Personal Update: Phinally Done!

I finally passed a major milestone and fulfilled a longstanding dream.

A personal update—On August 5, 2021, I successfully defended my dissertation and I am now officially Dr. Jemar Tisby!

It has taken me five years to finish this degree. The most challenging part of it was managing all the other responsibilities (and sometimes distractions) that I faced along the way.

What else did I have going on while I worked on my doctorate? Let’s see:

  • Wrote two books—The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism

  • Traveled for dozens of speaking engagements talking about race, religion, and justice

  • Helped as a Teaching Assistant for five semesters

  • Led a growing nonprofit at The Witness, Inc. including adding a new division and helping lead our first formal fundraising campaign

  • Recorded a weekly podcast (We’ve hit over half a million downloads in the first half of 2021 alone!)

  • Wrote for national news outlets such as the Washington Post, The Atlantic, the New York Times, and more.

  • Preached nearly every Sunday from November 2019 to March 2021

  • Contributed chapters to several other books

  • Had the pleasure of serving as a husband and a father

This plus all the various and sundry other obligations kept me busy! So, it’s time to celebrate. I have some plans, and I’ll be sure to share some pictures on social media (be sure to follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates).

I’m sharing all this with you because many of you have asked that question you should never ask a doctoral student—”When will you finish!” (the pressure! the anxiety!) Now I can finally answer—Done!

I also share because so many of you have encouraged me on this journey. A bunch of you even started calling me Dr. Tisby long before I actually defended the dissertation :-) I deeply appreciate your support.

Finally, I’m sharing this with you because what I most look forward to is writing more. Now that I have this huge project of the dissertation completed, I can devote more time to this newsletter and writing elsewhere. So, thanks for tuning in!

I am excited to tell you what my dissertation was about…but not yet.

I’m working on a book proposal to turn the dissertation into a book and once I get a publisher, I’ll be glad to share more details. Just know that it involves race, Christianity, and the Black Power movement.

Thank you to all who have encouraged me. I have so many people to thank including my committee, especially my chair, Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott. My patient and supportive wife and my gracious child. Dr. Otis Pickett who connected me with the University of Mississippi. Malcolm Foley who joined me on Zoom at 6:30 in the mornings so we could both work on our dissertations. My team at The Witness, my church, and so many, many more.

Just thought you’d like to know about this milestone. I’ll never get used to the title Dr. Jemar Tisby. I don’t know if people will call me Jemar, Dr. Tisby…or even Dr. J!

What’s most important is that this stage of certification and credentialing is done. Now to rest…then back to work.

P.S. I’m writing a post to address the question, “Should I get a Phd?” What are some questions you’d like me to address? Leave your remarks in the comments or message me!

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