I haven't posted about academic matters in a while, primarily because some of the academic blogs I regularly follow have been quiet and I haven't seen anything to react to. But Prof-Like Substance's post today on too many thesis commitments reminded me of one of the issues I had with my own thesis.
My main advisor was always jetting off to some sunny conference/short course or another and was relatively hands-off, as I've mentioned before. My technical advisor was busy himself (to his eternal aggravation, often with commitments that my main advisor had foisted off on him) and read about 20 pages into my thesis and then stopped, as shown by the incredible volume of comments that ended abruptly, with nary a comment for the rest. The third member of the thesis committee received a relatively late copy and maybe skimmed part of it.
I do wish I had more input into the technical portion of my thesis while I was actually writing. Not to check calculations so much, but to look at the data and suggest interesting things to look at and analyze and discuss. Maybe everyone on my thesis committee was a slacker, but reading over my thesis and preparing for my defense couldn't have taken more than a couple of hours. Is having 5 or 10 grad students to shepherd through the thesis/defense really such an onerous duty?