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Questions tagged [united-states]

On standards or conventions specific to the United States higher education system, which differs in structure and style from the systems in other parts of the world.

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234
votes
14answers
40k views

Why do American colleges and universities have sports teams?

In the USA, college sports are popular, and colleges may offer scholarship based on athletic skills. Yet, universities spend significant money on sports, and nobody earns as well as the head of the ...
207
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9answers
31k views

Professor creates assignment making students advocate for a bill being presented to Congress. Is this legal?

I attend a public university in Kentucky (USA). My professor has assigned an advocacy assignment that requires students to write three letters of support for a certain House bill that will soon be ...
131
votes
11answers
21k views

Reporting a student who may be psychologically disturbed

Yesterday, a colleague from my school's history department brought me a student's final project from her history class. The assigned project was to produce a "creative" project dealing with a ...
129
votes
12answers
38k views

Can leaked nude pictures damage one's academic career?

I have an ex who has posted nude photos of me online in the past, linked to my online social media, and posted my full name and where I live. I am concerned he may do so again once he finds out I'm ...
126
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3answers
69k views

How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students?

When applying to a PhD program in the US, how does the admissions process work? If an applicant is weak in a particular area, is it possible to offset that by being strong in a different area? Note ...
124
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4answers
10k views

How hard do early-career academics in the United States work, really?

I'm finishing a PhD in Sweden this year and seeking a post-doc in the United States (atmospheric remote sensing). It is clear that a job in academia is not a nine to five job; nor do I want it to be. ...
116
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6answers
18k views

What should I do after advisor got upset when I expressed “belief in evolution” and then said he couldn't add me to his research team?

A bit of background: I am a graduate student working towards my Masters in physics. During this summer I signed up for some classes that are somewhat outside my main focus of study. For instance, ...
113
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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 ...
111
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15answers
31k 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 ...
104
votes
2answers
16k views

My admission is revoked after accepting the admission offer

I applied to PhD program and gladly received official admission offer on the 29th of March. They guaranteed me four-year funding. I accepted the admission offer and was preparing for obtaining student ...
100
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6answers
20k views

Professor falsely accusing me of cheating in a class he does not teach, two months after end of the class. What precautions should I take?

I'm a domestic student in the US. Despite my poor English, it's my first language. In May 2019, I finished a class on web development. My final submission was a simple but fully functional web app. ...
99
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9answers
24k views

Why do Americans care so much about recommendation letters?

In Europe, we judge students based on their work and abilities. How are their grades? Do they have relevant work experience (TA/RA, maybe part-time industry work, etc)? What projects have they done? ...
97
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7answers
30k views

The GRE: Why does this still exist?

I did my undergraduate degree in the US and am heading to graduate school here in less than a month, so I myself have taken the Graduate Record Examinations (the general as well as two subjects tests) ...
97
votes
7answers
12k views

Why can't universities work around the proposed reclassification of tuition remission as taxable income, by not charging tuition?

There has been a lot of press about how the new tax proposals currently being considered by Congress could hurt grad students because one of the plans would treat remitted tuition as taxable income. ...
95
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5answers
18k views

Are non-citizen Muslim professors and students going to be removed from US universities and subsequently deported by Trump's ban?

Does anyone have any information on this? Are academics somehow protected from Trump's ban on Muslims? I know that some have the "alien of extraordinary ability" work visa, but what about for ...
94
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8answers
14k views

How do I talk about my abusive former advisor if people ask?

I was just at a conference where I met another grad student who - upon learning about my specialization and university affiliation - excitedly asked me if I knew Dr. -- and if he was my advisor (she's ...
92
votes
7answers
12k views

Are college students forbidden from sharing their grades with other students?

I am currently in an anatomy class and had an issue. I and three other students worked on an 18 page packet together. We had the same answers since we worked on it as a group. However, two of us ...
91
votes
13answers
33k 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 ...
89
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2answers
9k views

I am non-tenured and have been offered a tenure-track position at my current university, but I don't want to stay here long term. What should I do?

I work at a midwestern university in a very small department in a specialised field in the Humanities. I've been working here as a non-tenure track assistant professor, and have been offered a TT ...
81
votes
13answers
33k 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
6answers
12k views

Is it ethical for a Professor to disseminate wrong answers online?

I recently took a class where the Professor created multiple online study guides, on popular student sites, which intentionally contained the wrong answers. He did this because his exams were based ...
77
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7answers
9k views

To avoid legal battle, in bussiness world reference letters are written extremely terse. How do academics get away with this?

It seems to be accepted wisdom in the business world that reference letters for former employees should be extremely terse. They should confirm that the employee worked there, and essentially nothing ...
68
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11answers
25k 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 ...
68
votes
8answers
19k views

How should I respond to a worrying email from an ex student?

I run a lab at an R1 university in the USA. Almost ten years ago I removed an undergraduate volunteer student from my laboratory group for harassing another student. Today I received a multi-page, ...
67
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5answers
3k views

I was sexually assaulted by a professor writing me a LOR for grad-school applications. What should I do?

I’m a foreign student currently applying to extremely competitive doctoral programs in the US. Recently, one of the professors writing a letter of recommendation sexually assaulted me. I live in a ...
66
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6answers
12k views

In practice, how secure is a tenured position in the US?

Coming from France, where any official academic position (i.e. associate professor or full professor, or equivalent positions at public research institutes) is a civil-servant one, and therefore ...
64
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14answers
15k views

Why are most of the top universities American?

In any ranking system, at least 50% of top universities (top 100, for example) are American. What is special about American higher education?
63
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7answers
15k views

Why attend predatory colleges in the US?

I just read this article about predatory colleges in the US: S. Cagle, These students were ruined by predatory colleges. Now they’re getting even. I am not from the US and didn't ask in the ...
62
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 ...
61
votes
11answers
23k views

Is it ethical to tell my teaching assistant that I like him?

I, a twenty-year-old female, have come to admire the graduate teaching assistant for my summer course quite strongly. I'm extremely interested in what he has to say, I always pay attention, never use ...
61
votes
4answers
6k views

How can I assist other graduate students who may feel increasingly “unwelcome” due to their countries of origin?

I work in a research group with a large number of international graduate students. Recent news in my country (the United States) has been deeply unsettling for some of these students, especially the ...
60
votes
16answers
11k views

As an international instructor, should I openly talk about my accent?

I'm an international, teaching at an American university, and I have an accent, which can be strong at times. I'm working hard at it, have always been, but still, the accent is there. This has never ...
59
votes
3answers
10k views

Writing a letter of recommendation for a faculty colleague I cannot highly recommend

A colleague of mine has asked that I write him a letter of recommendation (LOR). I will call him Steve. He recently was denied tenure and is looking for a new position at several other universities. ...
58
votes
7answers
14k views

Can a professor ask for money directly from students to print out handouts for class?

I'm currently taking a class that doesn't have a required textbook, which is why I took it. My professor is now saying that due to her scanning and printing out handouts for use we are each required ...
57
votes
9answers
13k views

Would it be acceptable to occasionally sleep at the lab?

I'm currently an undergrad, and work as a researcher in an EECS lab. Recently, I discovered a novel application to work on, and so for the last few weeks I've been staying at the lab late almost every ...
56
votes
13answers
16k views

U.S. grading system: Why discrete grades?

Background In the U.S., many colleges adopt an A–F grading scheme, topped with pluses and minuses. Professors vary in the way they assign A to F grades, but my sense is most rely on discrete “bins”. ...
56
votes
9answers
15k views

I feel I've done enough for a PhD but my supervisor disagrees

I have been working on a PhD for over 6 years, and in that time have published 5 (conference) papers, each of which I intend to convert to journal articles after my PhD. My supervisor has been ...
56
votes
6answers
13k views

Do universities prefer not to hire their own PhD graduates in faculty positions? [closed]

I have heard that universities tend not to hire people who earned their PhD there for professorships (tenured or not). (I've read this question, but it's about postdocs: Is it normal that research ...
54
votes
16answers
18k views

How do so many people here on Academia.SE, and in general, afford lavish higher education programs?

I graduated last year with a BS in Computer Science. I do not come from a particularly wealthy family, (very low middle class), and was only able to afford my education via school loans/scholarships ...
54
votes
12answers
13k views

What to do with students coming to office hours asking to check their homework?

As a teaching assistant (TA), how to handle the situation where a student comes to office hours asking to check their homework? I.e. the student hands in their solution to the homework and ask the TA ...
52
votes
14answers
22k 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 ...
52
votes
9answers
13k views

Given 0s on Assignments with suspected and dismissed cheating?

Basically, I coded several assignments and a friend turned in code which looks almost identical. I didn't give him my code, and, as far as I know, he didn't even have any way to access it - but it ...
52
votes
3answers
8k views

What should be done about a professor who treats foreign students worse than domestic students?

My school and my department has a lot of undergraduate students from China. When I took this instructor's class, he routinely pressured the foreign students to answer questions about their home ...
50
votes
11answers
21k views

Why is PhD GPA considered irrelevant?

The importance of a recent PhD’s GPA was recently dismissed in another question (What does an industry recruiter want to know my Ph.D. GPA for?). Why isn’t GPA considered relevant for graduate study?
50
votes
6answers
10k views

How does the college course 101 numbering system work?

I'm not an American, but I know that the number 101, often used postpositively, is used to mean fundamentals/rudiments of a particular scholarly subject. I know (partially as a hunch but I also looked ...
48
votes
8answers
3k views

Toxic, harassing lab environment

I have just started a research position (around 2.5 months ago) at a top-10 university. I am having my own funding and was initially quite excited about the opportunity, and did and do love my project....
47
votes
10answers
22k views

Is a professor allowed to require me to give him permission to speak with my doctor before letting me make up an exam?

I study in the USA. Can a professor ask me to waive my right to privacy so he can talk to my doctor about my medical condition? He says he needs that in order to allow me to take a make-up midterm ...
47
votes
9answers
6k views

How can our department solicit more (good) PhD applications?

Our department is awesome. But every year, I think: "why aren't we getting more awesome applicants? They could be super happy here, and we could do a great job of jump-starting their careers." Well, ...
46
votes
8answers
5k views

Why don't academics bypass restrictions on the distribution of their papers the same way as an institutional open access policy seems to do?

I've learned that academics can ensure that their papers can be freely distributed, even when those papers are published at places that require transferring copyright, simply by granting a ...
46
votes
1answer
8k views

Alma mater (USA) refuses to remove my name from public search

The professor of a US university where I graduated from with a master's degree maintains a website that he makes available for public search. He lists students that attended one of his courses, ...

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