Imagine this scenario: you’re in an exam. Somebody asks for your help to answer a question. You help them (whisper the answer, slip them a note, whatever). You get caught. You get punished.

That’s fine. You’re not allowed to help others cheat. You broke the rules. The university is liable to punish you. All of this makes perfect sense so far.

But.

In my experience, it is often the case that this student who, remember, did not cheat on their own exam, often receives a punishment directly related to that exam, i.e. they fail the exam.

This does not seem to make any sense at all. The wrongdoing of the student has nothing to do with their performance on the exam. They did not cheat. Therefore, their exam is a separate thing entirely, and punishing them by failing them seems like an arbitrary thing to do.

Let me give you an example. Say a student punches a teacher. Would this student ever receive a punishment like “oh now you have failed your exam in Abstract Algebra!”?

No. The punishent will be general (suspension, etc), but the exams are not touched.

So, in the above example, why is the student who helped others cheat being punished on their exam, when their exam performance involved no cheating at all? What is the justification for this?

In some European countries, PhD programs are free. As I understand, PhD opening depends on the research funds of the supervisor. In other words, PhD research is funded by a national agency or EU.

Some countries offer the programs for free and an international student in the UK should pay about $20,000 per annum?

In addition to the research cost (which is funded through the same routes), a PhD student has other expenses for the university, which is provided by the tuition fee in the UK, while in countries with free PhD programs, the governments provides the supports (correct me if I am wrong).

My question is: Why/how such governments support PhD education of international students? And if it is reasonable, why isn’t it the case in the UK?

In order to get postdoc in math I need to write a research statement. But I am thinking about some questions and appreciate your answers.

Is it possible to express several topics in research statement which some of them might be not related to each other?

What should I do when a research subject in my research statement for postdoc will not have any progress during doing postdoc?

I’m currently deciding whether to take up a tenure-track faculty position. It’s a good position (R1, top-50 department in USNWR ranking), but I’m not very excited about it. In particular, the location is not to my liking. So I would seek to move elsewhere if I took up the position. That is, I would conduct another job search in 2-5 years.

This seems to me to be potentially unwise (as I have been told that it is hard to move between TT positions) and it also seems potentially unethical.

My alternative is to do another postdoc and try the job market again in 2 years or so. That also seems potentially unwise, as I have no idea what the job market will be like then and I may end up with even worse options. I’m also worried that I’ll start to look “old” as a candidate, as I’m already 2 years out of my PhD.

I have talked to a few people. They have given me conflicting advice and they are not particularly able to relate to my situation, so I want to ask for some other perspectives.

My specific questions:

1) Is it unethical to take up a TT position with a desire to leave it? I.e. would it upset people when I end up searching for another job.

2) When evaluating TT candidates, does it look better to have 2 more years of postdoc or a few years as an Assistant Professor?

3) In general, is a second job search usually more/less successful than the first one? What factors might determine this?

Earlier this year, I interviewed and received offers for two postdoc positions from competing universities, with one- and three-year contracts, respectively. The first is more related to my PhD, while the second is a bit distant but still in the general area of my discipline. I eventually accepted the second one for different reasons:

  1. It’s in a multidisciplinary research centre, and the description was that I will be part of a large team working on a massive project, which I found really exciting and non-traditional.

  2. Huge amount of money is being poured into this centre by the government, so there’s a good potential to grow.

  3. The project itself is interesting and I will gain different skills by pursuing it. The intended work was of industry-like nature

  4. The PI was extremely keen to have me onboard, which made me feel valued.

On the flip side, the university is large, but I will be working at a small campus. Most of the team are from one discipline and only a couple of members are actually from my discipline (say, for example, most of them are mechanical engineers, but I’m an electronic engineer). The PI is not from my discipline.

The disadvantages did not mean much to me when I received their offer as I considered myself joining an industry R&D department, which I also confirmed during the interview, and from the position description.

Once I accepted the offer and joined the research centre, I was shocked that I was assigned a very boring project that I will work on alone and doesn’t fit my background. It’s academic in nature, but with almost zero supervision. The potential to publish in reputable venues is small. I also found out that they hired another postdoc to fill the advertised position. This was a dead-end for me. I felt like I was put under a glass ceiling not to join the other university (a competitor). I deeply regretted accepting this offer, but at the same time, I cannot resign as I have just moved to a new city with a spouse and kids.

The good news is that I did a really great PhD on a hot topic, and was approached by 3 universities abroad to co-supervise PhD students distantly.

I communicated with my supervisor in this regards and expressed my feeling of being alienated and my preference to be integrated with the large team and be given a role as discussed during the interview. He agreed and gave me a task to do, but never replied to any email I sent later. He ignored me big time. Under the fear of being kicked out and putting myself and family in a financial hardship, 6 weeks later, I agreed to work on the project he assigned me earlier while working distantly with the other universities to keep my passion and academic career going. Ever since, our communication improved but still I feel isolated and doing worthless work.

What’s your advice for me? Finding another job is a top priority for me but that is going to be hard due to job market trends and the limitation of moving with my family to a new city/country for another time (kids, school, etc). I have been in this position for 4 months – long enough to hate it.

The Austrian school system used to not have undergraduates. So when graduated from a high school, you just got in a Master’s program for about 2 years and then PhD program for about 4 years. However, we called it “Master” and “PhD”. So it means that “it is a PhD degree in Austria”, but by American standards, it is actually “a Master’s degree”. Should I still list as “PhD” degree on my CV?

This question is a variation of this canonical question about how to ask a Professor an important question. That question is presently used as a duplicate for many questions on Academia.SE, but it is often used as a duplicate for questions about matters that are not actually important. The present question is designed to give a canonical question about communicating unimportant matters.


Question: Suppose you need to communicate with an academic about some ordinary academic matter that is not especially important. Perhaps this is a standard administrative or pedagogical matter that academics deal with commonly as part of their job, or some other question that would not be regarded as being out-of-the-ordinary for the academic you are dealing with. Examples of the types of matters I have in mind are the following (non-exhaustive list):

  • Asking for advice on an academic topic;
  • Asking for a review of my mark in an assessment;
  • Asking an academic to teach me something in their field of expertise;
  • Asking to apply for/withdraw from some academic program or course;
  • Asking about the present status of an application or assessment task;
  • Asking if an academic is interested in research collaboration;
  • Turning an academic down for a position/research topic, etc.;
  • Following-up on a matter where we have already had previous contact; or
  • Thanking an academic for their help on a matter.

We all know that academics are basically demi-gods, and so communicating with them requires adherence to strict protocols, similar to kowtowing to an Emperor. With these kinds of examples in mind, what is the method of communication and the magical words that I should use to prevent a major diplomatic incident when communicating with a Professor on a common academic matter?

Imagine this scenario: you’re in an exam. Somebody asks for your help to answer a question. You help them (whisper the answer, slip them a note, whatever). You get caught. You get punished.

That’s fine. You’re not allowed to help others cheat. You broke the rules. The university is liable to punish you. All of this makes perfect sense so far.

But.

In my experience, it is often the case that this student who, remember, did not cheat on their own exam, often receives a punishment directly related to that exam, i.e. they fail the exam.

This does not seem to make any sense at all. The wrongdoing of the student has nothing to do with their performance on the exam. They did not cheat. Therefore, their exam is a separate thing entirely, and punishing them by failing them seems like an arbitrary thing to do.

Let me give you an example. Say a student punches a teacher. Would this student ever receive a punishment like “oh now you have failed your exam in Abstract Algebra!”?

No. The punishent will be general (suspension, etc), but the exams are not touched.

So, in the above example, why is the student who helped others cheat being punished on their exam, when their exam performance involved no cheating at all? What is the justification for this?

I am at an early stage of my research in Mathematics. Recently I have found some papers related to my broad interest that I think I will be able to work on.

However I am clueless how to find the research problem or in which direction I should proceed . Is it okay to mail the author asking for research problem or at least asking for the direction in which I can proceed. More generally how should I approach to some experts via email asking for such stuffs.