Skip to main content
369 votes

How to handle lecturer who doesn't let me use my phone?

this may sound immature And it is. You're acting as if you have the right to do what you want. You don't! It's a teaching session in a building owned and run by other people and they set the rules ...
StephenG - Help Ukraine's user avatar
284 votes

Lab colleague uses cracked software. Should I report it?

I don't feel that general academic ethics obliges you to report this, unless you have reason to believe that it might be endangering the research of the lab (giving inaccurate results, introducing ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
241 votes
Accepted

Does it violate academic social norm to email someone around midnight?

The good thing (maybe the only good thing) about email is that it's by nature asynchronous. A phone call in the middle of the night is intrusive, because there is an explicit expectation that the ...
xLeitix's user avatar
  • 135k
234 votes
Accepted

Is the phrase "thanks, but no thanks" appropriate in an email sent to a supervisor?

It sounds extremely rude, I am afraid. I would assume mitigating circumstances for a non-native speaker, but the "no thanks" permits "thanks" to be interpreted as substantive, and thus has a highly ...
Captain Emacs's user avatar
231 votes

How to respond to a professor who was insulted by an email detailing mistakes in the exercise?

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 ...
user68408's user avatar
  • 901
216 votes
Accepted

Is it appropriate to email a professor saying you enjoyed their class, after doing well in it?

As my experience of being a TA for multiple courses with various profs, such personal gestures of appreciation are welcomed by the professors. I have actually heard professors refer to the email as ...
Abbas Javan Jafari's user avatar
203 votes
Accepted

Etiquette question: is there such a thing as accepting an offer 'too early'?

Actually, it is simple courtesy to accept as soon as you know you will do so. This helps the institution deal with its obligations to you and others. It isn't a game you play for "advantage". You hope ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 366k
197 votes
Accepted

Stating surprise about another researcher in my talk

Talk about the work. Stick to the facts. Clearly and bluntly stating the limitations of a result is fine, but criticism of a researcher during a research talk is completely inappropriate. Your ...
JeffE's user avatar
  • 98.8k
192 votes

Female students coming to office hours in overly revealing clothing

Does your institution have a student dress code? Does your location have public indecency laws? If their clothing violates either, refuse meetings until the problem is corrected. Otherwise, ignore ...
Anko's user avatar
  • 2,111
190 votes

May a man attend a workshop entitled “Young women in [domain]”?

"We encourage all participants - male and female" There is no need to look into it further than that. They encourage you to come and you want to go. I don't see any reason why you wouldn't want to ...
everyone's user avatar
  • 1,744
186 votes

Lab colleague uses cracked software. Should I report it?

I would stay away from his "personal laptop" in the future and avoid peeking at other people's "very personal" screens. It is not your job to report this. And you should not be looking at other people'...
user18244's user avatar
  • 5,796
176 votes
Accepted

How to react to a student proselytising during office hours?

You address this by stating directly "I would prefer not to discuss this topic during office hours. Can I help you with any questions you have on the homework?" If the issue persists, I would ...
Vladhagen's user avatar
  • 18.9k
174 votes

Should a young professor avoid using dating apps?

Professors both young and old are known to use dating apps. So do students, doctors, engineers, lawyers, dental hygienists, and any other kind of person. In other words, there is nothing about being a ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 191k
169 votes
Accepted

Why did I receive a negative response from a professor when emailing about course content and prerequisites of a course I am considering taking?

There is nothing inappropriate (that anyone can see here) in the way that you've written your email. The response from the professor suggests that they're some combination of (a) incredibly time-...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
166 votes
Accepted

Using nonstandard gender-neutral pronouns to refer to myself in academic writing

It's your decision what to write, but to my mind, adding a note trying to explain your preferred pronouns seems like it puts the emphasis on something which you probably don't want to make the focus. ...
Ben Webster's user avatar
  • 21.9k
155 votes
Accepted

Female students coming to office hours in overly revealing clothing

In short, how can I tell these girls, politely, that they should think twice about showing up half naked to meetings with faculty members? I can think of 4 situations: If they are violating a ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 104k
154 votes
Accepted

Advisor threatening to pull his name from accepted paper that I submitted without his knowledge

You are wrong for putting the name of someone on a paper and submitting it without asking them for permission. Having them as an author communicates to the world that they approved the content and ...
Bill Barth's user avatar
  • 48.8k
149 votes
Accepted

Accidentally addressed lecturer as Mrs instead of Ms

I have heard from women (in mathematics departments, in the US) that they prefer not to be addressed as Ms or Mrs. The issue is that some students address their male professors as "Dr." or "...
Anonymous's user avatar
  • 26.2k
148 votes

How to politely decline the university medal?

The problem is as @WetlabWalter says: the medal is not just for you - it is for everybody that supported you and, in fact, indirectly for your class, and lecturers. You have a good reason (for ...
Captain Emacs's user avatar
146 votes
Accepted

Is it appropriate for professors to use the f*** word during lectures?

You're in a place where swearing, especially when not directed at another person or used as abuse/slur/bullying/etc, just isn't that big of a deal among adults, so I do think this is mostly a cultural ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 118k
141 votes

How to politely decline the university medal?

Get over yourself. This isn't about you. And this isn't really even about your work. This is about a community celebrating its own values, by recognizing the individuals that best represent those ...
JeffE's user avatar
  • 98.8k
141 votes

Difficult student would dispute every grade in the course and now wants letter of recommendation

It sounds like you've agreed to write a letter so I think you are committed unless the student releases you from your commitment. (Personally, I'd have said no in the first place and explained if ...
Nicole Hamilton's user avatar
137 votes

One of my postdocs elegantly solved a problem another postdoc had been working on for years. I have no idea how to navigate this delicate situation

This is a tough one. I am a pure mathematician. Early in my career I was in a situation akin to the one of Postdoc B. (Except I was still a master student and the person in the role the postdoc A ...
Moishe Kohan's user avatar
  • 5,052
135 votes
Accepted

I insulted a professor by using an anti-Semitic slur in a department seminar. How bad is this?

That is very bad. Not because of how anti-Semitism is viewed in the west, or because this person is a professor, but because that is a disrespectful thing to say to anyone. From the career side (which,...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 8,690
131 votes

Would it be rude to ask a famous professor who doesn't know me personally for a recommendation letter if I have published in a high ranking journal?

The benefit of recommendation letters is that they give insight into abilities that are not reflected in the rest of your application. Your grades and your publication are already in your application. ...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
131 votes

May a man attend a workshop entitled “Young women in [domain]”?

Yes, you are definitely welcome to attend. Looking at previous workshops in the "Young Women in..." series, you can see from the photos that some of the participants appear to be male.
emma's user avatar
  • 1,371
130 votes
Accepted

Using rage faces in presentation

TL;DR: If in doubt, leave it out. In talks, avoid anything that can offend or be misunderstood, especially if you do not know your audience. It is ok to make self-deprecating jokes, but you want to ...
Captain Emacs's user avatar
126 votes

I'm 2 months into my PhD. When can I ask my supervisor about the rejected candidates?

You can ask, but it's really none of your business. Admissions committee deliberations are generally treated as confidential. Asking about the other candidates and why they were rejected will almost ...
Nicole Hamilton's user avatar
125 votes

I'm a professor being mistaken for a grad student, how to handle this?

I would take it as a compliment to be mistaken for being younger. And, even if you don't actually feel complimented, that's a good way to respond. For example, you could laugh and say "Thanks. I ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 18.3k

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