Skip to main content
136 votes

What is the purpose of women-only meetings, panels, conferences, etc. in academia?

I actually agree with you completely. I think that the women only conference concept is very well intentioned but in practice kind of terrible. I once went to an all girl hackathon and spent 2 1/2 ...
Tam Hartman's user avatar
  • 2,192
92 votes

How can I deal with students that are too sensitive when they are wrong? Particularly when they answer simple questions incorrectly during class?

Like others here have indicated, you can reframe the questions to avoid this, but there's another aspect to consider. It can be really hard to foster an environment where people aren't afraid to speak ...
anjama's user avatar
  • 2,271
79 votes

Is it immoral to advise PhD students in non-industry-relevant topics in middle-lower ranked universities?

While the question in the title is a good one, your post also makes some assumptions, in some cases dubious, which are really worth investigating first: But some research fields have little to no ...
Caleb Stanford's user avatar
78 votes
Accepted

Why are exercises in US university classes graded?

Exercises are graded because if they were not graded, many students would not do them. You are quite correct however in perceiving that this is bad. It creates an unhealthy confusion between formative ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 191k
74 votes
Accepted

Do I have an "anti-research" personality?

Having a broad set of interests and knowledge is fine, and can lead to some 'outside of the box' solutions. Yes, you will find periods where anything else is more interesting than your PhD work, ...
Ingolifs's user avatar
  • 833
70 votes
Accepted

How do you respond to people who say pure mathematics has less value than applied mathematics because "it doesn't have any practical application"?

[Applied mathematician here.] In truth, the argument these people make is not entirely wrong, and I don't think your us-vs-them approach to their them-vs-you argument is very useful. I think an ...
Wolfgang Bangerth's user avatar
54 votes

I'm changing PhD programs, and I got a terrible recomendation letter form my advisor. I found out by accident. What do I do now? I'm shocked

I think you've learned you cannot use this person as a reference. It's unfortunate you learned when you did; there is probably nothing you can do to retract these letters and I'm not sure it benefits ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 120k
53 votes
Accepted

Classroom participation – is there a gender issue?

One part of the difference is not that women are different in their willingness to ask questions, but anyone visibly different is. I was an undergrad in a class of 44. There were 4 women: two of one ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
  • 5,796
46 votes

What is the purpose of women-only meetings, panels, conferences, etc. in academia?

My answer is focused on the sessions that usually occur within a larger conference. The purpose of a successful session is to leave the attendees energized and feeling more confident so that they can ...
Carol's user avatar
  • 1,770
41 votes

What is the purpose of women-only meetings, panels, conferences, etc. in academia?

The vision of the Association for Women in Science focuses on compensation, advancement, discrimination and respect. These are real problems for women in academia. To an extent, conferences for women ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 104k
39 votes

Is it a good practice for teaching assistants to sit in the lectures?

I have seen TAs do this, but generally don't ask my own TAs to do it. As you say, it's a (very) time-consuming way to solve the coordination problem. I personally prefer to just sit with the TAs for a ...
xLeitix's user avatar
  • 136k
38 votes

I am a PhD candidate and I have been offered an internship that I want to take. My advisor objects. Should I take it anyway?

Make a decision. Do you want a PhD or not. If you do, then make that the priority. Such opportunities as the internship will probably come along later. The doctorate would probably be harder to ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
37 votes

What should I do if I hate engineering, but my parents want me to become an engineer?

I hate engineering (too practical, too far from physics) This in an unfortunately common misconception, which can bring nonsense answers like this one on Meta Physics SE, where it is said: If I ...
Massimo Ortolano's user avatar
37 votes

How can I deal with students that are too sensitive when they are wrong? Particularly when they answer simple questions incorrectly during class?

You are asking them to answer a question on the spot. They get flustered, say something stupid, and you don't respond in a very sympathetic way. Then they are upset. Yes, you are right, log(a*b) is ...
Clumsy cat's user avatar
  • 6,936
36 votes
Accepted

How common are self-funded PhDs in the STEM fields in U.S. universities?

From the Survey of Earned Doctorates, a large-scale survey of students who earn doctoral degrees from U.S. institutions, In the life sciences, 9% report "own resources" as primary source of support. ...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
34 votes

How can I deal with students that are too sensitive when they are wrong? Particularly when they answer simple questions incorrectly during class?

Ask yes or no questions. Then ask why. Instead of asking what shape a drawing is, ask the students if it’s a square. Then ask why it’s a square. This lets students know what the right answer is. If ...
sevensevens's user avatar
  • 7,481
29 votes

Is it practically possible to rise to the highest ranks of academia in STEM in the US system after finishing a PhD at 34?

Your chances of "rising to the highest ranks" of academia are small. But no different from anyone else, no matter their age at completion of a doctorate. The bar is the difficulty of doing ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
28 votes

Can it be disadvantageous to actively publish in completely different fields?

I've served as a referee on grant proposals to large public-sector research funding bodies on a couple of occasions. If a PI had demonstrated the ability to achieve peer-reviewed publications in ...
Daniel Hatton's user avatar
28 votes

MSc paper accepted in highest impact journal in my field - what next?

Allow me to comment on this from the perspective of a clinician who does a lot of research. I assume you are a prospective clinician, as well. It seems you published a paper in the Lancet or in NEJM. ...
Dr.M's user avatar
  • 3,753
27 votes

Do I have an "anti-research" personality?

Let me preface my answer by challenging an unwritten assumption of yours: that you have a fixed "personality" which is hampering your potential as a researcher. This simply is false. Nobody is born a ...
user108161's user avatar
23 votes

What is the purpose of women-only meetings, panels, conferences, etc. in academia?

[Warning: Male speaking] If enough people feel the need for such a conference, then there is a need. Since these conferences keep getting held, clearly there is a need for them. Now, in an ideal ...
Stig Hemmer's user avatar
  • 1,693
21 votes

Why are exercises in US university classes graded?

So why is it that homework is often graded in US universities? Or is it not? I simply often get the impression that it is, but don't know for sure. Dan Romik's answer Exercises are graded because if ...
Richard Erickson's user avatar
20 votes

Is it common/ ethically acceptable for PhD advisors to propose and supervise topics on which they lack basic knowledge?

I can't really judge whether the OP's treatment was appropriate or not, but there are situations in which it would be and, in those situations the answer to whether this is "acceptable" ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
20 votes

Is it immoral to advise PhD students in non-industry-relevant topics in middle-lower ranked universities?

A PhD is about learning to do research without supervision. It is not only about mastering a particular niche topic. Indeed, even the students that do become professors are likely to eventually move ...
cag51's user avatar
  • 70k
20 votes

How do I move a research group post-tenure?

Have an excellent professional network. Ask people who know your plans not to talk about them. Identify the tiny portion of universities who are wealthy enough to "buy" your research group. ...
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
20 votes

Are decision making processes for a tenure-track position totally transparent to all members of its search committee?

A selection or hiring committee is not an ISO-specified machine, certified by an external evaluator. It is a collection of people with their own motivations and preconceptions, and as a consequence if ...
Wolfgang Bangerth's user avatar
20 votes

How do you respond to people who say pure mathematics has less value than applied mathematics because "it doesn't have any practical application"?

I'm a professor who teaches and does research in both pure math (topology) and applied math (data science + Hawkes process models). Fortunately, I've not come across the situation you're describing ...
David White's user avatar
  • 7,013
19 votes

Is it immoral to advise PhD students in non-industry-relevant topics in middle-lower ranked universities?

It's only immoral if you mislead them about their career opportunities post-graduation. You should help the student make an informed decision to do a PhD, and if they know what they're going into but ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 132k
19 votes

How can I deal with students that are too sensitive when they are wrong? Particularly when they answer simple questions incorrectly during class?

One key point to consider here that hasn't been brought up is that your job in the class room, as a professor is to teach the student who are actually in front of you, rather than the student you ...
Ian Sudbery's user avatar
  • 40.2k
18 votes
Accepted

Is it a good practice for teaching assistants to sit in the lectures?

I have been a TA myself, and I can highly recommend doing that. I had been facing the same problem as you (In my case, I attended the same course before joining it as a TA, but it was restructured in ...
bagadosh's user avatar
  • 326

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