If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.

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186

This sounds like a clear-cut case of a violation of academic ethics to me - if he’s willing to steal work from you, how could anyone trust anything he’s ever published? I’d strongly consider going to talk with the head of your faculty, school, or department, depending on how your university’s hierarchy is structured, so that the university can begin academic ...


141

As an outsider this seems ridiculous. I think a quick email to the chair of the department saying that you have an advisee who is worried about BIO302 (or whatever the number is) and the running component. It seems reasonable to ask if that is actually a requirement (which it clearly is, but the department chair may not know it) and if it is, what course ...


128

As someone who's been out of academia for a while, I would like to offer a different perspective. Yes, occupying your co-advisor's attention when the roof is on fire is tone-deaf. However: you have acquired skills that are obviously in high demand these days, and are thrown into a (hopefully) once-in-a lifetime situation to apply these skills. Especially ...


109

Unless you have some direct relationship with his father, this is not something we'd normally do in US, UK, or Australian culture. (I'm not sure if it's the same everywhere in the EU.) A polite option might be to tell your advisor something like "I'm very sorry to hear about your father, please let me know if there is anything I can do." If your advisor is ...


106

If the class is about microbiology, the students’ grade should depend on their knowledge of microbiology, and only on that. (Edit: to clarify, “knowledge” covers things like lab skills and other things that have a connection to microbiology but aren’t strictly theoretical in nature. But not running. Definitely not running.) I’ll assume based on OP’s ...


101

I wanted to ask whether his refusal for recommendation letters is reasonable My personal opinion is that if you worked in his lab for a year (satisfactorily), it is unreasonable to refuse a letter. All the more so if you had other good interactions (TAing, etc.) with him. and also ask for some advice on how to handle this situation! Unfortunately, my ...


101

It seems like you have to have a conversation with your adviser. There is certainly nothing wrong with your approach: You read through code on which you have knowledge and something to say; you then were proactive and wanted to fix the issue; all of these are commendable. If you happen to have been mistaken, well, that happens -- but then that's what patch ...


96

I wrote him mails on a weekly basis asking for a status update and inquiring whether he was stuck. It seems that you are completing your duties as an advisor well. You can and should continue to offer help and suggestions in accordance with your duties. Perhaps this student is too busy or too anxious to respond to your emails. In that case, you could ...


84

There needs to be a little bit of context in this situation... Incoming Masters and PhD students often come in thinking that they are going to write one draft of a paper and submit it. The thinking is that writing a scientific paper is no different than writing a paper for one of their previous class assignments, and that they did well on all of those, so ...


82

Yes you are. Point 4 is downright abuse of power. You are not in any way obliged to provide free tuition to your advisor’s child! If your institution has reasonable management, you reporting this would result in severe disciplinary action (I think I would have my tenure clock pushed and have something on my record for something like this). Even if you were ...


78

I had a similar shock when I started my PhD. I am a native English speaker and a language geek to boot. My father is a professional editor and I grew up playing language games and helping him edit texts, and I consider myself a pretty good editor too. Despite all this, when I wrote my first paper as a young PhD student and sent it off to my Catalan/Spanish-...


77

If your advisor is suggesting that you quit, it is likely that you will have a hard time carrying on with the same advisor. You maybe need to have a discussion with them about why your performance was bad, and why you needed a break. As it currently stands, it sounds like you had one year in the program without any progress, and then another year where you ...


75

If I were you, feeling uneasy about your previous conversation, I'd stop by during your professor's office hours rather than sending an email to express your concern. It's more personal. Pick a time when he appears free. Tell him you've been feeling bad that you may have given him the wrong impression, that you want to make clear that you really like the ...


72

The student's health status or physique is not of consideration here. If the situation is as the student described, the prof's behavior is simply untenable -- if for no other reason than 25% of contact hours being spent on nonsense. Every student in the class should be incensed. The TAs should be upset that they're spending their time this way. The ...


71

Having a broad set of interests and knowledge is fine, and can lead to some 'outside of the box' solutions. Yes, you will find periods where anything else is more interesting than your PhD work, irrespective of how interesting your PhD work actually is. You'll find that as you come closer to the end of your PhD, your concentration on the problem at hand will ...


68

These days I see myself as useless and miserable person that just works more than 12 hours per day and the other 12 hours that I suppose to rest or sleep still I'm thinking about my research but I'm not happy, I don't have any friends, I'm depressed, I'm nervous, I'm stressful, etc. So, yeah I'm angry that people hates me if even I tell them the truth. It ...


67

This is a really hard problem that is hard to give advice for. If the advice is bad, you will suffer, not the person giving the advice. You know the personalities better than we do. But, as an outsider, it seems like you are being abused. You are giving, but getting little in return at this point. Fighting with an advisor is seldom a wise choice. But ...


67

I would like to add my perspective as a supervisor having a PhD student suffering from a depression. She has been absent for about two years now and not yet returned. Neither me nor she herself have anticipated that it would take so long. The year might have been a surprise for your supervisor, too. I have been supportive over all this time and will keep ...


64

As an advisor, I regularly use my students’ slides when I present my current projects. This is usually done within the context of high level presentations: I’m working on important project X; Alice and I worked on X.a which resulted in such and such, and with Bob on X.b which resulted in so and so. Claire and I are working with Alice to extend to X.c. If ...


58

China does not have a good history of enforcing IP rules. This is a widely-covered topic (Stanford legal blog summary, CNBC study, google search on the topic). This topic has been a focus in recent international politics, as IP has been a non-insignificant focus in larger trade talks. While President Xi has claimed that he's cracking down, things still aren'...


58

Unless your field has a very high publication rate or your publications so far are mostly part of bigger collaborations (neither of which seems to be the case), you seem more than ready to defend your PhD. And this is what I recommend to do: Finish your PhD as soon as possible without getting into disputes with your advisor. You seem to overly value your ...


57

I would just reply that you thank him for his interest but that it isn't possible to work together at this time. But suggest that you would be honored/happy to stay in contact for the future if your fields of interest intersect. Over the long run you want to build up a set of contacts like this and you have an opportunity to start it. He might be a future ...


55

Be forthright with the student about what they are facing. Explain the various contingencies. They may be unaware or ill-informed. You could ask them which path they would prefer you to take... True, they may not be the best judges of their own best interests, or may not be able to act, but you can ask. In particular, probably you indeed should not share ...


51

This doesn’t answer your explicit question, but have you considered sending an email to the conference organizers asking for your poster to be reassigned to a different part of the poster presentation area so that it’s not right next to the former adviser’s poster? This could go a long way towards minimizing the possibility of trouble, and will probably make ...


48

If it isn't going to damage the relationship with your advisor too much, you should submit your complete thesis. The arguments you provided from your advisor are pretty weak, and I'm quite sure that 130 pages isn't particularly long. Your arguments to keeping the length are compelling (strength of ideas, likelihood of appeasing difficult thesis committee ...


47

Surely these are precisely the sorts of things that your advisor envisaged buying when they offered to get "items to make you more productive or happy working at home"? A decent monitor (and keyboard, and mouse) for your laptop are fairly essential if you're going to be using it all day every day for the next N months. A tablet is perhaps a bit more of a ...


46

We cannot say if they are reasonable. We only know the details you provide and, moreover, we are not judges. But this is the wrong question. Why should it matter for you if we say the prof is reasonable or not? There are many unreasonable people in the world. Among those there are professors, students, astronauts, beggars, social workers, farmers,.. with ...


45

Obviously, as other answers indicate, yes, your supervisor is exploiting you - plain and simple. But here's a suggestion regarding what you should do about it: Collect evidence on how you've been exploited/abused: Emails Letters Written documents indicating what you are required to do, but also what you're doing (e.g. if your supervisor's daughter writes ...


45

Would it be selfish for me to ask my advisor to fund me to get a monitor and tablet, those things? Not at all! It is never selfish to ask, though it might be selfish to insist, and it might likewise be selfish if you did not make it clear that you understand your advisor has the final say in this. It is an odd feeling asking your advisor to pay for things ...


42

In general, I feel the two items you list already (over-)fulfill what justification you strictly speaking owe an advisor on your way out. You lost interest in your research subject, and you are disappointed with the university's managerial practices. I am not sure there is all that much more to say with regards to the first item, and it's not particularly ...


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