114

I think it's reasonable for you not to support these circumstances, but also no need for you to report/escalate the situation to compel some change in behavior. In your place I'd advise your students A) that you cannot help with installation of non-standard copies, and B) you can't be responsible if the non-standard software they use prevents them from ...


82

Advisor-advisee relationships are not just based on scientific fit, but must also be based on a good personal fit. Nobody is obliged to take on a student, or if they can be obliged to, they can't be forced to be a good advisor (thanks, jakebeal). If your peers have learned that your student has made some objectionable and unresolved decisions in their past, ...


61

I think it would be a mistake to miss such a meeting. You will be isolating yourself, adding to the problem. Go there, even if you only listen the first time. Perhaps you have an option to switch offices. Ask. Perhaps there is a coffee room in which people can gather. Go there. Take your work with you in case no one shows up. Introduce yourself when they do. ...


55

The game is: you listen, but then, you decide. Just because students don't like something, you do not have to do what they ask. Check whether what they say has merit, if so, you can promise to change for next year (or for the current if there is enough flexibility). Well-designed courses often cannot be massively adapted on the fly. I always explain to ...


45

Yes, I think you can ask. You don't need to give a reason if things are handled justly. "Personal reasons" should be enough. If the person has harassed you in the past or is known to you to cheat you have adequate reason. And, it might be important to do so if you think that it would affect your performance. You will need to decide whether to give ...


35

Let me translate: I am an adjunct professor at a University for a course where the students have to use a certain software "X" during the course. For your course, Students must use the software. students who apparently have had issues in installing the (legally distributed) student version of X The software provided by you is not working. One ...


31

As the student’s current advisor, you do have some responsibility to help the student find a path forward with their PhD. But that responsibility is not infinite; the student is also responsible for their own decisions and actions, and if they want to continue in the program, it’s their responsibility to make themselves attractive enough that someone else ...


26

I don't know if this is much of an answer, but it's become more than will fit in a comment. If you just joined in Fall 2020, it's not unusual that you haven't made the kind of connections you're looking for yet, especially given the challenges of the pandemic. I'm a PhD student, and I'm sure it's very different for faculty than for students, but I'm not ...


25

Ah mate, I am in the same situation. Moved city to a new place, a new job in Feb 2020. What a time to do so! My colleagues are super nice, but covid just makes everything hard. People are having personal issues, burnout etc, and it makes the friendly "hey let’s get a coffee together" very hard (legally impossible often). Not just logistically, but ...


20

Distractions are a tax on productivity, because you lose much more time than the duration of the distraction. It takes a lot of time and energy to switch between tasks and to regain focus. Apparently, you need on average 25 minutes to regain deep focus after becoming distracted. If you work four hours in the mornings and are distracted four times for five ...


19

I also started a new faculty position during the pandemic, so I know how you feel. There is also not really anyone else at my university working in a similar area. It's very difficult to develop new relationships with colleagues via Zoom, etc. While it isn't a substitute for the casual encounters which help build connections with new colleagues, there are a ...


19

I believe that this is an unusual situation for all involved - for your and your colleagues. Especially with Covid restrictions, lockdown, etc. it was probably difficult for both parties to get to know each other. If your colleagues had already formed a closer peer-group before the pandemic, it is understandable that they have a stronger bond with each other ...


18

If your motivation is now back to the level it was before the pandemic, then it’s a pure sunk cost. That is, you’re returned to exactly the state you were in 18 months ago, so if the plan then was to do your PhD, it should still be the plan now. The number of years you’ve been in are irrelevant. Well, two caveats. (1) the number of years you’ve been in could ...


16

I'm thinking that "reprimand" may be the wrong idea here, and certainly in isn't your responsibility to police their behavior and report them to higher authority. You can, however, remind them of the responsibilities inherent in ethical and safe behavior and recommend that they not cross lines that an honest person wouldn't. I think that is the ...


16

The issue you're experiencing is the problem of context switching. Multitasking can result in a 40% productivity cost, make tasks take 50% longer, and increase errors. After an interruption it can take ~25 minutes to regain focus. (It's hard to find good citations for these numbers, unfortunately.) The solution to your problem is to guard your time. ...


13

Consider talking to the university's legal counsel if it's because of religious (or other legally protected) reasons. If this student is refusing vaccination due to genuine religious beliefs, then I would recommend that you talk to the university's legal counsel to figure out what you can do. Discrimination against someone for their religious beliefs is ...


12

I don't see any problem with asking about safety features of a lab in general, so I don't see any problem with asking about the specific approach to handling the pandemic. Obviously, there is an important distinction between questions about how a person handled the pandemic in their private life (which may be invasive) versus questions about how the ...


11

There is no script for this situation, and in my view the timing is awkward as well. Let's talk about the timing first. At the moment, you are an assistant professor, and for all any other department knows, you have not gotten tenure and there is no guarantee that you will. So, universities at the same rank as your current one will not want to hire you with ...


10

I dont think there is any particular academic practice or advice that can be offered to help you here. Whether or not you take action to report potentially unlawful behaviours (of two very different kinds) is a practical and ethical decision that will involve a lot of factors that are specific to your situation and your personal views. There is certainly ...


10

Sometimes it is hard to enter an established group of people. And I think Covid didn't help, maybe your other group members have to get adjusted to being back at work, and don't really feel like socializing - especially since many of us have had a definite lack of socializing during the last 18 months and might be a bit rusty. As others have already said, ...


10

First, I am amazed that they were able to enter a college in the United States while unvaccinated. I didn't know that there were colleges that did not mandate standard vaccines. I could see not mandating HPV or influenza, but I am amazed the situation exists for things like pertussis. Your ethical obligation is to try; it is not your obligation to succeed. ...


8

My U.S. grad program in math had already been reducing attention to GRE subject test for years, due to its manifest uselessness for predicting success in our grad program. (I've been involved in grad admissions here almost continuously since about 1985, and have been Dir of Grad Studies in math for two stints, so I've really paid a lot of attention to this.) ...


8

There are already many good answers specific to the academic environment. I just thought I'd add my two cents as an expat. I moved to a different country 8 years ago and struggled much with the same issues you describe, though I had the advantage of being a student at the time and not having a global pandemic going on. Coincidentally, this country is rated ...


8

(German here, with some working experience at an Italian university long before covid) First of all, like the other answers say, do attend those meetings! Since your advisor is the one you know best, and since they are your advisor, I'd talk to them about the group taking you along to lunch, and about the possibility to get a place where the group is. (...


8

It is usually, but not always, unethical for an employee to unilaterally decide that a policy of their institution — by any account, a policy reached after considerable debate and consideration — doesn’t apply to them and go against that policy; and it is particularly so when going against the policy means forcing or pressuring students who are subject to ...


8

Talk to your supervisor and make a plan. FIrst of all, let's notice and modify your frame: You didn't do "absolutely nothing"; you did some work every week and wrote a paper. Writing a paper is damn hard and isn't nothing! (For comparison, while I have had some periods during COVID when I was able to be productive, for the last four months I have ...


7

How should I proceed? I am inclined towards reprimanding the students (privately). Note: this is not a question about the ethics of software piracy or of flouting social distancing regulations, but about the proper response to illicit behavior (which I have not personally witnessed) that happens off-campus. The ethics of this behaviour should be a key part ...


7

Loneliness for new faculty is definitely a problem, even in non-pandemic times. Students/Postdocs/reserach fellows often have research groups or cohorts that provide a ready made professional circle that isn't present when you start as a new faculty. To make matters worse, you will often have had to move a new city/country. Are there other new PIs at your ...


7

Your aim is to help educate better, in broad terms. So you need to look at everything in a class, primarily through that lens. What will help students best gain from the course? Is this going to help students become competent at the required material? That sort of thing. What you're doing now, is more "of they want it and it doesn't sound too awful, ...


7

I can't speak for other researchers, but I always have a few different projects going at once, and I sometimes switch between them when I feel like I need a change. I don't really get bored easily, but in times when I feel like I am getting "blocked" and my ideas are not progressing well, I go for a walk. One big advantage of this ---over say, ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible