WMU Home > About WMU > WMU News

WMU News

Student defends dissertation from Bahrain

March 23, 2006

KALAMAZOO--The doctoral dissertation process can be stressful even for the hardiest individuals. With this in mind, a team of understanding faculty and staff swung into action March 15 when a Western Michigan University student was called away to Bahrain just before his scheduled dissertation defense.

In a WMU first, the Graduate College arranged for Alee Sleymann to defend his dissertation via teleconference.

"It was a team effort to set up a live webcast between Bahrain and Walwood Hall on campus in Kalamazoo," says Dr. Marianne Di Pierro, director of the Graduate Center for Research, Writing and Proposal Development in the Graduate College, which is housed in Walwood. "But it's a great way to serve students when circumstances are beyond their control. The teleconference was a one-on-one demonstration that WMU really is student centered."

Sleymann, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Lebanon, was in Bahrain to help set up a business. A civil engineer, he works for a local firm and is in the final stages of completing a doctorate in public affairs. His dissertation committee members are Dr. Matthew S. Mingus, committee chair and associate professor of public affairs and administration; Dr. Ahmad Jrade, assistant professor of civil and construction engineering; and Dr. James A. Visser, associate professor of public affairs and administration.

Sleymann's dissertation, "A Study on Perceptions of Civil Engineers Regarding Mandatory Continuing Education," involved a PowerPoint presentation, adding to the difficulty of setting up the teleconference.

"Everyone came together to make this happen," Mingus says. "It was a wonderful collaboration between the Graduate College, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Academic Technology and Instructional Services, and the systems specialist for the Development Office here in Walwood Hall."

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400