Questions tagged [etiquette]

The customary code of polite behavior amongst the academic world.

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219
votes
13answers
77k views

Female students coming to office hours in overly revealing clothing

[because this is potentially relevant, I'm a 37 y/o male] Being the end of the semester, I've had a bunch of students come to my office hours to ask questions about things I'm responsible for. Among ...
189
votes
18answers
49k views

What to do with a student coming to class in revealing clothing, to the degree that it disrupts the teaching environment?

Since semester started, a female student has been attending classes scantily clad or wearing clothes that are too revealing, like a sport bra without shirt on top, booty shorts, semitransparent silk ...
187
votes
15answers
36k views

May a man attend a workshop entitled “Young women in [domain]”?

The Max Planck Institute for Mathematics at the University of Bonn hosts workshops such as 'Young Women in Harmonic Analysis', 'Young Women in Geometry' and 'Young Women in Mathematical Physics' ...
128
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10answers
35k views

Should a young professor avoid using dating apps?

I am a recent PhD graduate in mathematics, and I will be starting a tenure-track position this fall at a small liberal arts college in a northern US city. My graduate degree was completed at a large ...
122
votes
8answers
59k views

Is ignoring emails acceptable in academia?

As a grad student, I just find it tremendously frustrating when emails are ignored by faculty (both at my institution and at other places). Is this acceptable? I'd be content with a simple response ...
116
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9answers
15k views

Asking questions in class: how can I "exit" a Q&A when I haven't really understood?

I'm an undergrad and I tend to learn better when I understand the concepts behind things instead of rote repetition. As a result of this, I often have questions. There are times when I don't ...
115
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15answers
47k views

Is it appropriate to email a professor saying you enjoyed their class, after doing well in it?

I recently finished taking an undergraduate class and I enjoyed it. I was thinking of emailing the prof and saying this, but I don't know if it's appropriate or not, for a few reasons: I would have ...
110
votes
9answers
13k views

Is Academia really just a huge competition?

I am currently an undergraduate student. I noticed that regardless of what courses I'm taking, there are always a handful of people who view everything as a huge competition. That is, they would do ...
94
votes
9answers
11k views

Walk up and talk to random people at academic conferences - is that appropriate?

As a graduate student, I am relatively new to my community. From my point of view, the best approach to get to know new people is randomly walking around and start conversations (with anyone, no ...
91
votes
16answers
39k views

How to handle lecturer who doesn't let me use my phone?

Inspired by another question where a user asks how to handle students with a phone, my question is from the opposite perspective: what is the correct response when a lecturer asks one to put away the ...
90
votes
13answers
34k views

How to react to a student proselytising during office hours?

A few weeks ago, a student asked me during my office hours whether I was religious or not. More specifically, he asked whether I believed in his religion, and was visibly disappointed when I replied ...
83
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17answers
18k views

How to deal with people looking at their mobile phone during my presentation?

I was invited to give a research seminar in another department, and two professors kept looking at their mobile phones while I was talking. They were doing this at the start of my talk, and they kept ...
83
votes
11answers
31k views

Lecturer ridiculing me in front of class for making a mistake

The situation is, that I have a B.S. from computer science and I was awarded for my final thesis. Because of this I was offered a position in research, where I'm working for the 3rd month now. My ...
82
votes
9answers
17k views

Is it appropriate (as a PhD student) to email other researchers asking about some details in their papers?

It has happened on several occasion now, that I read a paper, understand 95% of it, but there are some niggling details which I simply don't get. I ask around, I ask my advisor, and nobody is able to ...
81
votes
13answers
34k views

How to deal with an inappropriate greeting in an email?

I'm relatively new to teaching (I was just hired as a tenure-track English professor at a local community college and have been teaching for just about 2 years). I recently received an email from a ...
80
votes
11answers
27k views

Does it violate academic social norm to email someone around midnight?

I do this often because this is when I wrap up the stuff for my day. But I wonder if it is considered intrusive. I imagine a scenario where a phone that is linked to gmail rings due to my email, and ...
79
votes
11answers
25k views

Is the phrase "thanks, but no thanks" appropriate in an email sent to a supervisor?

I recently have had a discussion about my friend's tone in his email. His supervisor asked him whether he wants to attend a summer school in May. He wanted to thank him for his invitation and also ...
76
votes
17answers
12k views

Is it appropriate to mention that authors refused to provide code samples when asked?

I work in a sub field of computer science. There was a recent paper (2020) that was published in a reputable conference that claimed to achieve state of the art performance on a specific data set. ...
75
votes
10answers
36k views

How to politely decline the university medal?

I have studied in an Australian university and throughout my university studies, I declined all prizes awarded to me. It is not that I have had something against my university but it is due to my own ...
74
votes
8answers
15k views

Is generic "thank you" email a waste of time in academia?

A very busy professor just responded my email. He answered my questions, and in the end, he explicitly said something like "Please let me know if you have any questions" or "Please respond if you have ...
72
votes
9answers
15k views

Is it socially acceptable to directly contact renowned academics as a student?

Can anyone chime in whether if it is socially acceptable for a (graduate) student to directly contact renowned academics outside your immediate research department with comments on their work or your ...
70
votes
9answers
2k views

Academic discretion: Should one participate in online forums or Stack Exchange sites anonymously?

As we may ask and answer various questions on online forums or stack exchange regarding teaching, research, publishing etc; it may reveal our lack of knowledge on any basic topic. This might hurt us ...
69
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4answers
12k views

Dealing with professor's death on my thesis

My professer, regrettably and very suddenly, passed away yesterday. He was my mentor for my graduation thesis. His teaching capabilities were not great, but he was a great man. Always helping out with ...
69
votes
1answer
9k views

How should I phrase an important question that I need to ask a professor?

When needing to ask a professor about something important and potentially delicate, what is an appropriate way to phrase the question or write the email? Examples include: Requesting a ...
68
votes
16answers
18k views

Why did I receive a negative response from a professor when emailing about course content and prerequisites of a course I am considering taking?

I wrote the following email to a professor (I've removed any personal or specific details): Dear Prof. Last name, Hope this email finds you well. I am Name, an undergraduate in the mathematics ...
68
votes
7answers
20k views

Etiquette question: is there such a thing as accepting an offer 'too early'?

TLDR: Got a PhD offer at top choice, all details checked out, and I want to accept now (much earlier than the April 15th deadline). A colleague (at the professor level) I mentioned this to said I ...
67
votes
11answers
26k views

Is it an insult to my US university to not walk in graduation?

I will be graduating with a degree in Software Engineering. I have a 4.0 GPA at this institution (not counting the 3.85 GPA I transferred in with). The institution is awarding me Outstanding Scholar ...
67
votes
10answers
92k views

Is it appropriate to send an email to a professor at the end of the semester thanking them for their teaching?

I'm aware of very similar questions previously asked - all with good answers. These usually pertain to following up with a professor after a recommendation. My question is specifically about sending a ...
67
votes
7answers
37k views

My professor gave me a bad grade and wouldn't discuss it further, I think some prejudice may be involved. How should a student proceed?

Background: I was a senior at a very prestigious, high-ranking university in the US. At the time my GPA was around a 3.9 and had never had any issues with professors (and actually socialized with a ...
67
votes
5answers
16k views

How to handle possibly subtly flirtatious emails from students?

I got a series of emails from a student. At first, I thought she was being over-polite. But now things are making me very uncomfortable. For instance, at every email she thanks me for giving her good ...
67
votes
4answers
7k views

How does it affect the treatment of a mathematician's results, if that mathematician was a Nazi?

I've been studying uses of quaternions to study various types of orbifolds. The important thing here though is that I came across an absolutely incredible result due to Vahlen in 1901, that apparently ...
66
votes
6answers
12k views

Is it right and polite to ask for a free copy of a published paper?

There is a published research paper I would like to read. The website it is published in, charges what I think is quite a lot of money, considering that I won't use this for research or work. I want ...
66
votes
10answers
5k views

Should academic papers necessarily carry a sober tone?

I was reading this paper titled "Optimal Symmetric Rendezvous Search on Three Locations." While talking about the history of search problems, the author mentions the following anecdote in passing. ...
65
votes
14answers
30k views

Am I conveying disrespect if I omit my gender pronoun from a conference nametag?

Situation I have an academic conference coming up, and on the registration site we are instructed to optionally enter a personal gender pronoun (PGP) to appear on our name tags. To enter it or not to ...
65
votes
12answers
19k views

Is it okay if a professor friends a student on social media sites?

If a professor is teaching a student currently, is it okay if he/she friends the student on social media sites such as Facebook or Google Plus?
65
votes
6answers
14k views

Mistook new faculty member to be a student, how big a faux pas is it?

Today I was introduced in the cafeteria by a professor who I know to someone new by just their first name. Because of admissions season, I thought that the new person was a prospective grad student ...
65
votes
3answers
5k views

Conversation between freshman from senior high school and retired professor who suffers from Alzheimer's disease

I live at a university town where I am freshman at a senior high school. Some years ago a car steered by an inebriated driver smashed me off my bicycle and run over me. Nowadays I am a paraplegic ...
64
votes
11answers
21k views

Difficult student would dispute every grade in the course and now wants letter of recommendation

I had a student in one of my courses that for every graded assignment would come to me and challenge the grade given, even though I provided a rubric to show exactly why the points where taken off. ...
63
votes
7answers
18k views

Professor being mistaken for a grad student

This question is the flip side of Mistook new faculty member to be a student, how big a faux pas is it? I'm an associate professor, and apparently I look young for my age. When I meet new people at ...
63
votes
9answers
74k views

Is it appropriate to buy a "thank you" gift for a PhD supervisor?

I am nearing the end of my PhD and I would quite like to buy a "thank you" gift for my supervisor (although, she's the socially awkward type who I'm sure will be greatly embarrassed to receive one). ...
63
votes
5answers
10k views

Should I include funny pictures in my slides?

I am preparing slides for a short (10min) talk at the group meeting. The talk is about a fairly serious piece of (pure) mathematics, and it so happens that there is a very relevant one-panel webcomic. ...
61
votes
18answers
20k views

How to respond to a professor who was insulted by an email detailing mistakes in the exercise? [closed]

I am an undergraduate student. Preparing the solution to an exercise regarding computer assembly language programming I discovered an error in the program skeleton that was given to us to base our ...
61
votes
8answers
15k views

What is the best way to deal with cranks?

Imagine you are minding your own business when you receive an email from someone who claims to have discovered the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. He provides ...
60
votes
3answers
14k views

Advisor threatening to pull his name from accepted paper that I submitted without his knowledge

Recently, I submitted a research article in the journal "Applied Mathematics and Computations" and fortunately my work got accepted with a very good response from reviewers. However, I made the ...
60
votes
12answers
8k views

Handling unsolicited proofs of famous mathematical problems

I have been receiving mails from (most probably amateurs), who claims to have proved famous mathematical problems, like the ABC Conjecture or Goldbach Conjecture. But invariably, they all contained ...
60
votes
4answers
9k views

Face-saving way of asking whether audience is familiar with specific topic

Sometimes I give a talk for a limited number of persons (typically well below 15). Here, the audience consists of persons from different subfields of the same fields. Consequently, I am often not ...
59
votes
12answers
21k views

Using nonstandard gender-neutral pronouns to refer to myself in academic writing

I am currently preparing my first formal work for publication, which I am the sole author on. While working through final edits, I've come across a few places where I refer to myself and would prefer ...
59
votes
11answers
20k views

How to deal with my PhD supervisors rudely critiquing all my draft papers?

I'm a PhD candidate in biology about three semesters in. I am co-advised by two young married principal investigators (PIs), who are just about to get tenure. Things were going great initially, as I ...
59
votes
11answers
9k views

Share prize money from conference presentation award with co-authors?

I am a PhD student and I recently won a young scientist award and prize money (~500 USD) at a conference for the "best presentation". I did the majority of the work for the presentation, and I was the ...
59
votes
5answers
18k views

University I rejected is asking which other one I chose over them; should I tell?

I got PhD admission offers from 2 Universities (say A and B) and yesterday decided to accept one of them (University A). Today I decided to let University B know that I would not be able to join them....

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