New answers tagged

4

Is it normal to have several one or two month extensions after a fixed term contract postdoc? Unfortunately, yes, in many places. In the research groups in which I have encountered in the USA, UK, and Canada, more than 90% of employees are on temporary contracts. In all of them, the situation you describe happened. I've seen colleagues who were on their ...


2

I don't see this situation as "normal" in any sense. However... It is probably a very good idea that your university is doing these sorts of outreach and community events. I would support that. But not on the backs of new faculty. But it also depends quite a lot on the local reward structure. If a new faculty member can reach tenured/permanent ...


9

To me, this sounds like your PI is effectively trying to give you a bit of bridge funding to keep you around while they try to get real funding for you. This is not "normal" in the sense of a desirable situation, but you already left desirable outcomes behind when your position ended without you having either received a new contract from your PI or ...


5

I actually think this is not completely abnormal- with a caveat. This is always a possibility when your PI has some additional funding floating around; however it is in most cases intended to give you a backup when you have applied for other positions but were unsuccessful. In other words, it should be used as a lifeline to give you a few more months to find ...


20

As a fixed-term postdoc you should pretty much always be looking for another job, and your PI should expect this. Unless you have more than about 18 months left it is worth keeping an eye out for other plausible postdocs - it takes time to go through the process, if you get it they may be flexible about start date, and even if they aren't you have probably ...


4

It's sometimes seen as bad form to keep a postdoc past the end of a fixed term contract (excluding the +1 year in the typical 2+1 format of my field). Though I know of labs in adjacent fields where this practice is pretty common. The general guide is if you want someone around longer, recruit them for a more prestigious position. A 5-year job is more ...


3

No, that is not normal. Yes, you should look for another job. Never rely solely on a possible grant for the future of your employment.


11

My advice would depend on your options. I suggest that if you have no other good options that you continue with this. But simultaneously you can and should look for something more permanent. A short term situation can help get you over the bridge to something better, but don't neglect the search for that something better. And if you have to leave "at a ...


4

When I finished course work I found that what I really missed about them was discussing the ideas from the courses with fellow graduate students. What filled in the gap for me was an informal logic and foundations seminar that another grad student had created. We would meet about once a week at lunch time, discussing articles, books, and occasionally each ...


1

It is too early for you to commit to a final field of study. It is good that you have a lot of interests and the opportunity to learn some things about many of them. Studying math at a liberal arts college, as I did, or at place that otherwise permits a broad education is a good way to build up a body of interests, any of which you might later decide to ...


4

After I passed my qualifying exams and passed enough classes to get over that hurdle, I took additional courses pass/fail or credit/no-credit (with the consent of the instructor) where it was clear I could pass or get credit without it impacting my workload too much. I took a lot of courses this way and learned a lot. My advisor encouraged it. It also helped ...


1

If you want make an value argument that appeals to the research university's historical context and you have "enlightenment ideals", maybe appeal to Lehr und Lernfreiheit. Probably someone could cite Weber / Foucault for evidence that enlightenment ideals are "problematic". Indeed if your advisor is hip they might also think that Lehr und ...


2

My sense is you're putting a lot of weight in past mistakes, and you got your PhD in the end. The rest about your bad understanding of the material or weak research is hard to evaluate objectively, what does your advisor say? Other mentors in the field? Getting a more realistic picture might help you be productive moving forward. the concerning thing is no ...


15

You should talk to your advisor about why you want to take more courses, and discuss which one-or-two would contribute to your development as a PhD student. Your advisor is correct in the sense that it is easy to spend too much time taking courses for interest, and you need to focus on your research. Also, to some extent you should be able to study the ...


25

Audit the courses that you like, i.e., take them without receiving a grade/credit for it. You might not even need to formally audit courses, most professors will let you informally audit them. But as mentioned by others, research takes priority.


13

Assuming you are getting a PhD: Your advisor is correct. Taking courses is not the purpose of a PhD. A PhD is a research degree, and PhD students should do research. If you want to take courses, you should be enrolled in a course-based degree.


0

TL;DR You're a teacher. This is a great opportunity to teach If you're it sure if someone has been rude to you or not, your best bet is to assume innocence. If you do otherwise, you risk punishing your student for something they didn't intend, and that would make you the bad guy. At ths same time, you rightly feel that this isn't something you should ignore. ...


2

An alternative interpretation Another consideration is that the use of caps is being used for another purpose. In gaming discussion groups, for example, capitalisation of individual words (like 'CODES') or a specific sentence can be used for emphasis or to draw attention to a specific word, especially when there is no formatting (like bold) or an absence of ...


2

To add to what everyone said, be aware that such students could be troublemakers in a wider sense. Such as rallying other students to disrespect you/expect immediate responses/etc, and reflect badly on you in the course evaluation. To protect yourself: be helpful do not engage in any heated exchanges respond timely and politely to all emails (next workday ...


4

From the quotes you provided, it seems possible that the student may have been using all-caps for emphasis, as opposed to 'shouting.' She may also come from a culture where all-caps words are not considered shouting. If she is normally calm and respectful in class, I'd give her the benefit of the doubt; however, I would also advise her that many people ...


48

Very weak students are likely to have a comorbidity of poor language skills (possibly just starting to learn English as a second language), poor computer and keyboard literacy (e.g., not even having awareness or control over case-sensitivity), and poor email etiquette knowledge. These students are likely to face a cascade of system failures, not being able ...


3

Was she disrespectful in her emails? Is it acceptable to send an email in all caps? Am I wrong to deal with this point? Writing in all caps is not proper etiquette, and shouldn't be considered "acceptable". At the same time, your student seems to have little to no idea. So I would ignore the issue and consider that computers are challenging for ...


18

"you try to challenge me" When people are stressed, they sometimes revert to phrases used by their parents. "you try to challenge me" sounds exactly like what a parent would say to an unruly teenager. I suggest you reply with instruction rather than censure. You could say for example: "One of the purposes of higher education is for ...


98

For a one-off or short-term rudeness, my policy is to respond with pure facts, served chilled. If you have a good instinct for delivering comebacks at just the right level, a hint (but just a hint) of sarcasm might work wonders. Manners are important, but it's not our job to teach the students manners - and they are rarely grateful for it, especially those ...


11

In your syllabus, write down the times when you are available to answer questions. If you accept questions by email rather than during office hours (reasonable during lockdown), also explain how long it usually takes before the students can expect an answer. If students have multiple questions, advise them to schedule a videoconference or phone call so they ...


21

Does...the student...show disrespect? Maybe. Does using a full sentence with capital letter acceptable as a normal communication? All-caps emails aren't normal. Am I wrong to deal with this point? You needn't deal with this, just let it go. If the student repeats this behaviour, then you might want to take it further. (You needn't respond to student ...


85

No, "shouting" in an email isn't "normal". And, yes, it might imply disrespect. But I think that, given everything else you say, it is more likely that it indicates extreme PANIC on the part of the student (sorry for shouting there). But fear can cause people to act badly. Don't overreact without more evidence.


1

If I was considering hiring you, I would want to know more about why you were let go from 4 positions in 2 years. You said in the question that it wasn't for you. In my opinion a sign of professionalism is being able to do work, even if you are not intrinsically motivated to do it.


-1

Permanent academic jobs almost always involve teaching and managerial tasks as significant components, whereas postdoc jobs can be almost entirely research-focused. Hence, if you like research better than teaching or management, that could be a valid reason to apply for a postdoc job rather than a permanent academic job at any stage of your career. (...


5

I think the answer you have now isn't so bad. But you could be painting yourself in better light. Rather than saying jobs in academia in the pay range and stability you aspired to were too competitive, say you preferred the higher pay and stability you could access in industry. It's the same sentiment but doesn't point to you somehow failing. Many good ...


15

In a famous literary feud, William Faulkner allegedly said of Ernst Hemingway's writing that it has never been known to send the reader to the dictionary Hemingway's response pretty much sums it up: Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older ...


8

I will preface this with confirming that I am a native speaker of English. I would say the first two cases given by your co-authors should be corrected though (as many others have pointed out) in the third example the correction is wrong (though I also think it could be written better, and shouldn't have had with). My feeling is that what you want to do is ...


24

I'm adding an answer for the purpose of voting, because I completely disagree with the (currently 8) answers and highly-upvoted comments to this question. None of the examples that the OP gave are uncommon or exotic words, to a well-read and reasonably-literate English speaker. To me, they were all entirely transparent. If you put them in a list of random ...


14

It is not necessary to keep a language in your papers sound like manuals, but at least it should not be confusing and overwhelmingly long. The language should be balanced between boring and flowery. Especially for people who read your paper to learn something new it is important that things are clear and precise. Stick to words you define, do not use ...


29

We are working in a North American university. However, some of my colleagues are non-native speakers (who have stayed here for something like 20 plus years). I wonder if this phenomenon is more wide spread or it is just happening to me. No, I would ask you the same thing. When you write a paper, you want to write it for an international audience to ...


8

Aside from what everybody else has said, I think it's worth noting that you're not prominent in your field (yet). Prominent people have more leeway than newbies. This is unfair, but it's the way it is. So yes: write as simply as you can, without losing the complexity of the points you're making.


13

The main objective of scientific writing is (or, at least, is supposed to be) to communicate the results, proofs, and general thought process in the clearest way possible. By itself, using a rare or not very well-known word is not a crime and it may make sense, for example, when it has precisely the meaning you intend to convey while more common words can ...


167

There's nothing wrong with long words. The real issue with your writing is that it is redundant. "these related works are germane to our present discussion." In this sentence, "germane" just stands for "related", so you're effectively saying "these related works are related". Here you are using the English cliche of ...


66

The rule is: Never use an uncommon word where a common word can do the job just as well. This is to make it easier to read your work. You said My intention is merely for the writing to be conversational However, "Germane," "Scenario," and "Diametrically" are not words used in conversation. Words like these will immediately ...


38

Yeah, I've had this before. My PhD supervisor* removed several of my perfectly fine English words with simpler ones. I still have the svn commit message saying, basically: "removing difficult words, but I'll allow 'aberrant'. I've learned something today :)". In hindsight, I am not convinced that my supervisor was wrong. While my words were ...


7

A personal statement is a story/pitch that describes/sells your suitability for a position. Your historic phobia of animals might be a starting point for your story. Overcoming that phobia showcases part of your personality. Do you think its a good idea to include that I overcame my phobia by myself? I don't think overcoming your phobia is the key message, ...


15

It is a judgement call. On the one hand, if you are sure it is no longer relevant, then mentioning it could be a problem since some would doubt you are cured, I think. On the other hand, it shows personal growth. Congratulations. But having grown as a person may not be as relevant to future research as you think. At least in the minds of others. On balance, ...


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