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Comstock Rewind...Dr. Jill Biden's Doctoral Thesis is Everything You'd Expect
Going back to my favorite thing I've written
Time for another Comstock Rewind.
I reserve a special place in my heart for Dr. Jill Biden. Well, that’s not entirely accurate; I hold a special place in my bowels for Dr. Biden.
I despise her for various reasons, including the fact that she got her doctorate strictly due to her self-consciousness that when the mail would arrive, it would be addressed to “Senator and Mrs. Biden.” Now she insists her Dr. title is used, de rigueur, in all public appearances.
Adding to my irrational antipathy for her is that to call her doctorate “scholarship” is tantamount to calling her husband falling up a flight of stairs “parkour.” I know this because I used up several hours and IQ points to read the thesis, which “earned” her the title.
This is also a seminal post in my Substack’s history because it was this post that made me rethink my writing approach to focus more on satire. Maybe I owe Dr. Jill more than I thought.
As long-time Comstock-ians will know, I despise Jill Biden so much so that I wrote a column on it several months back.
At the time, I gave her thesis a cursory read-through. Enough to get the gist that she had no clue what she was doing in that inane piece of garbage. But Friends….OH FRIENDS…little did I know the extent of her depravity. Little was I wise to the depths to which academia has prostrated itself to a senator’s wife, who wanted her doctorate. for no other reason than a manifest abundance of self-consciousness (read the old article for proof).
I almost (ALMOST) feel bad about writing this, but it must be done. The University of Delaware’s crimes must be as bare as a 54-year-old Kathy Bates in About Schmidt. Let us begin.
A few notes before we begin. First, I will preface this by saying that if you are within two familial generations of anyone with a severe mental illness, please do not proceed. There were several times I thought I was losing my mind and had to reread entire pages three or four times to understand what the hell was going on, and other times I found myself in raving hysterics. Reading this paper truly could have been Hercule’s thirteenth labor.
Second, let me say I am not a mean person. My mom always said, “if you can’t think of anything nice, don’t say anything at all” (ok, she never said that, but it’s a good set-up for my joke), so let me start with a compliment. Dr. Biden’s Times New Roman font just POPS! Great choice there. Additionally, we can learn much from Dr. Biden’s paper on various subjects.
Finally, to all the wise asses who will give this write-up a proctology exam for typos, let’s be clear…this is an asshole’s Substack post about a trash doctorate thesis. Keep things in perspective. Let’s begin.
I must dedicate this post to the various advisors and faculty who allowed this monstrosity to crawl out from the deep caverns of hell to see the light of day. To Dr. Nancy W. Brickhouse, Dr. Timothy K. Barnekov, Dr. Daniel Rich, Dr. Barbara Curry, Dr. James Broomall, Dr. Frances Leach, and Dr. Eugene Matusov…thank you for utterly destroying the minuscule amount of faith I had left in the university system. This is for you.
The title of Dr. Biden’s paper is Student Retention at Community College: Meeting Students Needs (yes, I will refer to her as Dr. Biden throughout for emphasis. But imagine I am saying the Dr. part like Sophia Petrillo from the Golden Girls would say it). The thesis is based on “research” she conducted at Delaware Technical & Community College (Delaware Tech, for short). I don’t know that this topic requires a doctoral thesis, but let’s see how Dr. Biden does.
Dr. Biden teaches us critical thinking:
In the second freaking sentence of her thesis, she claims that “the needs of the student population are often undeserved, resulting in a student drop-out rate of almost one-third.”
According to discoverphds.com, a doctoral thesis must include original research and develop a conclusion based on said research. I won’t comment on the quality of her research (she handed out surveys to some people), but someone should have sent Dr. Biden that website before she started working on this. In HER OWN STUDENT SURVEY, when asked, “Has Delaware Tech provided the support you need to be successful in your classwork.” 96% of students answered “yes.” WHAT THE HELL!?!?!?!?! Doesn’t this one answer invalidate the entire goddamn paper?
Dr. Biden repeatedly makes claims unsupported by any fact she puts forth. She claims, “…due to the diversity of the student population; student retention is a major problem faced by the community college.” At no point does she support this with any evidence, but who gives a shit. YOLO motherfucker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Biden teaches us math:
Our fearless doctor provides a demographic breakdown of the typical Delaware Tech classroom in the paper. Let us review the racial breakdown provided:
Three quarters of the class will be Caucasian; one quarter of the class will be African American; one seat will hold a Latino; and the remaining seats will be filled with students of Asian descent or non-resident aliens
I’m not 100% sure that Dr. Biden is using a base-10 number system here, but I’ll assume she is and apologize if proven wrong. If my abacus still has the correct number of beads, then my calculations say Dr. Biden has already filled this classroom to a minimum of 150% capacity, and maybe more…counting Asians can be challenging, after all. Far be it for me to criticize anyone’s math ability, but a beautiful mind we are not working with here.
Dr. Biden teaches us citations:
Dr. Biden loves a good citation, but don’t we all now and again? But boy…. does she love them, and one page in particular. Is it from a hard-nosed science journal where the paper’s authors did years of painstaking research to formulate their theory? Nope. It is page 2 of the Delaware Tech College Catalog, 2005- 2007, not once, not twice, by three times in the paper. And a good thing too, because she needs to support such outlandish claims like:
Delaware Technical and Community College is a statewide multi-campus community college committed to providing open admission, postsecondary education. The college offers comprehensive educational opportunities including career, general, developmental, and transfer education, lifelong learning, and workforce training. The College is committed to the advancement of teaching and technology, student development, and community service. The College believes in the practical value of higher education as a means of economic and personal advancement. The College promotes diversity and multi cultural and global awareness. The College respects and cares for students as individuals and maintains a friendly and open institution which welcomes all students and supports their aspirations for a better life.
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Whoooooooooooooo booooooooooy. Can you feel the blood pumping through your veins? Holy shit, I’ll tell you what, I need a cigarette. We should all feel fortunate that this wasn’t on page 20 because Dr. Biden may never have gotten to it.
Ok, now that the sophistry is out of my system, I won’t degrade myself further to make fun of the rampant typos and syntax errors in the paper…wait, who am I kidding? You bet your sweet ass I will.
Dr. Biden teaches us grammar and syntax:
“…more students were taking courses for credit than for non-credit, but the number of non credit students...” Is non-credit hyphenated or not? Does it have a space, or is it one word? Dr. Biden doesn’t have time for those details bitches. Back the fuck off!
How about this one: “After Roosevelt’s death, Truman, as the next president, created the Truman Commission.” Why did Truman create the Truman Commission, you ask? Because he was the next President, obvs.
Or “Many faculty offer good, workable suggestions that the administration may want to consider in future planning: a reading specialist, an eight week study week [emphasis added], a more integrated study skills program, and the idea of a weekend college.” I don’t have a goddamn clue what an “eight week study week” is, but it sounds like it sucks. No thanks.
Ok, that’s all for the typos…I swear there were about 10-15 others I could have hit on. It’s painful. Maybe I should do a part two just on the typos? Nah…that would just be mean.
Dr. Biden teaches us English:
How about the misuse of words…Dr. Biden has got you covered there too:
Delaware Tech also offers a fully accredited academic course load for those students who wish to transfer to four year colleges. To that end, the College has articulation agreements with The University of Delaware and Delaware State University in specific technology programs.
Who has time to proofread? Articulation? Matriculation? What’s the difference? An ‘m’…get over it nerd.
At Delaware Tech, the numbers of students in pre-tech classes substantiate the increasing percentages
Not sure Dr. Biden knows the proper use of “substantiate” or “numbers” or “in” for that matter, but let’s go with it.
Who can go to Delaware Tech…let the good doctor tell you:
Admission to the College is open to all Delaware residents who have a high school education or its equivalent or to anyone who is eighteen years of age or older and able to benefit from instruction
So literally anyone who has pubes…got it. And the fact that two pages later, she contradicts herself by writing, “…Delaware Tech offers an ‘open door’ admissions policy, which states that students must have only a high school degree or its equivalent and be eighteen years of age “? She’s just keeping you on your toes, folks.
Dr. Biden teaches us history:
In the year before the market crash [stock market crash of 1929], American junior colleges had graduated only 3,253 students” (Witt et. al., 2005, p. 96), but these numbers were to increase greatly: “Three years later the graduating class numbered 14,000” (Witt et al., 2005, p. 96). The focus of the junior college student was on obtaining a job. As the junior college moved away from liberal arts courses and focused on vocational and technical education, students began to see the junior college as a place to ensure job security. With a new president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Americans were offered the New Deal, and thousands of dollars were put into federal emergency junior college funds (Witt et al., 1995, pp. 96-97).
Oh, you say that the increase Dr. Biden notes occurred between 1928 and 1931? What’s that? FDR didn’t become President until 1933? The guy was rolling around in a wheelchair, and Dr. Biden was trying to cut him slack; give him a win. What else did the guy ever do? At least let him have this, you selfish son-of-a-bitch.
Dr. Biden teaches us logic:
“The number of community colleges steadily increased until the growth of the community college leveled off in the 1970s. “Got that? Community colleges grew…until they didn’t.
At the conclusion of her thesis, Dr. Biden graces us with profound insights. Like this:
An overwhelming number of faculty (55/69) stated that student retention should be addressed by all involved in the students’ education. The counselors, faculty, and administration should all play major roles in looking at this problem and finding solutions. The student retention committee should formulate a plan to increase retention. Then, the student retention committee should convey the views of counselors, faculty and administration in finding solutions.
Kant, Bacon, Aristotle, Schopenhauer, Dr. Jill Biden.
Because she resides in this rarified group of thinkers, I want to ensure I have this straight. You’re saying that everyone thinks everyone should be involved and the student retention committee should make a plan about making a plan which they will then share with everyone and get their input? Can someone get Dr. Biden on the Ukraine/Russia thing, please? We can’t have a brain like this on the sidelines. Wait, is she already involved? That would explain a lot.
Dr. Biden teaches us statistics:
How does a college know they have a retention problem? By comparing it to other colleges, of course. Therefore, Dr. Biden benchmarked the school against other community colleges, including Cecil Community College, to prove her theory that Delaware Tech had a retention issue. For the benchmarking, Dr. Biden worked with Tomeka Swan, Cecil’s Retention Director. Here is a part of Dr. Biden’s interview in her thesis.
Dr. Biden: Is student retention a problem at Cecil Community College?
Swan: No, not really. We work hard on student retention. At the beginning of the semester, we offer a Welcome Back Program during the first week back. We try to ensure student success by making them aware of the support services offer. We have an online academic monitoring system where teachers can go in and check on the names of students who need help. These students then get a letter. The advisors reach out to do whatever they can. There’s always room for improvement, but we do pretty well.
Dr. Biden: What percentage of students drop out of classes each semester?Swan: I really don’t know. I don’t have those numbers [emphasis added]
No worries though; Swan has only led the retention committee for ten years. How do we know her retention plans are successful? Just ask her. SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!
I’m starting to think I won’t be able to defend Dr. Biden’s thesis to my readers.
Dr. Biden teaches us race relations:
Now things get a bit dicey for Dr. Biden
Moreover, many minority students lack basic skills such as identifying the main idea and supporting statements, identifying parts of speech or using punctuation correctly; thus, they are placed in remedial courses.
What the fuck, Dr. Biden? Racist much. Jesus Christ. Good thing your hubby is a Dem, or that shit would be used in oppo material by a political opponent.
Not to be outdone, Dr. Biden included this gem from an interview she conducted with “Kristin” (who is Kristin? Kristin Bell? Stewart? Wiig?, not a clue), “I find that to be a big frustration with ESL students because I know how it should be written, but I don’t know how to explain how it should be written.” Yeah, dumb foreigners. Stay the home, and don’t make me feel bad about my teaching insecurities. Screw off.
Dr. Biden teaches us storytelling:
I mentioned earlier that no one with a family history of mental illness should read this, and I want to prove that thesis (taking notes, Dr. Biden?). Read this section below regarding her survey of full-time English instructors at Delaware Tech:
Instructors were first asked about the characteristics that defined pre-tech students (see Appendix E). They replied with the following answers: underprepared, first generation, need to work, overwhelmed with other life responsibilities – definitely needy students.
Part of their underpreparedness involves the fact that they are not readers; thus their comprehension, vocabulary, and awareness of syntax and sentence structure is lacking. When asked to read out loud, many refuse or stumble over work pronunciation. Because reading and writing are skills that are intertwined, instructors were asked the reading level of most of their students. Eric said that it was definitely below 12th grade level, while Carol said their reading levels were probably middle school level.
Quick quiz for you - who are Eric and Carol? Don’t know? Neither do I, and I read the entire God-forbidden paper. I swear I had to do CTRL-F and search for the names because I thought I had missed them. Nope. They just randomly get dropped in here without any introduction, like a dime-store David Mamet screenplay. I still don’t know who Eric and Carol are. So once Dr. Biden dropped in “Mary” and Kristin reappeared, I didn’t bother looking…I knew it was her, not me.
But in all seriousness, Eric/Carol/Mark/Kristin – on the off-hand chance you are a reader of my Substack, please reach out. I must know you are real people. Actually, not you, Kristin. I don’t like you, nor do the ESL students at Delaware Tech.
Dr. Biden teaches us interview skills:
Every prospective journalist should read the interview contained within Dr. Biden’s thesis. The Deepthroat boys have nothing on Dr. Biden.
She interviews Dr. Vincent Tinto, a Syracuse University professor and an expert on school retention. Let’s get a flavor of what we’re working with here (slightly edited for clarity):
Dr. Biden: Through my surveys of faculty and students, the need for a psychologist seems crucial, yet the administration does not seem to support the idea. Do you have any thoughts or comments?
Dr. Tinto: No, I do not. I don’t know your institution, and I don’t know what its issues are.
Dr. Biden: How important are the physical surroundings? We have no student center, for example. Do you feel that having a student center is important for students to gather to feel connected to one another?
Dr. Tinto: “Well, you’ve said several things: that students need a place to gather in order to feel connected to one another and that doesn’t necessarily follow students who gather and not feel connected. They can gather and not necessarily feel connected. You’re making two assumptions...You’re trying to get me to commit to a question about your campus, and that’s unfair. I have no way of judging the answer to a question that affects your specific campus.
At the end of the section, Dr. Biden adds the caveat, “Note: Dr. Tinto expressed that he did not know of or about my institution, and he did not want any of his comments used in any policy dispute or taken out of context. I assured him that his comments would be used only for the purpose of my dissertation and that he would not be compromised in any way.”
<Insert terrified chattering teeth emoji>. Let me say this, Dr. Biden was ahead of her time. To come into an interview with a set of pre-determined answers you want to be justified by an “expert” is very journalism in 2022. For Dr. Biden to do that in 2006? Commence slow clap, please.
Let me emphasize that these are the parts of the interview she included! Does anyone out there know if I can FOIA the complete transcript from the University? God, please tell me I can. I will make it my life’s work. All you geeks out there can look for Atlantis or the Holy Grail. I am searching for the complete Dr. Biden/Dr. Tinto interview.
The fact that Dr. Biden needed to alleviate Dr. Tinto’s concerns that his opinions would be bastardized in some political spat in an interview like this is just amazing.
This passage puts a beautiful angel on top of our Dr. Biden Christmas Tree. After an interview with a student with several learning disabilities, Dr. Biden writes, “Delaware Tech has an open door admission policy, but that does not mean that everyone can attain a college degree.”
While that may be true, everyone CAN get a doctorate.…right, Dr. Biden?