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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72

There are really two parts to the Chair's question: How much additional work have you had to do so far? What additional work do you anticipate going forward? Are there any time savings that should also go into the calculation? What is the appropriate renumeration for that work? You should be able to estimate the answer to (1), and explain where the number ...


41

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 ...


32

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 ...


10

Take however much they were paying you monthly and divide that by the hours you actually work. This gives you an hourly wage. Multiply that by however much you need to turn your courses to an online format, and quote that number.


9

It probably depends on the funding source or grant and the cost of the item. Beware that in principle stuff purchased through a grant does not belong to an individual but to the grant organization or to the Uni administering the grant. (Our work computers have a Uni sticker on them and are part of the official institutional inventory.) Thus, you may have ...


7

Turning down a teaching assistant position in your position is probably a very poor idea. The renumeration for working as a TA normally covers both the a stipend and your graduate tuition. If you do not have some other form of support (research assistantship or fellowship), you will have to pay your own way entirely. This is normally financially ...


4

It is fine to ask. Life goes on as best we can manage. The situation is worldwide, of course, and we don't yet see the end of it. In a letter, you could, if you wish, say you are sorry if the request is coming at a bad time and that you understand the global situation. You may not be able to get a reply in time, of course, or at all. But there is no ...


3

Anyways, how bad of an idea is this if it is a bad idea? This is a matter of balancing your own intellectual interests with your career goals. In terms of career goals, not only is it probably not so bad, it's actually probably a good thing; it looks great at this stage and later on if you have experience in multiple areas, as this will increase your ...


3

Not selfish at all, since that's apparently what the advisor wants. I would make a prioritized "wish list" of things that would help you work better, and suggest that everyone else in the group does the same. Then the advisor can see how much of that can be done within budget.


3

If not explicitly forbidden by other stipulations this can indeed be perfectly acceptable and in your interest. However, my recommendation is to tread carefully. For example, doing so might be frowned upon by the department because they need TAs which can lose you significant goodwill. Or your supervisor disapproves because they think you are refusing an ...


2

Many universities would allow staff to take home computer monitors and keyboards to work from home. This would not cost your PI anything. Asking for a tablet may be reasonable, but it depends on how often it is essential for your core tasks.


1

I can't comment so will give full answer here. Regarding tablet, I ordinarily consider it a luxury but we are in different times now. I myself have currently lot of tabs open "to read later" with tutorials and interesting stuff related to work which I intend to read and try to lessen my technical knowledge debt. However, since I don't go out (it really ...


1

This is really a question you should pose to an accountant since there are a fair number of conditions here that affect whether you owe any taxes. Stipends are, generally, not considered wages, in which case you wouldn't pay Social Security or Medicare taxes. However, they are usually considered taxable income, so you would need to pay federal income tax. ...


1

You talk about a lot of work related nonsense, which I agree are difficult situations, but they are by no means unheard of (or even uncommon...) in academia. It seems that your main issue is really a lack of a mental health support structure (be it friends, therapy, etc.), because it sounds like you have had to suffer through a lot of issues both in your ...


1

At this point there are no guarantees. Things could be fine in a year or not. There could be a vaccine or not. Japan could be doing well or not. The pool of applicants could be stronger then or not. Travel may be easier or not. There are just too many variables. Under the circumstances you are probably best advised to continue on with an application until ...


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