244

I usually get assigned to teach ____________ (e.g. introductory biology classes), but actually, most of my work at the university involves research in the area of ____________.


140

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 asked that, based on their behavior, I could not honestly give a favorable recommendation. But that ship has sailed.) But what you haven't agreed to yet, I hope, ...


137

What's wrong with a sensible answer: "No, I teach Chemistry."


118

Taking a photo is effectively equivalent to taking the question sheet home. For either of these: it’s not inherently a bad thing, and (as your friend said) it can be good for personal study, and so on. However, it can be used for unethical purposes (passing the questions on to students who haven’t taken the exam yet), so the school have prohibited it. ...


114

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 wish I was still a young and carefree student, but, unfortunately, I'm a professor." If you make it appear like you take it as a compliment, people won't feel like ...


103

I would suggest: No, I teach X. But I wonder what makes you think that I would teach African Studies? This answers the question and turns things back on the questioner. Note that, at least logically speaking, it is too soon to jump to conclusions, as there are innocent answers to this question, e.g.: Oh, Karen told me about a friend of hers who ...


93

"It's going well, last week I made some good progress on X. How're things with you?" The vast majority of people are just asking to be polite. If they're actually curious for specifics, they'll follow up with a more specific question. I personally like to have some kind of a cute story about my research because nobody has any idea what pure math people ...


93

I'm a female professor in my late 20s and I'm pretty sure I look even younger than I am. I've been mistaken for a student a bunch of times and it's always been an honest and totally understandable mistake. I'm often assumed to be a grad student; heck, I discovered in front of my mirror three days ago that wearing the school logo T-shirt I somehow acquired is ...


91

It's socially acceptable to do (almost) whatever you want during academic "free time". Ultimately what matters are the results you produce, and as long as you're able to do that most people will not care if you're reading general interest books, drinking coffee, or answering questions on StackExchange. Of course, if you have assigned duties (e.g. teaching ...


88

After your defense, and final submission to the university; you can give the gift, with a thank you note. Right before your defense is a big no, in my opinion.


87

Is there perhaps a cultural element to this situation? I was once in the reverse situation: I was studying mathematics at an Australian university, but my professor was Russian. He marked all students very harshly, and we all lost a lot of marks for not spelling out things that any other lecturer would have accepted as obvious. But if we took our ...


82

The general advice is that when you're an undergraduate student, a graduate student not yet on the job market, or when you're a tenured faculty, you can do whatever the hell you want. The problem is that you are vulnerable when you're in the position to be hired, promoted, tenured, or retained. In those cases, having just one conservative person on the ...


82

I disagree with the premise of your question. “Publishing superseding results” is basically the same as what’s known as “publishing”, since all papers build and improve on the existing literature in some way and push some older work slightly toward obsolescence or irrelevance. The extra twist in your situation that you are improving on unpublished work is of ...


77

You say, "I'm a professor of Computer Science," or "I'm an Economics professor," or "I'm an English Professor," and see where the conversation goes. I understand that you desire to clue the person in to the fact that you do many things other than teach, but in a social setting, it's inappropriate. Over cocktails, you won't be able to change the ...


62

If the setting is purely social and not professional, people want to socialize and be entertained. So, you go, "Yup, I teach a couple of software engineering courses, but do you wanna know the best part of being a professor?" There you go. You can now reverse the public perception of all you do is teach (which seems to be your primary issue in your original ...


55

Do PhD students complain more than people in other professions? No. To quote Drew Carey: Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? You know there's a support group for that. It's called everybody. They meet at the bar.


52

Is this a good idea? How do professionals in academia and PhD students organise their notes? Personally, I think this is a great idea. More routes for the sharing of knowledge do good for society as a whole. Often, notes taken by students become the definitive resource for other students. Academics who have extensive material typed up in notes tend to ...


45

Just invite the people you would like to have come. If there are other students, post-docs, faculty, or staff that you are close enough to that you would want to have them at your wedding, then just invite them. There is no established protocol for who you should invite, and no one is likely to be offended if you invite some of your lab-mates but not all ...


44

Focus on their intention, not on their words When thinking about social skills, the original question: oh you are a professor, what do you teach? Should typically not be interpreted literally. If this is asked shortly after meeting someone and telling them that you are a professor, it can be interpreted like so: Oh you are a professor, that sounds ...


41

Is there any explicit advantage I would get by joining the course's Facebook page If you want to interact with your classmates on Facebook before starting the course, then joining the page would enable this. or equivalently, is there any disadvantage of not joining? If you don't feel a need to do the above, then no. There is no reason to expect this to ...


40

This is a very relevant and interesting question. I agree with all answers so far that the problem can only be solved by being (pro)active, perhaps more than many young PhD students are comfortable with. Anyway, what I can add to the discussion is a bit of insight from the "other" side. See, I am Austrian (mother tongue is german), and in my line of ...


40

Use it as a chance to practice your "lay person" elevator research pitch. The more you practice it the better you get. "I started working on ... here is why it is significant ..." Don't answer with how your research is going, talk about your research. Presumably you are interested in it. Convey your excitement. Think about it from the other person's point of ...


40

what questions are best to ask them to keep the conversation going after they have given this spiel when I am a novice in the field? You're overthinking this. Pretend it's a conversation between human beings: do you have a question about what they said? Ask it. Don't you have any question or you find their research topic utterly boring? Change topic of ...


38

Do PhD students complain more than people in other professions? I very much doubt it. See JeffE's summary. There are dozens of memes about complaining - law students, med students, engineering undergrads, administrative staff, IT people...seriously, just about every profession has its memes about how much their jobs are terrible. Why do PhD students ...


38

The big difference here is simply whether the meeting is over or not, i.e. whether it would have to be thrown away or not. If those who are supposed to consume it (for which, as others have pointed out, someone paid) clearly have no intent of doing so (because they left), then I think it is fine to consume it. In fact, in that case, you would even do them ...


38

Edit: note that my original answer below addresses OP’s original version of the question, which has now been edited. To address the current version of the question: yes, it is okay to ask for help, but your motivation should be wanting to get help, not artificially creating feelings of “being appreciated”. If you want to let someone know they are ...


33

This might be a location dependent question, but in NW Europe a bottle of wine is appropriate for such and even lesser events. Many campus shops offer a standardized wine bottle in a gift wrap with the name of the university printed on it. They are the obvious choice, but there is plenty of room for creativity.


33

Don't worry (too much), I think this happens to everybody at some point in their academic life. Your case isn't even particularly egregious, given that the new faculty member just started as an assistant professor, so likely she actually was a grad student not very long ago. I once idly asked a fellow conference attendant who she is working with, and she ...


32

A useful way to think about free food/coffee is to try to determine its purpose. Why did someone spend time and money to provide it? Are you subverting that purpose by taking it? The refreshment might be there to attract people to an event to encourage socialization or attentiveness at an event to create a more welcoming general work environment somewhere ...


31

Getting tenure is a major life event for faculty. So the same rules apply that also apply for questions that revolve around "how is your unborn child doing", "how is your parents' health", "has your spouse recovered from that recent illness": these are kind questions to ask a human, and if the answer is positive, you get all of the credit. But if the answer ...


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