Questions tagged [interpersonal-issues]

Questions concerning relationships and dealing with problems between people.

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70
votes
13answers
33k views

Dealing with a PhD student reneging on an agreement to appear in social media

Inspired by this question, I have a similar but somehow different problem. I recently assumed a tenure-track position. One of my strategies for a visible start is to have a strong presence in social ...
46
votes
9answers
7k views

How to comfortably interact with famous professors?

I know that they are "just as human as we are", but I feel somewhat uncomfortable to talk nonchalantly with the top-notch math researchers and professors in my department because of their social ...
329
votes
12answers
50k views

I don't want to kill any more mice, but my advisor insists that I must in order to get my PhD

When my supervisor pitched the PhD to me, it was all about analyzing "big data". I had BSc/MSc experience in wet-lab biology (mainly culturing cells), however I wanted to branch out into ...
152
votes
9answers
20k views

What to do about questions that are designed to embarrass the speaker?

I've attended a lot of seminars and lectures by now, and it's typical for the chair of the seminar to offer audience members a chance to ask questions of the speaker about their work after the ...
26
votes
3answers
11k views

Professor refusing to write recommendation letter to make student work longer

My friend is on his way to graduate with PharmD (outside US). He wants to apply for PhD program in US, and have asked his professors that he has worked with in the lab for recommendation letters. ...
112
votes
15answers
29k views

How to approach a student with bad hygiene?

I teach engineering at a community college in the US. I currently have a student with very poor hygiene. He stinks pretty badly, has obviously greasy hair, doesn’t change his clothes frequently, and I ...
52
votes
14answers
21k views

How to sign your email to students, so to avoid their immature behavior?

Or how would you like to be addressed? As a graduate TA, I went by my first name. But I thought that some students were becoming too friendly. They took things for granted (for example, asking for a ...
30
votes
3answers
7k views

How common are romantic relationships between faculty and students?

Romantic relationships between faculty members and students are often depicted in movies or books, and the student falling in love with his/her professor seems to be a bit of a cliché. But how common ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Do I need to request permission to cite a “personal communication” in a publication?

The title says it all I believe. Do I need to request permission from a colleague to cite their information as a "personal communication"? "Do I need to" may be a little restrictive, so I'll also ...
10
votes
1answer
526 views

Good questions for a student-advisor compatibility test

There are online a good amount of tests aimed to assess "compatibility" between two persons in a given life or work commitment situation; for instance, between coworkers, roommates, lovers, dungeons'n'...
82
votes
4answers
9k views

How to deal with an academic 'stalker'?

Several years ago, my colleagues and I attempted to get a small paper published, it was rejected and we ran out of time - and as it was a 'side-project' type of paper, we left it at that. We thought ...
44
votes
9answers
12k views

How to move forward following an unpleasant situation with colleagues?

I'm a recently hired assistant professor at a small teaching university. The department head has been successful in dramatically increasing student enrollment, such that our department is viewed ...
128
votes
10answers
31k 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 ...
45
votes
11answers
24k views

How can I avoid inadvertently offending my female peers and getting into trouble for it?

Attention has been drawn recently to an incident that occurred at a scientific conference and its sequelae described in this article: The fuss started when [Prof. X] and [Prof. Y] ended up in the ...
153
votes
9answers
18k views

Prof's neurological health is declining rapidly. What can I (TA) do?

I'm a law student acting as a teaching assistant/fellow for a tenured and notable law professor. Between last year when I took the course myself and now when I am a TA/TF, his mental acuity and health ...
32
votes
5answers
8k views

How to deal with constant pressure given by advisor

I am a third-year PhD student in mathematics from a very reputed institute in my country. I have one problem to share and discuss that is related with my guide. He is a senior professor in our ...
32
votes
3answers
4k views

When is it appropriate for a PhD student to discuss personal problems affecting his productivity with his advisor?

I had a very difficult personal problem. My head was not in the right place, and outside of getting through my administrative duties, my brain just couldn't function the right way to run wet lab ...
25
votes
10answers
5k views

How to cope with lab noise?

I have searched a lot and I am surprised that this topic hasn't been discussed yet. I am an M.Sc. Student in Computer Science. Our lab is actually a dry lab in which we need to do a lot of reading of ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

How to handle pressure from collaborators when life circumstances make it impossible to get work done?

I am looking for a bit of advice on how to handle the workload in a PhD while juggling several collaborative projects plus family pressures. I am in the final year of my PhD which, overall, has been ...
42
votes
5answers
5k views

How to respond to the trivialisation of one’s work and unjustified demands for a considerable extension of the research?

I am a graduate student in engineering whose work includes a lot of programming and implementation of the developed theories. I am not a computer scientist, but I am a fairly skilled programmer, at ...
40
votes
9answers
11k views

Will declining a research award be problematic for me, or other people?

I recently received an offer for a research award for early-stage scholars producing outstanding research in my field. I have verified the award and the association are genuine and I have colleagues ...
49
votes
4answers
7k views

A frequent reviewer seems to have a grudge against me. What to do?

(Asking on behalf of a friend.) I work in math, in a field where reviews are not double-blind: reviewers are anonymous, but review copies of papers include attribution. I’ve received several reviews ...
43
votes
5answers
3k views

Should a postdoc talk about his depression with his mentor?

I am a postdoc in mathematics and I work in the US. Two months ago I was diagnosed with moderate depression. In retrospect, I can say that I must have starting suffering from it last spring, though I ...
60
votes
7answers
11k views

What physical contact, if any, is acceptable between a supervisor and a student?

I was rather surprised that in this answer which suggests that a supervisor giving a side-hug to a research assistant is acceptable behaviour. I try and limit the physical contact with my students/...
59
votes
9answers
12k views

Any good way to tell a faculty candidate “We don't want you”?

I serve on a faculty search committee at a large university here in the US. The part of the job none of us enjoys is informing a candidate who's visited and given a teaching demonstration that we've ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

Problem with undergraduate research supervisor, how to proceed?

Setting I am currently an undergraduate student in chemistry and I have recently started working on an undergraduate research project in a known laboratory in the US. I am very passionate about the ...
58
votes
5answers
18k views

How to handle a student who will not accept that he is wrong?

I am a university marker TA, and after midterm exam I met with a student who would not accept that he was wrong. He thought his answers were correct but didn't explain to me why his answers were ...
35
votes
7answers
7k views

1.5 years later, how to make sure unprofessional behaviour by former mentor has consequences?

I was a post doc at a large US university for a year and after took another postdoc position in my home country. My mentor was a tenure track assistant professor. It pretty soon became clear that ...
17
votes
7answers
7k views

Not including student who contributed very little as coauthor of paper

I am a researcher in condensed-matter physics, and I recently started a research project with another professor, for which I hired a student for a six-month undergraduate internship. The student was ...
42
votes
7answers
17k views

What can I do if a student in my lab threatens to tell lies about me, and my advisor doesn't want to fire her?

I'm doing my Masters right now and I am a new lab member (I've been there for just 4 months). A undergrad student didn't like it when I told her to follow biosafety rules when handling dangerous ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I make sure I'll get credit for my work when working with unwanted and untrusted collaborator?

I am taking a course with a major final project. I was looking for a topic when my co-advisor noticed this. He suggested that I do a project related to my master thesis, and I agreed since I didn't ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

How to respond to the teacher who puts the feet up while talking to student?

A friend of mine who is from Japan told me that his professor in USA puts the feet up while talking to him. He was saying that he felt very bad with that. Is this acceptable culture in USA academia?
15
votes
7answers
9k views

How to deal with sources whose authors I don't have good relationship with?

I used to have a good relationship with an author, but now it's broken. However, my work is heavily based on the work of that author, and I'm not sure if citing it without informing them is OK here. ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

In-class, allowing students to address professor informally ('tutoyer' / 'tutear')

Supposing that Dr. A is teaching an undergraduate-level course, what would be the pros and cons for Dr. A to allow students to address himself in an "informal" manner? By "informal" here I mean ...
27
votes
7answers
13k views

My supervisor is making me work on something that is not my PhD project. What should I do?

My PhD project is a very little part of a big study that my supervisor is currently running. I am already four months into my PhD and I just have a 3 years position to finish my thesis. So far I haven’...
22
votes
9answers
5k views

I can't trust my supervisor anymore, but have to have his letter of recommendation. What should I do?

Background I did my masters research project with Prof X. While doing this I joined his lab, where he used to ask me to do random tasks i.e. taking part in different projects, conducting lectures to ...
21
votes
5answers
7k views

What do I do if my supervisor insists that the classical CLT is false and wants me to write that in my paper?

We are in a physics department. My supervisor, upon reading a Physical Review Letters (PRL) paper, concludes (and claims that the paper also concludes) that the classical central limit theorem (CLT) ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

As a postdoc, how to deal with supervisor who keeps trying to involve my student in other projects?

I would appreciate very much an advice on the case which I will describe after a short intro about myself. Such introduction is not really necessary for the matter of question, but I hope it can ...
9
votes
5answers
580 views

How to score class participation, correcting for natural outspokenness?

When my students ask questions and participate in discussion, class is more thoughtful, more fun, and more effective. I encourage their participation by checking in with them regularly, and making ...
7
votes
1answer
754 views

How to deal with bad smelling (smoking) co-student

For a graduate project I need to work together with a fellow student who smokes a lot (every time we take a break); the smell is really strong and actually distracts from the work at times. Some days ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

My advisor escalated things after not getting a coauthorship he did not deserve

I am a 3rd year PhD Student (Computer Science, India). I have two advisors, one internal and one external. The internal advisor has no knowledge of my area and he doesn’t care what I am doing. He has ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Dealing with intern supervisor who underestimates my abilities

I am an undergraduate student who got into a voluntary internship for a year in my department. Without going into much detail, I'm a trainee in the lab where programming lessons are held with lots of ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I help my advisor not lose face when changing from a thesis to non-thesis program?

I am a comajor masters student who is experiencing difficulties in timely responses from my advisor. It has taken an average of almost 4 months for me to get feedback each time I have received ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Due to my depression, the department wants to kick me out of the graduate program. How to stay in this environment?

This is the third installment of the series: What can I do if my advisor wants me to keep working, even while I'm on medical leave for severe depression? So, many months were gone and I'm still ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Rules for notifying co-authors about re-presenting a project at a conference

I am a PhD student in molecular biology & bioinformatics in Australia. I have previously presented one of my projects as a poster at a conference. This was sent for review to all co-authors, ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

How should one deal with fellow students constantly asking for notes?

I'm an undergraduate student in the Netherlands, and as the title states, I'm encountering an annoying situation. How should one deal with the situation of constantly being asked for the notes of a ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

My advisor wants to co-author a paper on my thesis work, but drags out the submission, claiming it isn't ready. Should I submit without him?

I have just finished my PhD thesis defense in applied mathematics. My supervisor suggested me the initial problem. He was not an expert in the small area that I was working, and thus the assistance ...
5
votes
2answers
760 views

Dealing with suspects of sabotaging experiments

In a group, postdoc A believes postdoc B sabotaged her experiments. A shares her frustration with the PI (without proof) in a "half-jokingly, half-serious" sense. Since then, strange things appear to ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How to survive the remaining 5 months of my postdoc in toxic environment?

I am international postdoc and 7 months into my 1 year postdoc. My PI is very young and the lab is relatively new. I chose this lab because after the interview I was convinced that the PI and I had ...
4
votes
2answers
989 views

Should an intern who wrote most of a paper and where the first author contributed little request to be first author?

Background: A little over a year ago, I wrote a paper for an internship (during high school) at a major university medical center. My contribution to the paper was basically everything except ...