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88 votes
Accepted

Pronouns of professors in Statement of Purpose

What I have learned from conversations with people who use less common pronouns (typically they/them) is that there is no expectation for perfection or magical divination of pronouns. There's no ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 120k
71 votes

Appropriate/smart ways to decline students' requests of "begging for better grades" at the end of the semester without being too hurtful

I'm also an instructor of mathematics (at a community college with constantly high failure rates). I call this period of the semester, about a week or two after final exams, "purgradtory". ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
61 votes

Why do most US regional colleges/universities/institutions have poor reputations in academic circles?

My perspective is that of a mathematician who went to an elite small liberal arts college (SLAC) as an undergraduate and taught as a graduate student and in temporary positions at an R1 and an elite ...
Alexander Woo's user avatar
47 votes

In the U.S., is it appropriate for math professors to ask students to rewrite their messy (poorly handwritten) homework to be graded?

Yes. In most other fields, university and college instructors often require that students type their work, and submit a typed, spellchecked, referenced, and otherwise professionally written document. ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
43 votes

Is there any ethical problem with a tiered grading system?

In this system, each tier represents a varying depth or complexity of the course content, potentially meaning more in-depth study, harder examination questions, or more complex assignments. It's a ...
WhatTheDuck's user avatar
  • 1,472
36 votes

What should you do when asked by the chair to raise course grade distribution when the students do not deserve it?

The question feels a little "ranty" to me. It reads to me like someone who knows that they are an amazing teacher, who did a wonderful job all semester, and had terrible students who failed ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
35 votes

Top 3% in Reference Letter when applying to Yale

I show my students drafts of the letters I write for them. I don't expect or ask for suggested changes, except on matters of fact I might have gotten wrong. Let it be. It's a strong letter.
Ethan Bolker's user avatar
  • 36.9k
34 votes
Accepted

Being asked if I would like to be considered for a non-funded admission offer for PhD math

It's a bad idea on principle, let alone financially. Taking loans just compounds the bad idea. Departments work with annual budgets, so the only possibility for short-term funding would be another ...
Cheery's user avatar
  • 14.1k
34 votes

Is there any ethical problem with a tiered grading system?

Yes, there are potentially both ethical and legal issues with this proposal. As already mentioned it completely ignores the existing course numbering standard used by practically all other US ...
brichins's user avatar
  • 672
33 votes
Accepted

How to move forward after microaggression allegations against my TA

As you say, you're not an expert in DEI; if your institution does have people that are experts on DEI issues, I would check to see if they can help you. You mentioned in a comment that your ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 120k
32 votes

In the U.S. academia, why do many institutes never send rejection letters for postdoc positions (to save the hassling of inquiries from applicants)?

It takes almost zero effort [^1] to acknowledge every single application and to send a polite rejection letter to every single non-selected applicant once the process is complete. In between the first ...
CrimsonDark's user avatar
  • 11.2k
31 votes

How to list paper on CV where one is not listed as author

In this situation, it would be reasonable for you to create a section of your CV (say, just after publications where you have authorship) where you can list research projects you have worked on where ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 69.1k
31 votes

Appropriate/smart ways to decline students' requests of "begging for better grades" at the end of the semester without being too hurtful

It is important to recognize - and I tell this to students in the situation you describe - that you are judging the academic value of the work they submitted, not the student as a person, or the ...
ZeroTheHero's user avatar
  • 27.3k
30 votes

What should you do when asked by the chair to raise course grade distribution when the students do not deserve it?

It is my first-semester teaching an upper-year/beginning graduate level course. You do not have political power in this situation. The average of the course was 77% which is a C in this particular ...
Chris Cunningham's user avatar
30 votes

Is it possible to retract an acceptance for a full time lecturer position?

You are asking if it's okay to tell people you will do something when you are premeditating the possibility of not doing it after all and telling them later that you changed your mind. In your ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 191k
29 votes
Accepted

Academic view of graduates who go to US national labs?

Most of my Ph.D. graduates go on to the national Labs. The research is top notch, and who doesn't like going from a graduate student stipend to ~100K for a postdoc? I don't think I have ever ...
R1NaNo's user avatar
  • 7,351
28 votes

How common is it for US universities to ask a postdoc to bring their own laptop computer etc.?

In my experience, the rule at academic Biology US labs is that everybody brings their own laptop. Having said that, it is my opinion that there are two separate issues. The first issue/question is if ...
Cheery's user avatar
  • 14.1k
28 votes

Received a verbal offer via videoconferencing - how long to wait for initial written offer?

I think enough time is passed, you can send a friendly email stating that you haven't received a formal offer yet and asking when you can expect it. I would have waited a day or two after the original ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 120k
28 votes

Is it acceptable to email a professor about an article they wrote years ago?

First, 2019 isn't that long ago. When I read your title I was thinking it was an article from 20 or 30 years ago. But, to answer your question, I think it depends on "acceptable to whom?" ...
Peter Flom's user avatar
  • 4,195
27 votes

Appropriate/smart ways to decline students' requests of "begging for better grades" at the end of the semester without being too hurtful

I don't know if universities in the US have similar principles, but where I studied (in the UK) health issues would come under a "mitigating circumstances" protocol, which is administered ...
Tom H's user avatar
  • 371
27 votes

Generally, can a recent PhD graduate have too many peer-reviewed academic journal articles?

It is hard to answer for every field, but I think what someone might be getting at making this statement is too many articles can seem implausible, and someone might: Be publishing low-quality ...
Azor Ahai -him-'s user avatar
25 votes

How to move forward after microaggression allegations against my TA

Do not preempt the complaint process (especially with something as nebulous as an alleged "microaggression") Unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary, complaints from students ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 69.1k
25 votes

In the U.S. academia, why do many institutes never send rejection letters for postdoc positions (to save the hassling of inquiries from applicants)?

Your assumption that "applicants have to keep asking them to update the status" is false. While it is true that some applicants ask for updates, that is a pointless thing to do, and most ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 191k
25 votes

Is it acceptable to email a professor about an article they wrote years ago?

If someone puts out something into public view, they can expect to be contacted about it from time to time, though depending on the contents, being contacted might be a very rare occurrence. In your ...
Thomas Schwarz's user avatar
24 votes

How to move forward after microaggression allegations against my TA

You are doing good in being supportive to the student, but to be fair to the TA, you should not take the student side fully-hearted. From the description of the TA, you are actually describing a lose-...
EarlGrey's user avatar
  • 19.1k
24 votes

What should you do when asked by the chair to raise course grade distribution when the students do not deserve it?

I think the answer to your question ultimately depends on your personal values regarding integrity versus employment, as well as any dire life circumstances that are unstated in the question (e.g. if ...
Justin Skycak's user avatar
22 votes

Being asked if I would like to be considered for a non-funded admission offer for PhD math

I suspect that you can do better elsewhere and should explore that. If they will cover your tuition and fees, along with providing healthcare it might not be a terrible option, providing you can ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
22 votes
Accepted

Why do most American universities offer funded PhD positions but not similar opportunities for Master's programs?

Here are a few reasons: Long-term Benefits and Market Demand: Universities expect greater long-term benefits, a.k.a. money, from Ph.D. research, as the research output often attracts more funding, ...
cconsta1's user avatar
  • 1,590
22 votes
Accepted

Will I be facing entitled students everywhere?

The short answer is YES, and the higher up you go on the "prestige" ladder, the worse it gets. I did my MS and PhD at R1 institutions and later 2 postdocs also at R1s, and during that period ...
Cheery's user avatar
  • 14.1k
21 votes

How to move forward after microaggression allegations against my TA

Seems like I have to be the one to address the obvious again. Let me quote: To be more specific: The TA made a comment to the student along the lines of "your English is very good" (the ...
csstudent1418's user avatar

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