I am a postdoc helping in the supervision of a PhD student who is finishing his 2nd year now. This is in Europe, meaning the student came in with a MSc degree and these 2 years have been of research. “Helping in the supervision” actually means here that my professor is nominally appointed as supervisor but I am doing all of the actual supervision (my professor is not familiar with the details of our project, just the “big picture”).

The project is on computational physics/chemistry, and the PhD student has a background in chemistry with no prior computational knowledge. At the time of hiring we were under pressure to get the project going and complementing my physics background with someone who actually knows chemistry seemed like a good idea back then. Also the student was very motivated.

I have been spending a large amount of time teaching this student lots of physics and programming/scripting, which is needed to carry out the project. I assumed I would need to spend a lot of time at the beginning because of the background mismatch, so that was no problem. I thought things would improve with time. Unfortunately, they have not. The student is terrible at any kind of programming and has a lot of trouble learning new concepts, but what worries me the most is his attitude.

He basically is obsessed with getting results but is overlooking learning, in the form of reading books and papers and working hard on a problem for a period of time. If I tell him to “bang his head against the wall” for a couple of weeks trying to crack a problem before seeking advice from me (like we all have done during our PhDs), he gets frustrated after one or two days and starts sending me lots of desperate emails begging for me to intervene. This is a “gimme teh codez” kind of student, looking to avoid any problem which is any hard at all. I spend long meeting sessions explaining the theoretical and practical details of some approach, but he only seems interested when I write code that he can copy paste and use to get results (without even understanding the code, let alone the underlying physics).

Because of this I have to do lots of debugging and finding the same little (and large) mistakes that arise now and again because the student does not understand what he’s doing. I have discussed many times with him that he needs to focus on understanding theory and code, instead of just getting results. But this is to no avail. I get the impression the student wants to do a technician’s, rather than a scientist’s, job but still get a PhD out of it.

As a result, I find myself working personally on any part of his project which has any hint of difficulty in it, spending way too many hours a week doing supervision, and getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress on the project. At this point, it would be fair to say that I could myself get everything he has to do (and more) done just in the time I spent meeting with him.

I have brought some of these concerns up, but the student won’t accept they need to adjust how they work, instead claiming the tasks are too complicated (believe me, they’re not), the professor does not help enough, the project is not well organized, etc. I don’t know what to do – this student is getting easily 10 times more help than I did during my PhD (and I had a good experience).

To complicate things, I am just a postdoc so I have not a wide experience supervising different students that would tell me whether this case is common or isolated.

Am I expecting too much from my student? Is the problem I’m having a common one? How can I improve his attitude towards learning and working? How to deal with a bad research student?

I’m a lab assistant at my university and one day some of my coworkers who are underclassmen asked me about my experience with a professor I had taken a couple classes with. I told them that every class that professor teaches is hard and that one specific class, is a “flipped” course in which students have teach themselves the material and come to class ready to just answer questions and do classwork. I also mentioned that in that particular class the professor would get frustrated when students asked her questions during class time (so much so that she would yell at whoever asked her a question and in one instance became so frustrated that she stabbed the white board with her expo marker and could no longer write with the marker because the tip was completely sunken in). I also mentioned that this particular class put me under so much stress that it caused me to develop anxiety. Everything that I told my coworkers was my honest experience with said professor.

It is not the first time I’ve told others at work about my experience while taking classes with this professor as well as with any of my other professors (in fact, on that same day I had talked about many of my previous professors and my time in their classrooms). Somehow one professor who manages some of the labs found out that I was talking about that particular professor (I’m not sure what exactly she heard or how much of what I said she heard) and decided to get right in my face and yell at me to stop talking about said professor because she didn’t like what I said. After having yelled at me she just briskly walked away. When she confronted me, I was standing right next to my coworker and I noticed that even my coworker had to pull her head back because of how loud and close the professor got to me/us. My ears were also ringing for a few moments.

I am not upset at the fact that whatever I said got out because I don’t think I made any personal attacks, I simply talked about my experience in that particular professor’s class. What upsets me is that the way the professor confronted me has really increased my stress levels and anxiety to the point that my blood pressure has risen. I am also experiencing dizzy spells, fatigue, and aches all over my body. I suspect that this is due to my anxiety. I have been stressing over this incident for the past couple of days and I’m not sure what to do.

For now I’ve decided to go speak with a counselor to try and calm down and seek a different perspective on the situation. I’m also going to discuss the situation with one of my superiors at work and ask her for advice as well as get her perspective on the situation. I don’t want to make any rash decisions or actions based on poor judgement and wild emotions. I am not comfortable enough to talk to the professor who confronted me (at least not 1-on-1). Can anyone give me any suggestions on what I should do? Do I contact the Dean? (Is there even enough basis to do this?)

What differences have supervisors here seen in students for bachelor’s, master’s and PhD? What comparisons can be made with regard to their ability to speak in class, to attend lectures and seminars, their enthusiasm for learning, their respect and willingness to listen to their superiors, their assertiveness etc?

Has anyone had the rare chance to see through the same student for all three stages and what growth – and obstacles to progression – have been observed over time?

For context, I’m a software development professional, with 17 years in the trade. I studied towards a bachelor between until 2000, but never submitted my bachelor’s thesis, as I was hired by a company and, … reasons. If you are old enough to remember the rush around the turn of the millennium, you will know.

Anyway, I have now made a bachelor’s thesis and got it approved. To my surprise, I found that the study I made hasn’t been made before, and as a consequence, the results are not trivial, and may have a bearing on a current debate in my field. (In my professional field, that is, not in academia.)

The bachelor’s thesis is my own work, meaning that I formulated the problem, I designed and conducted the experiments, I collected all the data, and I made all of the analysis. My supervisor approved my plan, and proofread the thesis, but did not make any scientific contribution to it.

I’ve rewritten my bachelor’s thesis to an article or a conference submission, taking out the most relevant parts. As I understand it, my supervisor should be considered a co-author here – is that correct?

The thing is, I sent it to my supervisor for comments, and he promised to look at it, but then I haven’t heard from him in several months, and he does not reply to my attempts to contact him.

I realize this site can’t answer questions about how to approach a specific person. What I would like to know is what my options are.

  • Can I remove him as a co-author from the article, even though he supervised the bachelor’s thesis?
  • If not – how much do I have to change to be able to do that? Do I have to make a new study?
  • Can I submit it, with him as co-author, without his expressed approval?
  • Is there anything else I can do to raise the awareness of my study without his prior expressed approval?

I am a PhD student and I hate my supervisors. they are bossy, do not allow me to explore my ideas because they have their own agenda and vision. Force me to publish in mediocre conference. Force me to cite all their friends and other students even if their work is irrelevant. They do research to further their academic careers rather than the love for science.

I have followed them and have finished 2/3 of my PhD life successfully. They have given me good feedback in recent yearly reports.

But I suddenly realise that this is not for what I started my PhD. I started my PhD to learn and explore Science. Gave up a top position in a company as a scientist to educate myself more and see myself stuck doing nonsense.

Now I am considering leaving my supervisors and alter my direction of study with someone else. Which implies I might have to work doubly harder and spend more time and probably eat up all my savings.

Should I live the hateful life and just get done with my PhD or should I take a bold step and do what I am passionate about. I have no interest in academia. I want to work in industry. I have come here to learn.

What is your opinion about another member of staff, uninvited, requiring postgraduate students to discuss their research with him, not even informing the actual supervisor and even requiring / insisting on significant changes? This uninvited intruder has considerably less supervision experience, research experience and in fact lower indices and international accreditation than the supervisor but is the head of department. There is no problem in terms of relationships between the various students and supervisor (in fact those relationships are good – quite possibly excellent). When the topic is raised by the supervisor with the HoD he says it is normal academic practice. He has never indicated that he thinks there is any problem with the current supervision.

There are fictional people called superheroines, who are basically female superheroes. They are found in DC, Marvel and other comics. Wonder Woman, Rogue, Wasp, Raven are examples of them. Which superheroines in the below video would be good at college courses? Really want to know what academia thinks as they have experience in college. Please watch the video and answer below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDyZYD-sil0.

I’ve started work as an assistant professor recently,
and my first PhD student has just started her first semester.

I’m working on a paper with my collaborators
which is almost ready to submit.
I am thinking of asking my PhD student
to help us in the writing of the paper
by drawing a graph using LaTeX/PGFPlots.
However, I am not sure if this is fair to her.
Here are how I see the pros and cons of giving this work to her.

  • Pros:
    Offloading the drawing of the graph to her
    would be beneficial to me because it would save my time.
    In addition, she would be learning skills
    that are useful in her academic career.
    Indeed, I have used LaTeX and PGFPlots in my two most recent papers
    and will almost certainly use it in the papers I write with my PhD student.
  • Cons:
    I am afraid that she might feel taken advantage of,
    in that I am offloading menial and tedious tasks to her,
    asking her to do work for a paper
    without allowing her to benefit by being a coauthor.
    In our field (a type of applied mathematics),
    the real work is doing math theory,
    formulating problems, solving them or proving math results.
    What I am asking her to do (drawing graphs)
    is sometimes an important part of paper writing,
    but not nearly as important as mathematically rigorous work
    such as developing theory and proving math results.

Note: I estimate that it would take me 3-4 hours to draw the plot,
although it may take her a longer time (perhaps one or two days),
given that she is fairly new to using LaTeX/PGFPlots.

I’ve started work as an assistant professor recently,
and my first PhD student has just started her first semester.

I’m working on a paper with my collaborators
which is almost ready to submit.
I am thinking of asking my PhD student
to help us in the writing of the paper
by drawing a graph using LaTeX/PGFPlots.
However, I am not sure if this is fair to her.
Here are how I see the pros and cons of giving this work to her.

  • Pros:
    Offloading the drawing of the graph to her
    would be beneficial to me because it would save my time.
    In addition, she would be learning skills
    that are useful in her academic career.
    Indeed, I have used LaTeX and PGFPlots in my two most recent papers
    and will almost certainly use it in the papers I write with my PhD student.
  • Cons:
    I am afraid that she might feel taken advantage of,
    in that I am offloading menial and tedious tasks to her,
    asking her to do work for a paper
    without allowing her to benefit by being a coauthor.
    In our field (a type of applied mathematics),
    the real work is doing math theory,
    formulating problems, solving them or proving math results.
    What I am asking her to do (drawing graphs)
    is sometimes an important part of paper writing,
    but not nearly as important as mathematically rigorous work
    such as developing theory and proving math results.

Note: I estimate that it would take me 3-4 hours to draw the plot,
although it may take her a longer time (perhaps one or two days),
given that she is fairly new to using LaTeX/PGFPlots.