice chancellor’s office as grievance before the exam and after the exam. I passed the second viva this time as “PhD awarded but minor amendment was needed”. As the external examiner of my PhD viva, Dr.Fara wanted to do some changes in my thesis and I was given the list of amendment. I did the changes and submitted to her for final check because the internal examiner has hidden a letter form dr.fara which held the key to do the minor amendments. As usual, I reported this matter to Vice Chancellor office, but my complaint was once again forwarded to UNMC. Eventually Dr.Fara has approved the changes and asked me to submit my thesis. The journal papers that contained my post doctoral research with dr.fara has been sent to Prof.Christine Ennew (Provost of UNMC) and she replied that she was discussing with her colleagues. On 30th September 2014, I received an email from Vice Chancellor (Prof. Sir, David Greenaway) himself that I should submit my thesis as how Prof. Christine Ennew recommended, so I submitted my thesis after trusting his words as final submission. When the viva result came out in January 2015, the UNMC said that the exam is set aside as I have to retake the exam again. This time they will be keeping the internal examiner’s decision (who is not an expert in my field) but discard the external examiner’s decision because she had publications with me in my post doctoral research. Besides all these, they said I did not fulfil the internal examiner’s decision. All this confusion happened because the UNMC has its own rules for PhD viva which is totally contradicted to UK campus standards. I released all these documents in my personal we www.graduatesunion.info . The ridiculing point is that they said both campuses are in equal standards in handling academic decisions. So now the chancellor has his obligation to answer why they have two different standards and what about vice chancellor consent in my PhD exam!