231

To me, this is such a non-issue that it doesn't warrant much of a response. So let me add a response :) I didn't mean to imply carelessness, and I am sorry if that's how my email came across. I was a bit overzealous in my email. I will address the errors in the skeleton program in my solution, as you have indicated. Thank you for your detailed response! ...


133

At every (US) institution I've attended or worked at, there's been an official school-wide policy that students are expected to check their school email regularly, and that sending official communications there constitutes sufficient notification. So check your school's policies; if you have such a policy, then it's certainly appropriate to remind students ...


116

A 5-paragraph email with citations for a possible mistake in an undergraduate exercise sounds, if anything, patronizing. Apologize and move on.


116

I think that your plan is based on number of possibly wrong premises. And even if they were mostly right, I doubt such a plan could have any reasonable success. Let's see my reasons. I just had a lecture from someone who has been a senior scientist (and has completed a PhD, post-doc) at a hospital for already 15 years.So I'm assuming this person is ...


113

How could I tell him to upgrade my grade and explain to him that I really deserve it and that I really need to have (19/20) so I can pass my semester? Don't tell him how to fix the error, and don't open with this being a make-or-break for passing your semester. This will probably put him on the defensive, and make him less likely to be sympathetic. In fact, ...


105

Beyond a certain point in their careers, academics (in particular tenured professors) are essentially a subspecies of managers. And managers literally receive hundreds of emails per day. Some of these indeed require a more formal response, or a lot of work before you can even compose an answer. If you get 20 emails that each require half an hour of work, 50 ...


104

My sense is that the vast majority would not notice one way or another but that some potential advisors might and would find it intrusive and and inappropriate. In many other cases, (like myself) professors use text-based email clients or systems that that block this kind of tracking. In these cases, folks won't think you're rude but you still won't know if ...


103

More years ago than I care to remember, I changed departments and started working for a new manager (NM). At the same time, another person (AP) also joined the department. My new manager put a weekly meeting on our calendars for the three of us. We would go into the meeting, and NM would start asking us what seemed to me to be really simple questions - what ...


102

As an instructor, the best you can do is to offer your condolences and tell him to just ask you if he needs anything. For example, you could offer an extension on assignments. If he needs some time off from lectures, maybe a classmate who takes good lecture notes will agree to make a photocopy, or you could get the lectures to be recorded for him. Your ...


101

Yes, it is appropriate to ask the questioner to repeat the question, prefaced by: "I'm sorry but I didn't understand the question. Can you repeat it or rephrase it?" If you still don't understand it, you might ask someone else in the audience to restate it or rephrase it. Some people at academic conferences are not good at asking clear, direct ...


99

If your colleagues in the department—presumably also PhD students—don't understand the concept, either, it doesn't strike me that the question is truly "basic." That said, if your advisor is aware of your background, then he should know that there will be some things that might not be "obvious" to you. Now, in this case, you have already "done your ...


99

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 ...


97

Is hello acceptable, or should it be more formal (with or without academic titles)? This is a matter of (sub-)culture. Once you know what to expect, you can effectively communicate. This style is minimalist, but it tells you everything you need to know. If this bothers you, think of it this way: MK is not only saving their time, but they are also saving ...


95

Instead of a question that might be insulting, you should probably ask them what they've been working on for the past few years. You need to know that in any case and their answer might give you the reason that they haven't got anything out recently. There may be a lot of work in progress but not yet ready. That sort of thing can actually be an advantage to ...


94

Hierarchy beats Gender in Germany In a professional context in Germany, hierarchy beats gender, at least according to the Knigge, which is an etiquette guide of nontrivial influence. This goes as far as to be gender-blind. Only rank is important. So you would address the highest ranking person first, in this case, your professor.


93

This is unethical and unprofessional. It is simply none of your business. You are not in a position to evaluate the student. Writing to his supervisor will make you look bad. It is an insult to his supervisor. The Ph.D. degree can not be awarded to someone incompetent. If this happens, it is going to be shown sooner or later. Let future employers and ...


85

Go talk to the Dean prior to the meeting, and resist the urge to "reply all" to any mail that might be even remotely contentious. Email and text messages are good for exchanging facts, such as the time of the meeting. They are much less good for dealing with disagreement or even potential disagreement.


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.


78

Keep it short and sweet: Dear [her name], Thanks for the reminder about our project. I thought about it some more, and for personal reasons I won’t be able to continue with the work. Since you have all the data I suggest that you pursue publication by yourself or with other collaborators. And, if it matters, I do not care very much about the issue of ...


77

From my perspective of working in multiple European universities in different countries: In a "closed" conversation setting, it will exclusively depend on the people involved in the conversation. The prime requirement is to use a language that every participant understands and speaks. A secondary concern is to use a language that people are ...


76

Given the reluctance of anyone else to communicate with Prof A, it seems less a case of you not knowing the secret handshake to get in touch with him, but more a case of Prof A simply not communicating. It is unlikely that anyone (including the dean) can make him communicate in a reasonable way. What you need to do is to make sure that the path-of-least-...


75

My advisor sent me an e-mail that he thinks that I should be more modest and that we should meet more often. Your prompt answer: Sounds good! Nothing is gained by getting defensive. (Do you know what meeting rhythm your advisor has in mind? What often works well is a standing, weekly meeting. If you have no progress to report, that's okay -- it can ...


75

By all means ask. A person who goes through the trouble of writing up lecture notes, is almost certainly a person who would be happy to answer. As someone who receives a lot of questions from PhD students myself, here are a couple of pointers for how to phrase your question. This could be obvious to you, but I know for sure that it is not obvious for ...


74

It sounds like someone is after your space. You need to be prepared to defend your space during the meeting. It sounds like the Dean is not really on your side. I would call up the other professor to see if you can get a better feel for who is attacking you and what is being attacked. I would also potentially call the head of facilities, although I would do ...


72

Back when this was something I had to deal with, I would: Always have something to do if someone doesn't show up for their appointment, or if their question gets resolved very quickly. Write brief emails to no-shows along the lines of Dear X: I'm following up on our appointment today at 14:00. I hope everything is OK with you. Let me know if your question ...


71

He may be competing with your supervisor. He may not like your general topic. He may not like you. Or, he really believes what he says. Or he wants to test you. You don't know. You have to live with people who confuse what's going on with prejudice- or agenda-coloured "truth". Practically all successful researchers have encountered such put-downs. ...


71

Professors are people too. There are generally no magic words or special formulas for talking to professors. That said, it is understandable that people often feel very nervous in communicating with professors because how the professor responds can sometimes have a big impact on your future. Here are some ideas about what works well. Make your ...


69

I'll assume you already have language that indicates your support. Don't give up on that. But, ask him for two things. First, that he only asks for feedback once a week (or whatever you are comfortable with) and add a report on changes and why they were made. Second, ask him to specify in the report things he is unsure about and to detail why he is unsure. ...


67

As a prerequisite you would need to take care of your own funding to cover the costs of your entire PhD project (4 years, cost of living, housing etc.). If you have such funds I would be happy to discuss with you the possibilities. This is the professor's polite way of saying, "We do not have funding to support you as a student. If you obtain your own ...


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