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45

Your writing certainly does not betray a "lack of eloquence"; in fact, it's probably better than most of the computer scientists I know! That said, as JeffE has indicated, you are being mishandled by your employers, and I would strongly encourage you to find a new position as soon as possible. However, it is important to point out that your situation is not ...


41

It's common in computer science for a university to have few if any of its own graduates as faculty, and should not be taken as a bad sign by itself. This low representation is for two main reasons: The best five or ten universities in the United States produce a disproportionately large number of strong academic candidates. In practice universities that ...


39

Two obvious answers are: Marking (grading). Ask your supervisor if they have coursework that needs to be marked (for a price). Tutoring. Put a note up in your departmental office offering to tutor undergraduates. If you're doing a more mathematical degree, you could tutor undergraduates from other disciplines. For example, helping out with some statistics ...


39

I am the chair of the faculty recruiting committee in a Very Good Department at a Big Research University. I read research and teaching statements. I need to know that you have a compelling agenda for your future research; your letters won't talk about that at all. I need to know that you can describe and motivate your research agenda well enough to ...


33

I know of a few graduate students who successfully made money doing consulting in their line of work. Most of these were engineering students, where the knowledge gained during graduate school is easily transferable, but I've seen others as well. If you're interested in this, talk to as many people as you can and network, network, network. It can be a fun ...


33

The answers so far have many good points: you are being abused, you have been misled, you would do well to seek employment elsewhere, perhaps you were not assertive enough, and so on. But I believe none of that matters much compared to your decisions from this point on. You sound like a person who prefers to think ahead and plan important decisions rather ...


31

I haven't seen any statistics on how many tenure professors have been fired, but most articles on the topic treat tenure as though it's a lifetime position (e.g., this Science article, "Tenure and the Future of the University"). Anecdotally, you will likely never meet someone who knows someone else who was fired from a tenure position; it simply doesn't ...


30

In addition to Suresh's answer, I'd say that a postdoc is no longer a student. A PhD student is expected to demonstrate that she can do research, and this is sanctioned by the PhD degree. A postdoc is rather expected to demonstrate that she can be trusted with a permanent academic position. In my field, postdoc positions usually denote fixed-term positions ...


30

I don't have anything essentially divergent to say from the other answers, but since you inquired about mathematics specifically and I am a mathematician who has been (and currently am) involved in postdoctoral and tenure track hiring, I thought it might be useful for me to weigh in as well. Lacking true inspiration, let me just comment on your criteria. ...


30

To the best of my understanding, the primary function of a professor switching to emeritus status is that it frees up a faculty slot for a new hire. Emeritus is essentially retirement without giving up affiliation. An emeritus professor can ramp down their duties, go part time, etc. In some cases they may still do some teaching and supervising, and may ...


29

There are many formal roles that generally fall under the category of "post-doc": The simplest is as a post-Ph.D researcher working with a faculty mentor and doing their own research Some postdocs have a role as "lab manager": they help with advising students. In addition, if given an appropriate title, a postdoc (as "visiting/research faculty") can write ...


29

TL; DR; 51 hours a week with 12 vacation days a year It is very difficult to assess how hard someone works. It is relatively easy to quantify the input (number of hours worked and the number of vacation days taken) and the output (papers and grants). In 2003 the Sigma Xi post doc society in the US began collecting data from 7600 post docs across 46 ...


29

In these positions, one gets to influence the direction of the whole university, rather than the direction of the research of 1 to n individuals. At such magnitude, one can effect more change. Often people get disgruntled with the way things are run at the level they are currently working. The only way to fix things is to move to more managerial positions. ...


27

This is a very good point. There are certain questions I'd like to ask, but cannot because I'm not at all anonymous for the reasons you allude to or because current students might read those answers. That said, I chose not to be anonymous and I have adjusted my behaviour accordingly. Maybe my students like the idea that I can answer their questions on such a ...


26

Virtually Impossible. Doing a PhD is a full-time job that requires vast amounts of commitment in terms of mental effort and time. If the PhD research comes in number two position, then the results will never be very good. Also, not being available in the department to interact with your colleagues and supervisor will severely reduce the benefits you gain ...


26

Based on my experience with faculty, if you care about managing well, and don't want to be a bad manager, you are already doing better than many people. Again, in my experience, the worst offenders along these lines are those who think they are God's gift to their graduate students and postdocs, and cannot bear to hear any criticism. So, if you want to do ...


26

Do any mathematicians working in academia have any comments about how one knows if they'll be able to continually generate new ideas to produce publishable research? I can remember freaking out about this as I was writing my first paper. It was the only publishable work I had ever done, and I remember thinking to myself "What if this is the only idea I ...


25

Each situation is different, and it might be hard to generalise, but roughly speaking, you can see a PhD thesis as requiring about 3-4 years working full time. For some people it might be a bit less, for others a bit more, but that's a good average. In addition, a PhD includes of course "technical" work, but also "academic training", such as learning how to ...


25

I would be truly shocked if any hiring committee cared at all about whether you taught calculus versus pre-calculus. Doing well at either would show that you can adequately handle teaching service classes.


24

(Since I've only been faculty in one department, my answer involves a bit of extrapolation...) Quality of students — It is much easier for top departments to attract the strongest students to their PhD programs, so the average quality of students tends to be higher. Faculty at top schools can spend less time bringing their PhD students up to speed and ...


23

That's a good question. I don't have a permanent position yet, and I'm aware that anything I post here can potentially be read by future recruiting committee, so I'm also careful of the way I can ask questions or post answers. I don't think it's a problem to show that you might lack some knowledge, considering that you're also showing you're aware of it and ...


23

For entry-level junior faculty, the likelihood is almost none unless you are already a superstar. People get invited to apply based on their prominence/brilliance in the field or through personal connections. While it doesn't hurt to have your CV uploaded to a job website, the likelihood that a hiring department will use it to pick you up is not very ...


22

To quote (jokingly) a rather blunt friend of mine, a post-doctoral fellow is "someone who has a Ph.D. but is still nobody." I don't quite subscribe to so dismal a view, but it usually means someone who hasn't achieved full independence yet (inasmuch as they still have at least a nominal advisor). I expect a postdoctoral fellow in my group to be a competent ...


22

Maybe I shouldn't start the answer with the judgey part, but if you don't feel like you can accept the faculty positions because of your previous commitment, why the hell didn't you pull your name from consideration the moment you accepted the European job? On my personal list of academic job hunting sins, not withdrawing your name from a position you've ...


21

In practice, a tenured appointment is one of the safest job positions out there. Essentially, the number of things which can get a tenured professor "sacked" are exceedingly small, and most of these involve criminal actions. (Even in such cases, the university tends to pressure resignations rather than try to fire them, as has happened, for instance, in ...


21

It does happen occasionally that entire departments are shut down. An example I remember being in the news a lot was several language departments at SUNY Albany. But it's an extreme measure and even with the current severe economic situation it did not happen very often.


21

Why is this question being singled out for a higher standard of "statistical" reasoning than any other post on this site? I offer my experiences as an early career engineering professor in the US as "anecdotal" evidence, and do so with at least as much credibility as respondents on an anonymous survey. In my experience, it's not at all about how "hard" you ...


20

No. Once you have a PhD, nobody cares about your previous degrees, or if you even graduated from high school. (I know at least one tenured professor who did not graduate from high school.)


20

In addition to the individual benefits they offer (subscriptions, electronic journal access, discounts, the possibility of distinguished or honorary grades of membership, etc.), professional organizations also contribute to the research community more broadly: They organize conferences, publish journals, and support other activities, for example in ...



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