I am in the third year of my four year PhD, which is funded by the department. My supervisor a week and a half ago called a meeting with me, after an email complaining about sending off an updated version of a manuscript to a conference without full approval. During the course of this meeting, when two others were present, he said a lot of things. However in this meeting he stated that I was on a "final warning" to be kicked out of the university (I had not received any previous warnings, and I'm not sure he has the capability to do this) and also his research group. He also said that he was engaging in a 'strategy of intimidation' so that I would be scared to make similar same mistakes in the future. I found this to be very worrying.
Following on from this he was especially nice via email, asking whether I would like to collaborate with a prestigious professor abroad. Indeed, the next day he spent 2 hours helping me prepare this manuscript, along with a postdoc.
This is part of a pattern of behaviour from this gentleman. Two months previously, after he said I shouldn't apply for IRB approval only weeks before, he had stated that I had committed severe ethical violations and that I should scrap the paper that I had worked on for the previous 7 months due to these violations. He also asked me whether I would like to go to jail for these violations.
Apart from this, my publication output has been relatively good. I got into a top journal in my field in my second year as first author.
I am very close to trying to switch supervisors and am just wondering, is this a stupid idea? Am I being overly sensitive? Is this psychological abuse?
- My aim here is not to raise a stink, I would be subtly switching supervisor, not reporting this to anyone, giving vague excuse of differences. I still have a lot of respect for the advisor as a scientist and fear of him.
- If not clear enough in the initial question, part of my problem is that I was told not to go through the ethics process, then latterly reprimanded for not applying for ethics and committing unethical research. There may be a point here with regards to ethics in the first place.
- I am thankful for some of the more hostile responses here, as they have made me aware of things that I may not have considered . Indeed they have made me aware of how this would be likely to be perceived. It has also made me slightly more cognizant of my own role in this.
- I am a native speaker and have copied the quotes verbatim.
One final clarification:
Being asked too many questions here, will leave thread as is and not reply further. Thanks for all replies.