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Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:29 PM

Broadwell failed in her PhD attempt at Harvard, faces ethics review at fallback school

More of a "personality" than a "student."

Paula Broadwell, the biographer with whom former CIA ­director David Petraeus had an extramarital affair, abandoned her bid for a doctorate from Harvard in 2007, failing to advance to PhD candidacy after four semesters at the Kennedy School of Government, and now faces the prospect of an ethical review at King’s College London, where she has resumed pursuit of a doctorate.

She enrolled later that year as a PhD student in the war studies department of King’s College London, where her military leadership research focused largely on Petraeus, according to Broadwell’s profile on the school website. But four years on, Broadwell remains far from earning her degree, according to the department chairman, and her relationship with the subject of her research could jeopardize her progress toward a doctorate.

One of Broadwell’s former professors at Harvard described her as a self-promoter who would routinely show up at office hours. “It was very much, ‘I’m here and you’re going to know I’m here,’ ” said the professor, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of ongoing investigations. “She was not someone you would think of as a critical thinker. I don’t remember anything about her as a student. I remember her as a personality.”

The professor said when Petraeus chose Broadwell to write his biography, there was shock among the national security faculty at Harvard because “she just didn’t have the background — the academic background, the national security background, or the writing background.”


Just an all-around fraud.

37 replies, 4010 views

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Reply Broadwell failed in her PhD attempt at Harvard, faces ethics review at fallback school (Original post)
nichomachus Nov 2012 OP
yardwork Nov 2012 #1
arthritisR_US Nov 2012 #2
MADem Nov 2012 #3
Scurrilous Nov 2012 #4
1StrongBlackMan Nov 2012 #5
Lucinda Nov 2012 #15
BainsBane Nov 2012 #6
HereSince1628 Nov 2012 #30
Hekate Nov 2012 #36
HereSince1628 Nov 2012 #37
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #7
BainsBane Nov 2012 #8
gkhouston Nov 2012 #12
mrs_p Nov 2012 #13
BainsBane Nov 2012 #14
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #18
Johonny Nov 2012 #9
nichomachus Nov 2012 #25
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #27
Ikonoklast Nov 2012 #10
progressoid Nov 2012 #11
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #29
Arugula Latte Nov 2012 #16
snooper2 Nov 2012 #17
Surya Gayatri Nov 2012 #21
aint_no_life_nowhere Nov 2012 #19
Surya Gayatri Nov 2012 #20
Shuhered Nov 2012 #22
blogslut Nov 2012 #23
TuxedoKat Nov 2012 #32
valerief Nov 2012 #24
samsingh Nov 2012 #26
gateley Nov 2012 #28
Initech Nov 2012 #31
Submariner Nov 2012 #33
JackN415 Nov 2012 #34
Prometheus Bound Nov 2012 #35

Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:30 PM

1. Narcissistic personality disorder. The w administration grew them as a cash crop.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:32 PM

2. Your closing remark is spot on! n/t

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:37 PM

3. I said earlier that I couldn't understand how/why she got so much advantage.

And I was also shocked that a person with that much advanced education needed a ghostwriter/co-writer instead of an editor.

This answers questions that her resume avoided.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:37 PM

4. K & R

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:50 PM

5. I have seen a lot of smear regarding this woman ...

Question(s): where is it coming from? Who is promoting it? Where are these smears being broadcast?

It has been my experience that there is a reason for smearing someone at the center of a controversy ... but then again, there are times when the smear is deserved.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:46 PM

15. Yep. This article uses unnamed sources on page one, & on page two, the person speaking on the record

speaks very highly of her skills. Very suspect.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:02 PM

6. She's not even ABD

It makes no sense that she would be interviewing Petraeus for her dissertation when she still had coursework to do and hasn't taken her comprehensive exams.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:54 PM

30. I'm not sure that's really true. When I earned my PhD

Last edited Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:48 PM - Edit history (1)

it was quite common for students to hold off on the preliminary exam until the dissertation project was proven to be on course and nearing completion.

The reason being that in my program at Texas A&M, and many grad schools at that time, there is a time limit for _successful_ completion of ALL requirements once the pre-lim was taken.

In the department Ph.D. students hedged their bets against the clock by holding off prelims as long as possible.

I knew several students who actually completed preliminary exams and defended dissertations within a matter of a handful of weeks.

I also know students who were in the program for over 8 years and were up against time limits on their course work which is expected to include up-to-date training when the PhD is granted.

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #30)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:42 PM

36. One of my cohorts finished coursework and defended her dissertation within months

She and a few others in the class started out knowing what they wanted to write their dissertations on and actually focused much of their research and writing in that direction while they were working on their MA (2 years) and PhD classes (1 year). Had I but known... but then, I came for the MA and was more or less invited to continue on, so my direction was more diffuse to begin with and it took me years.

The ability to complete a dissertation depends on so many factors, internal and external. Being ABD is neither unusual nor a disgrace -- only cheating is.

Hekate

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Response to Hekate (Reply #36)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:02 PM

37. I learned as a young ass-prof that no PhD really understands research beyond their own

No one could see how superior MY effort was. NO ONE!



































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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:10 PM

7. I can't fault not completing a doctorate. Running afoul of ethics boards, now...

PhDs have a pretty large burnout rate, but I've only personally known one person through my academic career so far who had that kind of review dropped in their lap after doing something stupid. The stupid in question was the sort of epic fail that departments use to warn new students about for years afterwards. Schools usually don't convene those sorts of things lightly.

Not finishing a PhD is the sort of thing that can happen to people, and does a lot, and isn't even a shameful thing even if it sucks. Crankifying the administration to the point where you're under that magnifying glass? That takes some doing, and that's where my sympathy finds something else to do.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:25 PM

8. why start interviewing Petraeus for her diss.

before she passed her comps, when she still had course work outstanding? I can see a preliminary meeting or two to establish a relationship for when she is ready, but she has been talking like she was doing actual dissertation research. That doesn't make sense to me.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:35 PM

12. +1000. How could she have gotten a thesis committee together and a topic approved before

finishing her coursework and passing exams?

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:37 PM

13. Some prelim exams can happen just a year before defending a PhD

So, one would want to have started the research for a dissertation well before then.

I started my research in my first year of my PhD, took prelims third year and defended fifth year. Pretty standard - at least in my science department.

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Response to mrs_p (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:45 PM

14. Not in history

and I suspect her field is closer to mine than science. But I suppose it's possible.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:50 PM

18. There isn't one single standardized doctoral program across all schools. (nt)

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:28 PM

9. At some point you ask why

When you've already published a book that is selling, have in roads to the head of the CIA... is finishing a pointless PhD really a top priority. I imagine she saw her PhD as nice vanity but she probably thought she was already more successful than many in the program.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:40 PM

25. PhD burnout? She couldn't even make to PhD candidacy.

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Response to nichomachus (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:46 PM

27. The overall dropout rate is around 50% either way, so.. (nt)

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:32 PM

10. I was waiting for this, she's no academic, she's a schemer.

Thought so.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:33 PM

11. "I don’t remember anything about her as a student. I remember her as a personality.”

I knew a couple people like that in college. Very good at self-promotion and ass kissing. Studies....not so much.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:52 PM

29. It's kind of amazing how much one of them can completely upend a class, too...

One of my favorite classes in my undergrad degree was about eight or nine students - myself, a couple of other people, a handful of seats that were physically occupied and that's it, and One Of Those.

Lots of self-aggrandizement, rejecting anything that didn't mesh just so with his worldview, and not a lick of self-challenging (or even real work, for that matter). To make it sillier, it was a political science class and he was a self-described Stalinist who believed North Korea was a true paradise. Way to live the cliche, buddy!

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:48 PM

16. Oopsie.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:48 PM

17. So Broadwell and Petraeus were made for each other it would seem

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:05 PM

21. Two shameless self-promoters with a talent for manipulating public opinion.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:02 PM

19. That doesn't speak well for Petraeus

This lady would be a complete unknown if not for her relationship to the General. He's the one who chose this unqualified individual and apparently it wasn't based on her qualities as a scholar. If she's a fraud, then he's a General who displayed a very poor lack of judgement in his associations. Maybe one can say that it was his biography she was chosen to write and he had the right to pick the person he wanted. However, the biography of the nation's most prominent General would also reflect on the United States and Petraeus acted irresponsibly in failing to realize this.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:02 PM

20. Ultimately, for such a shameless self-promoter, a Ph.D is an expendable requirement

on the way to her real goals of fame and fortune.

Perhaps notoriety cannot be equated with fame, but it will certainly be parlayed into a post-scandal fortune--from the tell-all book and movie deal to the stint on "Dancing With the Stars".

ETA: Don't know if you saw Jon Stewart's interview of her on "The Daily Show" back in January 2012. She was there to plug the biography, so Jon asked her the obvious question: "Does Petraeus intend to run for President?"

Very telling answer: "My husband told me to say 'Yes' to that question, in order to sell more books..."

She and her hubby were looking to cash in big-time by pimping her book and her new-found celebrity.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:13 PM

22. I Thought Only Saddam Hussein Faked Credentials

Wow, amazing new facts. So she has just used her beauty for short term gains for herself. What a waste of potential if, in fact, she ever had any. Sad.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:25 PM

23. Her book has a ghostwriter

Good old Vernon Loeb of Jessica Lynch mythology fame.

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Response to blogslut (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:06 PM

32. Yes

I saw him on tv last week. I thought it was odd that someone pursuing a PhD would need/want one. I thought they would prefer to do all their own writing.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:26 PM

24. she's the perfect Republicon. nt

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:44 PM

26. she'll end up as a highly rated fox news anchor.

her credentials are in line with the other on air personalities at that disgusting network.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:47 PM

28. It doesn't really matter -- she is who she is and she's not the one who made this whole thing public

for political gain.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:54 PM

31. If they can't work to make it, they become grifters.

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)


Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:24 PM

34. No surprised from my quarter - I've seen that type of people before, and dealt with them before.

 

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Response to nichomachus (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:39 PM

35. After reading the article, I find the headline here misleading.

She didn't fail in her PhD attempt. She didn't even attempt it. It says this in the first paragraph, so why the headline?

It's funny to hear Harvard badmouthing her now when they made her a "distinguished alumna" this year according to the article.

Nonetheless, Harvard embraced Broadwell as a distinguished alumna after “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus” became a New York Times bestseller this year. On Sept. 10, the Kennedy School included Broadwell on an alumni panel of accomplished public servants and the next day hosted a forum at which she discussed her book.


And as far as the ethics review at King's College, it sounds as if they do this in all cases, but that they will revisit it in this case because of the relationship. So not quite as serious as the headline makes it sound.

“We have a very stringent ethical review process,” said Mervyn Frost, head of the war studies department. “We found nothing wrong with her original proposal, but in light of what’s happened now, I suspect we’ll revisit that process.


She gets some serious compliments from her boss at Tufts University (a general, mind you):

In fall 2006, the beginning of her second year in the program, Broadwell accepted a part-time appointment as deputy director of the Jebsen Center for Counterterrorism Studies at Tufts University.

Retired Brigadier General Russell D. Howard, the Jebsen Center’s director at the time, described Broadwell as “the ultimate multitasker” and said she excelled in her job at Tufts, which included organizing and attending conferences, fund-raising, and helping students with research projects.

“She was an excellent worker,” said Howard, now director of the Terrorism Studies and Research Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.


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