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106
votes
18answers
14k views

Should I recommend a student with a bad ideology?

My problem is the following: I teach an honors course in an engineering discipline at a small university. (It is not exactly that, but "teaching an honors course" is a good approximation to what I do)...
106
votes
9answers
16k views

How to respond to a company that wants specific details on implementation of my PhD research?

A company approached me for an interview to explain my work, which has been published as part of my PhD. As I understand from their email, they want to understand my work so that they can use it. ...
106
votes
9answers
66k views

How to come up with research ideas?

As a very new researcher who is exploring the best way to generate ideas, some guidance on this question would be very helpful. I have found that this is NOT easy. Ideas seem to pop out of my ...
106
votes
9answers
12k 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 ...
105
votes
12answers
19k views

My teaching evaluations arrived and female students statistically gave me worse scores than male students. Is there any possible explanation?

I'm a new assistant professor and I finished my first semester of teaching. It's my first class, but I think it went good: the students seemed happy and interested, I had many of them (both male and ...
105
votes
10answers
18k views

Why do universities fund Ph.D. students in the sciences?

I was recently accepted into an applied math Ph.D. here in the U.S., and being the 1st in my family to graduate from university, I had a hard time explaining to them why my university will be spending ...
105
votes
13answers
20k views

Is it ethical for a professor to get masters students to work on open source modules related to the professor's profit-making company?

My professor of Computer Science has a company (both based in Germany) that promotes an open-source software. Of course the software is free and open-source, but his company generates profits through ...
104
votes
11answers
16k views

Why is it acceptable that publishers sell papers they didn’t pay for?

I am curious about the worldwide accepted ethics in publishing. I have never seen any other economic sector in which someone legally sold someone else's product for their own profit, apparently ...
104
votes
22answers
28k views

None of 25 students at question session before exam has a question. What should lecturer do?

In a comment on another question Josef shared an anecdote. And just another anecdote: A few weeks ago, there was a question hour at the last lecture timeslot before the exam. About ~25 of more than ...
104
votes
14answers
28k views

What to do if most of my students have switched to a better lecturer's class?

I teach a certain course which is part of the obligatory undergraduate curriculum. I teach two groups out of four; the other two groups are taught by two other lecturers. In one group I have about 20-...
104
votes
14answers
33k views

What is the best “last slide” in a thesis presentation?

There are some possible options as the last slide of a typical thesis presentation. I've heard of some possibilities: A question-mark image (as the time to be slaughtered by the referees!), A Thank ...
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 ...
103
votes
23answers
35k views

How can I prevent students from writing answers on an assignment, then claiming I didn't see their answer?

What is a good way to prevent students from writing an answer after you hand back a graded assignment (exam/homework) and claiming that you did not see their answer? It is clear to me that this ...
103
votes
14answers
15k views

The overwhelming silence in shy classes

I have been part of several classes where no-one wants to answer questions or actively take much part in the discussions. I am sure this must be frustrating for the lecturers, who try really hard to ...
103
votes
3answers
6k views

Submitting paper proving “X” soon after paper proving “X-epsilon”

I am a math postdoc, currently working on some conjecture. To avoid going into details, let's formulate it as follows: "every runcible doohickey is cromulent". A senior colleague told me last year ...
102
votes
11answers
24k views

Has anyone, based on great performance, ever been awarded a higher degree than the one they enrolled for?

Out of curiosity, I was wondering if anyone, historically, has ever been awarded a degree that was a level higher than the one they were enrolled in and studying for, simply because their performance ...
102
votes
7answers
17k views

Will my cancer ruin my chances of going to graduate school in math?

I commenced my bachelor of math 8 years ago and at the same time I was diagnosed to have cancer. Because of the treatment process and the emotional state that I was in, I only completed 3 subjects in ...
102
votes
15answers
30k views

I lost my students' quizzes due to a theft, what should I do?

I am a teacher assistant for a big course and I am expected to conduct weekly quizzes. Last week, my bag containing a week's worth of quizzes got stolen. My question is what should I tell my students ...
102
votes
7answers
30k views

Students bringing babies to class

I'm a student; recently, in one of my classes, a fellow student brought their baby in a stroller. She may have asked the professor beforehand for permission to do this. The baby cried, made loud ...
102
votes
11answers
20k views

Is it unethical to supply a marked solution to a student who has shown intent to cheat, with the intent of identifying them for punishment?

One of the adjuncts that I work with found that one of their students had posted their assignment on a freelancer website asking for the solution. We joked that he should place a bid and fail them ...
101
votes
9answers
18k views

Do authors have to be politically correct in article-writing?

My colleagues and I have recently submitted an article in a biology-oriented journal about a new technological system. While describing the interaction between the different modules of the system, we ...
101
votes
14answers
354k views

Assistant professor vs Associate professor

What's the difference between an associate professor and an assistant professor? What can one of them do that the other can't? and which is a higher level? can any of them supervise a PhD student?
101
votes
10answers
18k views

During peer-review, should I comment on the authors' messy code?

I'm reviewing a paper in pure mathematics. A lot of results in the paper depend heavily on computer computations, and the authors have provided in the article a link to the Magma code they used for ...
101
votes
4answers
19k views

A famous scholar sent me an unpublished draft of hers. Then she died. I think her work should be published. What should I do?

A famous scholar sent me an unpublished draft of hers. It was to convince me that a certain philosophical position is wrong (the paper debunks that position). Then she died. I think her work should be ...
100
votes
9answers
28k views

What to do if I have seen an exam before I have taken it?

Today I saw a photograph of an upcoming exam at my university. At first I thought it was last year's exam; so I took a closer look at it as I think it is okay to see last year's exams even if they ...
100
votes
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
votes
18answers
250k views

I was caught cheating on an exam, how can I minimize the damage?

I got caught cheating in a two-hour engineering exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions which was done online through the moodle e-learning software. I feel like my life is almost over. ...
99
votes
18answers
95k views

Is doing two PhDs a good path?

I am studying a combined bachelor of engineering (electrical) and bachelor of mathematics; I just started this year and will graduate in 2018. The reason why I am doing double degrees and not a single ...
99
votes
12answers
23k views

One of my student researchers is likely falsifying some results/data. What are the consequences?

Relevant info and background: I'm an engineering Post Doc at an American university. One of my roles is to basically function as a 'project manager' for a couple projects that have a number of ...
99
votes
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? ...
99
votes
15answers
33k views

Just started a postdoc, but it went REALLY bad, REALLY fast. Stay or go?

I just started my 2-yr postdoc, but things have gone sour really fast. So, I really need some career advice as to what to do. Over several months, I did the interviews with the supervisor and the lab ...
98
votes
5answers
15k views

What should I do when my accepted paper is subsequently rejected?

My paper was accepted for publication in a journal. I have also received an acceptance letter and even I have filled out the copyright form. The corresponding editor first told me "Your paper is ...
97
votes
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
19answers
23k views

Professor does not care about cheating, what should TA do?

I am a PhD student, working as a Homework marking TA in a school where cheating is extremely blatant. The university has an extremely strict policy against cheating. Hundreds of students in math ...
97
votes
2answers
16k views

What is a “sandwich thesis”?

On the Internet, I have found that some people have graduated with a PhD by means of a “sandwich thesis”. Could anyone explain what it is?
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. ...
96
votes
10answers
8k views

How to be a co-author anonymously?

I am from country A and am studying in country B. A researcher from country C would like to collaborate with me. However, my home country (country A) has poor (hostile) relations with the researcher'...
95
votes
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 ...
95
votes
4answers
18k views

I'm feeling discouraged after getting tenure; should I quit?

A few months ago, and seven years after I obtained my PhD, I finally got tenure. Hence I have a permanent position in academia. After a few months in this new position, I find myself thinking of ...
95
votes
15answers
21k views

How to tell an over-confident student they still have a lot to learn?

In one of my classes, I had a student who generally understood stuff faster than the others. In tutorials, he would ask a lot of questions, mostly of the kind "I tried this method instead of what ...
95
votes
11answers
7k views

E-mail address to use in publications

It is customary to use one's academic e-mail address as contact address in publications; I have seen once or twice an @gmail.com address being used instead, but it simply looked unprofessional. ...
94
votes
11answers
37k views

“You are paid to answer my questions!” - how to handle silly questions?

How do I handle silly questions? By silly, I mean questions that are unrelated to the material of the course. First, I am a TA. Recently, a student asked me a very silly question at the end of a lab ...
94
votes
9answers
22k views

Is having access to past exams cheating and, if yes, could it be proven just by a good grade?

I studied for three weeks straight for an exam because I was really anxious to pass it with a high grade, while everyone else didn’t study much. Now the problem is, I had access to the exam from the ...
94
votes
4answers
9k views

What is behind the “Indian Undergrad Research Experience”-spam?

Every now and then I receive an email claiming to be from some undergrad student in Math or Computer Science at an Indian university asking for a summer research experience in "my research group" (...
94
votes
13answers
21k views

Techniques for good board handwriting

I'm a math TA and I find that my most consistent comment for improvement involved my board handwriting. Anybody have some tips or techniques I can use to make things a little neater on the board? ...
94
votes
7answers
20k views

What happens if a math PhD student fails to find a proof that is the main objective of his/her thesis topic?

How exactly do Math theses/dissertations work? Is it fair to assume that the work involves trying to prove something? What happens if you can't? I did a thesis in Computer Science, and though my ...
94
votes
8answers
18k views

Where do bad papers go to die?

After a paper is rejected several times by several journals it begins to become clear that the research was off the mark no matter how much editing, fixing, and revisions are done. Therefore, What do ...
93
votes
13answers
14k views

Is it OK to refuse to cite paywalled papers?

I wonder how reviewers would react if authors of a submitted paper refuse to cite paywalled papers. Is it a valid reason to refuse citing some papers? I am mostly interested in the field of computer ...
93
votes
11answers
20k views

Why is peer review so random?

8 Scientific Papers That Were Rejected Before Going on to Win a Nobel Prize Funding Analysis: Researchers Say NIH Grant Funding Allocation Seems No Better Than Lottery The same paper resubmitted to ...
93
votes
9answers
20k views

If I quit my PhD, would it make my advisor look bad?

I am considering quitting my PhD in computer science, because after doing a software engineering internship I realized I enjoy that kind of work much more. My advisor has been very kind to me, on ...

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