PDA

View Full Version : Profesors who treat phd students as pests to be avoided....



econphilomath
09-11-2007, 09:22 PM
In a previous thread Tex_Jansen cited several important characteristics one should look for in a phd program.
I cite one in particular because I think we have discused this topic very little and I for one have hardly no information regarding the relationship between profesors and students at different phd programs.



2. Do the faculty treat the grad students as (junior) colleagues, or do they regard them as pests, regarding them as little better than undergrads. Visit schools and talk to the grad students. Check whether the faculty strike up conversation when they pass a student in the hall. If the grad students refer to the faculty as "Doctor," be wary.



To start we could use any info people might have be it first person experience or second hand knowledge. So please report any programs that are known for profesor being "nice":D or "distant":yuck: or none of the above!

SquareSquare
09-12-2007, 06:23 AM
Bug removed.

apropos
09-12-2007, 09:07 AM
In a previous thread Tex_Jansen cited several important characteristics one should look for in a phd program.
I cite one in particular because I think we have discused this topic very little and I for one have hardly no information regarding the relationship between profesors and students at different phd programs.



To start we could use any info people might have be it first person experience or second hand knowledge. So please report any programs that are known for profesor being "nice":D or "distant":yuck: or none of the above!


A typical applicant on this board seems to send about 10 applications, and each of those departments has a whole bunch of professors. I don't thing it's worth your time to worry about such things right now. Start worrying about this once you have some offers of admission. Besides, PhD programs are not MBA programs, which more or less do try to guarantee you a certain kind of experience. I would assume that the at many placee the privilege of being able to work with any professor needs to be earned.

econphilomath
09-12-2007, 11:54 AM
Institutions like economics departments have certain characterisitcs that define them. One place can be known for having harsher seminars, others for friendly workshops, some for hard prelims etc. No one thing describes the whole truth but they add color to a description made up of job placements, GRE scores and big name profesors that we get over the web. Most of the "other" characteristics are things you can't observe from the internet, thats why it would be useful to discuss these aspects on this forum. Finding out that you need good grades, a strong gre and that LORs are important is the first derivative. We can still talk about the second or third right?

When i mentioned how profesors treat their students, I'm not talking about Disney style friendliness. As an example, an open door policy from profesors is something that would be important for me. This type of info is usefull and if you want to share some of it, thats what this forum is for.

sonicskat
09-15-2007, 09:21 PM
The open door policy really depends. In your first year, you probably won't go to talk to the professors at all unless there is a question the TA can't answer.

I have some extremely nice professors, and extremely unfriendly professors, but it doesn't really matter right now because I'm not researching.

If you do well on your prelims and have a good research idea, any professor with matching interests will surely be cordial with you.

asquare
09-15-2007, 09:39 PM
The open door policy really depends. In your first year, you probably won't go to talk to the professors at all unless there is a question the TA can't answer.

I have some extremely nice professors, and extremely unfriendly professors, but it doesn't really matter right now because I'm not researching.
I completely disagree with this. Frankly, it's an approach/attitude appopriate for an undergraduate, but not a graduate student. First year students can and should talk to professors! You should start thinking about research your first year. You should make the effort to connect the material in your core courses to your research interests. First year courses can be all-consuming, but making the effort to get a head start on research pays off big time.

There are good and bad ways for first year students to interact with professors. You should not go to them as your first line of defense for problem sets (try to solve them yourself, work with your study group, ask the TA for help, and only then go to the professor) but if you don't understand a concept, you should definitely go to office hours and ask.

But office hours are not only remedial. If you want to know more about a topic discussed in class, for example, or to know how it affects research in your field of interest, go ask faculty.

And first year students are not limited to talking only to the professors who teach core courses! If you have a research idea or want to speak to a faculty member about his/her research agenda, send an e-mail to see if you can set up a meeting. Most faculty will be happy to meet with enthusiastic students. If you aren't sure about this, ask older students which faculty members have reputations for being approachable.

Also, if you take the attitude that there is no research in the first year, and that as a first year student research and faculty are irrelevant to your life, you are going to put yourself at a disadvantage later in the program. Talking to professors, attending seminars, and paying attention to research even if not conducting any of your own are great ways to learn which fields you want to study, find summer RA jobs after the first year, and get a head start on your own research. I have plenty of classmates who have been doing research and working closely with faculty since our first year.

(As for which schools have approachable faculty, I can tell you that the faculty at U-Mich are happy to work with motivated, intelligent graduate students in any year of the program, and that the department has several programs specifically designed to introduce first years to faculty and involve students in research opportunities early in the program.)