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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148

You should talk immediately with the International Office (or equivalent) at your university, as well as any student-coordinated offices at your university. This is by no means the first time that they will have dealt with such a situation. Usually there are workarounds available—for instance, you could be extended on a part-time contract for a few months ...


117

I would prefer not get a gift from someone that is dependent on me. I don't want to end up in a situation of perceived (by the person receiving the gift, giving the gift, or by an outsider) bribery. I realize that in many cases it is an innocent show of appreciation, but just saying (or writing) "thank you" will achieve the same goal without the risk of it ...


104

This seems like an X-Y problem. Why is important work data only kept on a computer on your desk, in the first place? I would expect it to be on a Git repository, or on the shared storage space of a workplace server. Once you fix this problem, the issue you mention becomes irrelevant: your data will not be lost if your disk suddenly becomes inaccessible. ...


91

One important thing you need to know about the German Doktorgrad is (alongside other non-academic titles) that its use is restricted by federal law. Adding a Doktortitel to your name in public without being entitled to do so is a punishable offence. This means that you should not trust any answer that you get from the Internet on this topic. Make sure that ...


86

I am going to respond to various parts of your question step by step. For those unfamiliar with German, I am going to add a brief description of the gender-neutrality issue at the end of this answer, because things are quite a bit more complex in German than in English. German universities are very sensitive when it comes to gender-neutral language. Some ...


79

In my opinion, what seems to have gone wrong is that the examination office employees do not have an interest in pursuing this issue. After all, the student having handed in your thesis may sue the university if the thesis gets rejected. After the degree has already been awarded to the student, it is quite difficult to retract the degree. This is probably ...


75

My suggestion is that you talk about all of the reasons you are moving to the other university, as opposed to leaving the current one. These reasons could be to do with relationships (e.g., family) or future opportunities (e.g., a postdoc) or being paid whilst you are currently unpaid. If you have to give a reason why you are leaving your current position, ...


67

You could ask the candidate to provide written consent for the university to verify his degree. If he refuses to allow verification of his CV, then he's probably not someone you want to hire, regardless of whether his doctoral degree is legitimate or not.


62

The behavior of the University does not surprise me. A plagiarised thesis is considered an image damage, so the Univ. is not interested in any investigation. I don't think there is much you can do. If I were you, I would try the following: Write to her supervisor or her professor, tell the about the plagiarism. Maybe they are interested in investigation ...


57

TV-L is the German public servant remuneration grade table (Tarifvertrag für den Öffentlichen Dienst der Länder (TV-L)). It is how civil servants Germany are graded for their salaries and similar conditions for their work. Depending on where your position is, you'll be under TV-L West, or East, or Berlin, or Hessen. Something in your letter might specify ...


55

No way! It puts them in an uncomfortable position, even if they do not (and were not tempted to) accept it. They have the choice of (possibly) upsetting you, considering this a potential influencing attempt, even if not ultimately completed, in some places having to report it. In our place, we have to report all gifts or gift attempts, and hand them to the ...


54

The brushing off you describe looks like you just raised your concerns to the wrong persons in the depths of the administrative system. The German Research Foundation DFG has its own ombudsman committee (also with its own website, however unfortunately only available in German) to investigate academic misconduct. As stated here The Research Ombudsman [.....


54

I am going to (partially) disagree with some of the answers here. I think it really depends on who is asking for your key, and based on what policy. First of, I am more than confused by the many answers here assuring that the university has in general no business accessing information on the computer they provided you - the IT usage policy in all ...


52

(Answer from Germany) Don't do this. Even small personal gifts in this situation are unusual here and may indeed create a "fishy" taste. German professors are public officials and public servants (so also other employees at university) are subject to strict anti-corruption rules. If you get an employment contract as PhD student, you'll also have to sign ...


51

Authors usually don't and cannot sell directly copies of their books, and the price is decided by the publisher. Of course, an author has their draft copy in electronic format, but they might not even have the final electronic version as published. Authors typically receive a few courtesy copies of their books, but they have no access to other copies for ...


51

These all sound to me like usual activities for a PhD student (the "news articles and marketing material" bit sounds a bit odd to me, but that might be more field-dependent). PhD programs are not typically designed only to allow you to do research, they are designed to teach you to do research, and furthermore to train you to be an independent researcher. ...


47

Student assistant positions in Germany are usually open only to students enrolled at a local university (often where the position is offered, but always in Germany). This is for reasons of social insurance and labour regulation. You are not enrolled at a local university. In fact, you are studying outside Europe.


46

Here are some claims that I think you will agree are true: Anyone who attends a conference where all the talks are in English can understand spoken English reasonably well You don't live in Germany and are considering attending. You are probably not the only person considering it Anyone willing to give a technical presentation in English can probably both ...


45

Oddly enough, the most appreciated gift from a student is probably just your thanks delivered personally. Even just a passing conversation in the hall way expressing your appreciation for their help will be remembered. Students are often very appreciative of their professors, but often feel too embarrassed to actually say it. Of course, the prof will be ...


45

The German Ph.D. system is feudal and archaic. Sounds like an opinion. Let's check all points to form an own opinion. At the top is the professor, who, unlike his Anglo Saxon counterparts, can take as many Ph.D. students as he wants. True. But it's more like "as many PhD students as he can pay". 20 to 30 is very common. No. More than 6 is rare in ...


44

I think this is highly field dependent, but in general overdressed is better than underdressed. In fields close to mine (math, computer science) things are quite relaxed, so no one would expect a (skirt) suit (although this would be ok) and nice trousers (usually including jeans) and shirt are most probably ok. Ragged jeans and t-shirt may not always work, ...


44

A lot of us who live in both worlds (I am German and frequently visit there, but live and work in the US), we call colleagues we don't know well by their first name when we meet in the US, and by Professor X when we meet in Germany. In other words, we use the common convention of the place we're in. That's probably a good rule for you to live by as well.


43

Reasons against a disclaimer If not, how can I go about not using gender-neutral language without having it possibly be regarded as sexism or influence my grade? In my opinion, a disclaimer is not going to help you here. Either the people reading your thesis are already fine with the generic masculinum - in which case you don't need a disclaimer - or ...


40

I am aware that this is very annoying to you, but I think you need to understand two things: Treating this as a legal issue is probably a bit of a dead end. Yes, there is a copyright infringement involved, but following through on a copyright case that is, in the global sense of things, very small-scale (the "financial damage" to you is basically zero) is ...


39

Expanding a bit on my comment: To find out the net (and gross) salary for any position at a German university (from administrative assistants up to and including the base salary of a full professor), you can use the online calculator at Öffentlicher Dienst. It's in German only, but not that difficult to navigate. You need to know the following information (...


39

This is most likely a very confusing translation of "zulassungsfrei", as opposed to "zulassungsbeschränkt"; the former meaning that there are no special restrictions placed on who will be admitted, you just need to satisfy the basic requirements for being allowed to enroll. In case of a Master's degree, that would probably be a relevant Bachelor's degree. "...


36

Morally, how would I best act in this situation? The moral thing to do is first of all to recalibrate your somewhat immature (in my opinion) attitude towards this question and stop trying to think about dishonest solutions like giving an incorrect password or undoing the system-wide encryption but hiding encrypted content on your system and not telling ...


35

As Dirk writes, W3 only gives the Grundgehalt (base salary), which varies by state. As a public servant, you will automatically get a few hundred EUR on top if you are married and/or have children (Familienzuschlag). Note also that in some states (Bayern, Hessen, Sachsen), your W2 or W3 Grundgehalt will currently increase in two steps after 5/12 or after 7/...


35

The phrase admission free certainly is an attempt to translate the German zulassungsfrei. Zulassungsfrei means that everyone satisfying the basic requirements can enroll in the course. Sometimes it means that it is not necessary to apply for admission at all, and one can directly move to the enrollment step. However, this varies on a university by ...


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