Ph.D. Acknowledgements

University at Albany, State University of New York
University at Albany, State University of New York

My friend Jason Ensor recently posted his Ph.D. Acknowledgements saying:

One’s acknowledgements in a thesis are rarely read outside that tiny group of people specifically interested in a PhD’s subject matter. Yet there are important contributions that should be more widely recognised. Thus, having finished this final piece of writing last night, I have shared my acknowledgements online.

I really like that sentiment, so I thought I’d post mine as well.

I had wonderful support while writing this dissertation. Anita Pomerantz, my stellar advisor, demonstrated the importance of precision and concern for participants’ issues. She was incredibly supportive on all dissertation, professional, and personal issues. Teresa Harrison, too, was critical to the dissertation process and my time in Albany. When Anita suggested that I start writing about technical problems, Teri provided the breakthrough observation that network trouble was a problem hidden in plain sight. As chair of the Department of Communication, Teri smoothed the way for many of my adventures in academia. Both Anita and Teri have been friends and confidants and both kept me afloat in rough seas. I owe them both a tremendous amount.

Ron Jacobs and Glenna Spitze, my Sociology committee members, provided very practical suggestions during the dissertation proposal process. During the writing they responded rapidly to my twists and turns. Their contributions made a significant difference to the overall shape of the dissertation. Robert E. Sanders was kind enough to provide me a place at the University at Albany. He also initially suggested that I investigate personal videoconferencing. During the dissertation process he graciously provided invaluable feedback.

Nicholas Pagnucco (friend, sociology colleague, and best man in every sense) and Paul Denvir (communication colleague, office-mate, conference buddy, and curry companion) were constant sources of inspiration, feedback, and support in and out of the academic process. My other colleagues in the Department of Communication, faculty and students, were always excellent sounding boards at Proseminar. Tim Stephen provided me with many opportunities to put my interest in technology and scholarship to practical use for the CIOS. Emmanuel Schegloff’s work on telephone openings was fundamental to my interest in CA, and when I met him at the CA Summer Institute in 2005 he provided important initial interest and gave me an article that pushed the dissertation in its ultimate direction. Towards the end of the writing process Ruth Scipione and Hirosuke Honda asked me to join their writing group for “people who want to finish their Ph.D.—emphasis on the finish!” Every Tuesday for my last semester they pushed and prodded me to make sense.

On a personal note, I must of course thank my parents, Elizabeth and Derek Rintel, for support beyond measure. For most of my time in Albany I was kept sane by my Sensei, Irvin Faust, and fellow aikidoka hurling me across the dojo (“better than coffee!”) and by my fellow swing dancers Lindy Hoppin’ into the night. Special thanks also go to Jeff Pittam, Cindy Gallois, Joan Mulholland, and Sue McKay at The University of Queensland.

My wife, Cherie Gregoire, joined me in the last three years of this adventure, and has supported me as I ranted, strived, and railed by teaching me to jump, jive, and wail. She also proofread under great pressure and shared her Excel-Fu and Word-Fu. It would have been impossible to finish without her love, as practical as it was heartfelt.


I would also like to acknowledge that Wave Three Inc., now unfortunately gone, provided the Session videoconferencing software, servers, and technical support for the project. Session was the only videoconferencing application at the time that could handle the very specific requirements of maximising environmental validity for remote observational field research. Thanks go to Bob Randall, COO, for giving me the go-ahead, and Jeff King and Brice Kennedy for constant and invaluable technical support and encouragement.

The good thing about this online version is that I can include more people! So I would like to add that there were many people in the Communication Department of the University at Albany, State University of New York, who helped me in Proseminar and Data sessions. These included (but are not limited to) Tim Halkowski, Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Annis Golden, Senem Güney, Francois Cooren, Alan Hansen, Tamas Bodor, and Jingsi Wu.