Hot answers tagged

207 votes

Why do students go for a PhD even when chances of getting academic jobs on its completion are slim?

The issue is that the frame of your question is wrong. You’re assuming that the purpose of a PhD is to get an academic job, when that is not the case: Many people who get PhD’s have no desire for an ...
user avatar
  • 171k
197 votes
Accepted

Gender transition as a starting faculty member: a terrible idea?

How infeasible is transitioning as an early-career faculty member? I transitioned as a postdoc back in 2013, so I did it. Whether or not it's a terrible idea depends on many factors, and just plain ...
user avatar
161 votes
Accepted

Why do students go for a PhD even when chances of getting academic jobs on its completion are slim?

Some of my observations: They don't know what they're going into. Most PhD students have some idea of how hard it is to get a job afterwards, but don't actually know. It's similar to how one can ...
user avatar
  • 102k
129 votes

Is it considered normal to publish job offers inviting candidates to apply based on their gender and/or race in academia?

These statements, in many variations are quite common. But they are not discriminatory, as you suggest (universities do not "discriminate against white males"). All the statement is saying -- and that ...
user avatar
128 votes

A social experiment. What is the worst that can happen?

I like to think I have a pretty vivid imagination, so the worst thing I can reasonably imagine happening is that you would be seen as trying to perform an experiment with human participants without ...
user avatar
  • 21k
126 votes

Why do students go for a PhD even when chances of getting academic jobs on its completion are slim?

Because it's fun! No, really. I went to do a PhD because I thought it was fun. It allowed me to live in an awesome location, travel around the world to conferences and summer schools, to spend ...
user avatar
  • 40.3k
111 votes

Being overqualified as a barrier for getting a job

When they say you are overqualified, it probably means: They are afraid that someone with a Ph. D. will demand a higher salary than they can afford to pay; They are afraid that you will get bored ...
user avatar
  • 4,527
95 votes

Typical experiences of transgender people in academia?

(Original answer March 2015) I guess it's time to answer my own question. Not long after posting the original question I began living exclusively as a woman (barring some short family-related ...
user avatar
90 votes
Accepted

Is it okay to refuse a laptop from a new university if you already have your own personal laptop?

It surely matters where you are. In the U.S., at many universities, "privileged information" of various sorts is supposedly not ever to be kept on "personal", as opposed to "institution-owned and ...
user avatar
  • 80.2k
86 votes

Stay in academia or become professor without overworking, is it possible?

This is a bit opinion-based, but I'll offer my own personal take on an answer in the hopes that it might be useful; at least parts of what I wrote below seem pretty generally applicable to me. Is ...
user avatar
  • 168k
79 votes

What is the point of being the head of the department?

I can't speak for the work environments at other schools, but where I teach, the department chair gets an nicer office, a reduced teaching assignment, and extra pay, in addition to some political and ...
user avatar
  • 5,028
75 votes

A PI gave me 2 days to accept his offer after I mentioned I still have another interview. Is this normal?

In negotiation theory, such a tactic is known as an exploding offer, and its adverse effects are well-known: rushing people into hasty decisions and giving them the feeling that they're disposable can ...
user avatar
67 votes
Accepted

Getting married abroad on August 21st, job begins on August 23rd. What do I do?

The best way to handle a situation like this is to get in touch with your Head of Department / Director of Teaching in advance (perhaps, after you receive a formal offer) and discuss your situation. ...
user avatar
62 votes

Is it considered normal to publish job offers inviting candidates to apply based on their gender and/or race in academia?

You have asked three very distinct questions (one in the title of the question and two in the body). I have done my best to answer them in the most factual and literal way possible. Disclaimer: I am ...
user avatar
  • 168k
62 votes

Why do students go for a PhD even when chances of getting academic jobs on its completion are slim?

A personal anecdote. Your mileage may vary. For me, entering the PhD program meant: Stay in the same city as my girlfriend Continue the sport I loved, with my team Sufficient funding to become ...
user avatar
  • 3,712
61 votes

Are athletes' college degrees discounted by employers and graduate school admissions?

"College athletes" is much too broad a brush. The kind of double-standard you're referring to is mostly focused on a much smaller group of men's basketball and football players at Division I schools. ...
user avatar
  • 30.2k
56 votes

Is it okay to refuse a laptop from a new university if you already have your own personal laptop?

First, I would strongly suggest that you have a work computer and a personal computer, and then keep those two separate for legal reasons. Although this is not the place for legal advice, and there ...
user avatar
  • 7,619
50 votes
Accepted

What's the shortest "acceptable" postdoc length?

If you know that you are not interested in staying in academia, the common advice is indeed to go on the industrial job market as soon as possible. Every month you stay in a lowly-paid postdoc, if ...
user avatar
  • 126k
49 votes

Negotiating 1-year delay to my Assistant Professor Offer

Well, as a department head, I would be slightly annoyed that (i) you applied for a position you knew you couldn't take, and (ii) you didn't mention this earlier. But it is what it is: You have no ...
user avatar
48 votes

Gender transition as a starting faculty member: a terrible idea?

Rebecca Stones has already given a great answer that got my upvote. But allow me to offer some personal perspective based on my experience here in US. I transitioned about 20 years ago. The world ...
user avatar
46 votes

PhD student who wants to stay for a tenure position

The vast majority of people after they finish a PhD do go somewhere else for postdocs or tenure track positions (assuming one even gets one). Worrying about this now doesn't really make sense. If you ...
user avatar
  • 5,208
45 votes
Accepted

What academic functions does a Professor Emeritus usually serve?

To the best of my understanding, the primary function of a professor switching to emeritus status is that it frees up a faculty slot for a new hire. Emeritus is essentially retirement without giving ...
user avatar
  • 180k
41 votes

How to decline a postdoc offer a few days after accepting it?

Being on the receiving end is very unpleasant, and it will have probably cost them more than just 2-3 days; the bureaucratic arrangement, possibly losing other postdoc candidates, having to go ...
user avatar
40 votes

Why are positions in math so hard to come by nowadays?

The number of tenured/tenure track faculty positions in the US has been on the decline in recent years, partly because of a substantial increase in the amount of teaching done by contingent faculty (...
user avatar
40 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to run two postdocs simultaneously if one of them is "independent"?

It is hard to predict what is "possible". Your contract(s) and policies may stipulate expectations. But to be safe, I would suggest, only do this with everyone's knowledge and permission. I ...
user avatar
  • 258k
38 votes
Accepted

Why do research faculty pursue administrative positions, such as dean, provost, president, etc. ? Do such positions spell the end of one's research?

In these positions, one gets to influence the direction of the whole university, rather than the direction of the research of 1 to n individuals. At such magnitude, one can effect more change. Often ...
user avatar
  • 31.4k
38 votes

PhD in mathematics, science communication jobs

A PhD is only "wasted" if you believe it is wasted. If you enjoyed your research, and it's helping you to engage in a long-term career you enjoy, why would it be wasted? However, there is a very ...
user avatar
  • 171k
38 votes

Stay in academia or become professor without overworking, is it possible?

While Dan Romik's answer applies to lots of people in academia, there are also the "others". I do know concrete examples of successful scientists that regularly work 9-5 (or similar). This is possible,...
user avatar
38 votes

Synonym for the job title of assistant professor

I think you should just introduce yourself as I work as a professor at the University of X. omitting the assistant rank that can cause misunderstandings. The following conversation line feels ...
user avatar

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