Overview of Mackem_Beefy

Overview

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Mackem_Beefy 4 star member
Monday, 13 September 2010 at 6:14pm
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 8:51pm
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page 1 of 82 recent posts

Thread: Why did you leave/are considering leaving academia?

posted
02-Aug-17, 19:15
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From PsychBrief123:
Hello everyone

I'm conducting a survey to see why people have left or are planning to leave academia, specifically psychology. If you could complete this really short questionnaire I'd be very grateful and if you could link it to other people you know who have left I'd be even more so. Thanks for your help.

Kind regards

PsychBrief

Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZRS982G


As I'm not a psychologist, I'll refrain from taking part in the survey.

However, you'll probably find the following:

1) No progression beyond PhD once complete, due to a lack of available posts as a result of lack of funding for post-doc positions (oversupply of PhDs with respect to research or academic positions);

2) Fixed term contracts for research positions, leading to a lack of financial and employment security with no guarantee of continued employment once contract draws to a close - the financial issue prevents people starting out on the property ladder or easily obtaining a mortgage / home loan);

3) Lack of routes into academic tenure once researchers are ready to move into acadeic posts proper;

4) Lack of consistecy of leadership regardless of position (PhD student, researcher, academic), varying from very good to downright awful (I for example found myself in dispute with a senior academic I didn't start, provoke or want - that was my end);

5) Low level of pay compared to some private sector positions.

I'm sure people can think of more. Those I mention are from a UK perspective though other nationalities will probably recognise most or all of the above.

Ian

Thread: Lean / Six sigma

posted
02-Aug-17, 00:12
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From ady:
A loooong time since I posted although I was a five star member in my heydays!!!

Just wondering if anybody could point to good electronic resources about Lean and/or Six Sigma, particularly in Educational settings.

Thanks if you can help

Ady


This is terminology I've faced in my not so enjoyable world of Quality Assurance (as said elsewhere, I want to retrain and escape).

Quality theory is that the methodologies can be applied to any setting, though I do wonder if the way education is structured if any system set up would be maintained. Academics do live in their own little worlds, meaning lack of cross-organisation interation would probably see an attempt at applying a Quality Management System not succeed beyond the confines of a research group, at times notoriously separate from the main University structure.

Wikipedia has an article on 6-sigma. Bear in mind it's seen as a professional qualification as well as a set of methodologies (see below link).

You might also look up "8-D" (if an issue, you make a plan to deal with the problem, form a cross-functional team, define the problem, put in place a quick fix / containment, investigate problem via "five whys", put in place permanent solution once root causes found, monitor outcome to ensure problem does not recur, implementing a plan via process and procedure modification so there is not a recurrence, then give the team a pat on the back or pints after work to say thanks) and "5-Whys" (you keep asking why a problem is occurring until you find the root cause) for root cause analysis and solution of problems.

I've found that at times these methodologies actually get in the way of people doing their jobs or blow a simple "human error" (not supposed to exist in Quality terminology) in non-conformance investigation out of all proportion. Previously a miniscule, low impact problem or sitiation would be sorted on the spot. Now it's subject to extensive investigation.


Ian

Thread: Revise & Resubmit :(

posted
01-Aug-17, 23:48
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 months ago
Congratulations "umma08", you show there is light at the end of the revise and resubmit tunnel.

All the best from the future.

Ian

Thread: Examiners now wanting corrections different to what originally stated in revise/resubmit.

posted
01-Aug-17, 23:45
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 months ago
I don't know. If the corrections are massively different from those expected (i.e. the goalposts have been moved), you at least should ask why.

That said, some changes are to be expected once the examiners have had a chance to assess what changes are needed post-viva.

Ian

Thread: Is a PhD worth it for me?

posted
01-Aug-17, 23:42
edited about 53 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 months ago
You're 24. When you come out of the PhD, you will have skills that are transferable to a research career and plenty time to build yourself up again.

I've a PhD ex-colleague whose going great guns back in Thailand on the basis of knowledge gained in designing and understanding wind turbine technology.

Ian

Thread: Funding for Masters when you already have a PhD

posted
01-Aug-17, 22:04
edited about 1 hour later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From pm133:

Going by your "mackem" user name I am assuming you are living in England (Sunderland?) so I can't comment on the loan situation south of the border.

I would say though that I disagree with your second point where you said - "Secondly, it's now very clear that if I don't undertake retraining, it's going to be very difficult for me to find meaningful employment."
Obviously certain careers might be out of reach but it's not necessarily true that you won't find any meaningful employment whatsoever without going through a Masters or a PhD.
Don't assume your first Masters or PhD are either obsolete or too specialised either.
You can very quickly brush up on the Masters stuff and the PhD brings a whole heap of generic skills.
Are you sure you have considered all the other options?


I have links with Sunderland (the football team and University) though I'm actually from northern County Durham.

I'll reiterate that the career I've held is not one I enjoy, hence I am looking long term to change direction.

However, I've suddenly two job interviews in as many days. Although they are in the career I want to leave, they are jobs and I need to find myself back in work and will give my best in interview.

I have spent seven months considering the various options. Part time whilst working full time is an approach I'm not keen on as others have told me balancing work, life and study is a difficult one to manage.

Also, I'm concerned that whilst I study part time, I may become even more deeply embedded in the career I want to leave meaning a one year full time blitz seems to me at least an attractive approach. A complete reinvention if you like, for the thrid time in my life!!! :-)

As regards other remarks, I'll take a look at career development loans.

Ian

Thread: Funding for Masters when you already have a PhD

posted
29-Jul-17, 11:23
edited about 22 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 3 months ago
A couple of points worth adding.

Firstly, I was self-funded (i.e. received no funding) for my original Masters in 1994.

Secondly, it's now very clear that if I don't undertake retraining, it's going to be very difficult for me to find meaningful employment.

Regards,

Ian

Thread: Funding for Masters when you already have a PhD

posted
29-Jul-17, 02:18
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 3 months ago
I've already posted previously on my plans about retraining in order to effect a career change. Basically, after nine years as a Qualty professional, a career I fell into, I've been unable to find another job in the seven months since I was made redundant.

I'm looking at a career change and for that I need to retrain (even if I was to remain in Quality, I would need to retrain to make myself employable, so I may as well retrain to escape a career I don't enjoy). The most effective method would be to return to University for a new Masters (possibly a conversion course), meaning I'd be in and out in a year and not dragging out the process over a few years as with distance learning or part time.

I've been looking into postgraduate loans. However, as I already have level 7 (Masters from 1994) and 8 (PhD dating from 2003/4) qualifications I'm apprently not eligible for these post graduate loans.

I have read somewhere if I can argue a reasonable case with the Student Loans people, I might still be able to obtain a post-graduate loan. My argument is that the qualification would massively enhance my chances of finding employment taking me forward for the last twenty years of my working career. Also, my previous Level 7 and 8 qualifications are not assisting me finding employment (niche in the case of the PhD and out of date as regards my original Masters). If I don't retrain, finding meaningful employment will be extremely difficult.

Has anyone tried this and does anyone know if tis can be done?

I have a plan B as in a personal loan from my mother, but this would leave I would have a significant personal debt and this situation I want to avoid.

Plan C would be to take an Open University course where I could obtain funding, however, this would mean stretching study over several years and possibly being sucked back into Quality in the meanwhile.

Ian

Thread: PhD thesis and fake results on papers

posted
29-Jul-17, 01:56
edited about 4 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 3 months ago
You need to get out with your PhD. My course of action would be to write up the thesis without the fake results (I omitted a paper I considered "irrelevant" that was more of a pet project by my supervisor - there was no forgery as such but it was a distraction from the main study that added nothing to it).

Once you find a job away from your old faculty and elsewhere, then it will be up to you whether to retract the papers. If it's serious then I would be tempted to retract, however, bear in mind that Universities close ranks and whilst the trouble maker would be moved on, they would also ensure you would not be employed by that university again as a whistle blower. There was a beauty of a case at a German University that demonstrated this point beautifully. I wish I could find the link.

You will have to explain why the papers were not listed or the data included in your thesis, however, you could argue thet your draft fo the thesis was already to advanced to rewrite to include and were outside the main focus of the thesis (i.e. extra studies).

I know of someone who omitted data from at least one paper that would have disproved the content. He listed a friend of mine as co-author.

In his case, my friend decided not to raise the issue for the simple reason life was too short. He simply wanted to more on from his job to pastures new and didn't want to be embroiled in any subsequent investigation.

I'm also aware of plagerism by Masters students who cut and past their data from the internet (they'd worked fulltime rather than study properly druing their project period) and have been told of two instances of PhDs based on fake data. It's not funny and not clever.

Ian

Thread: Stop with my PhD. Unsure how.

posted
09-Apr-17, 11:38
edited about 1 second later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 6 months ago
I think some good advice has already been given in the above though specific advice is difficult without more information.

Without asking you to discuss your personal situation, will the money you have to pay be a large, fixed monthly amount extending over an as yet indeterminate timescale?

To explain, I'm aware of sitiations where due to, for example, chronic long-term illness of a close family member, such payments have become necessary to cover care not covered by the state (i.e. means tested). Or someone has had to cover someone else's mortgage due to a close family member's job loss. I couldn;t imagine taking on such costs when you're only income is a PhD stipend.

I tend to think your best option if possible is to be an employee of the company sponsoring the project whilst continuing your PhD part time. You really need to talk to your supervisor at the earliest opportunity.

I hope you get sorted out in such a way you're able to continue.

Ian

Thread: PhD at 38

posted
04-Apr-17, 11:22
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 6 months ago
I went to do a PhD at the age of 30. In answer to each of yor concerns.

1) I was single at the time I did the PhD. I know there's plenty with family on this forum who've tackled one. It's about you time management.

2) I'd left after Masters at 24 feeling I was too old at that stage, however, upon returning having other older fellow PhD'ers around me helped. The main point for me was the nature of a PhD meant it felt more like a job than studying. PhD'ers are "separate" from the general student population unless there are teaching requirements thus to me there was no feeling of "going back to school".

I met one man taking a PhD part-time in his late 50s. Also during Masters, there was a man on my course doing it full time with a family in his mid 50s.

3) The normal route is PhD, followed by post-doc then going into teaching. The PhD helped me into two post-docs in succession and you generally need the PhD in scences, maths and engineering to to start an academic career. Finding a job after depends upon your ability to sell yourself just as much in academia as in the real world. There's a risk, but there's also a risk on changing any job.

4) Your last point sums it up for me in that had I not done a PhD, I'd have always regreted it. So I did one and have no regrets. Things did not work out for me after my second post-doc thus I'm out of academia, however, as with anything in life you take a risk.

After Masters, the subject had been broched with me and over the next few years I finally decided I had to do one despite leaving a job to do it (there was a redundancy threat anyway).

--------

Take a look at my blog and if you have any questions, get back to me.

Ian

Thread: How to turn down PhD funding (UK)

posted
03-Apr-17, 20:44
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 6 months ago
I found myself in this situation many moons ago when I started my own long since finished PhD.

1) FUNDING HAS COME WITH THE PROJECT:

(This was my situation with funding already in place.)

In each case, the potential supervisor had obtained the funding therefore all I had to do was politley e-mail the supervisor of the project I rejected that I would not be taking up the project. The supervisor will then tell the funding body.


2) YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR FUNDING SEPARATELY:

If you have obtained the funding yourself separately, then contact the funding council (EPSRC, ESRC, etc.) or other funding body in writing to tell then you will not need the funding for the project concerned with a brief statement why (i.e. you'll be taking up a different project). Also obviously remeber to tell the supervisor concerned you'll not be taking up their project.

Ian

Thread: What to do after a successful appeal?

posted
03-Apr-17, 20:09
edited about 22 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 6 months ago
BeHappy,

I feel there's a a risk of a little confusion with the above. A couple of extra comments from me.

1) Are you at a UK University or at a University where the examination system is based on the UK model?

If so, you would not normally participate in exam panel selection. The University in consultation with your supervisors will select the two (one external, one internal) or three examiners (a third one may be included in the case of subject specialisation) and it is unusual for the candidate to be consulted. I hope given you have successfully appealed they will talk to you about this.

If you are being examined in the USA, then the student plays a major role in the selection of a larger examination panel. If you are in the USA, then as "tru" suggests, select carefully.

2) "Pjlu", I'm not suggesting major amendments by a further "once over". All I'm saying give it a read through to pick up anything obvious. It is a re-examination following appeal thus reworking is inappropriate until the outcome of the new examination is known. Asking if such a once over is allowable is fair comment.

--------

This is a serious case of sit down in a pub with someone else who's been through the same thing. Didn't Marasp (I think) have to appeal?

The problem is most of us have not been in "appeals" territory.

Ian

Thread: What to do after a successful appeal?

posted
31-Mar-17, 20:55
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 7 months ago
Tree of Life, Tru,

In principle, I'd agree you shouldn't change supervisors and continuity of supervision when properly done is important to a successful PhD. I also agree it's largely between BeHappy and the new examiners and if she can have a say in who they are then all the better.

My concern was if I was about to resubmit then a further supervisory once over for the thesis might be wise, especially after a bad outcome that had to be appealed against.

A key point in the latter posts not pointed out in the opening post is that the second supervisor is a more helpful person. Using the second supervisor to give the thesis this last once over and to offer any further support and guidance seems to be the obvious thing to do. This should negate the need for a supervisory change.

Ian

Thread: What to do after a successful appeal?

posted
27-Mar-17, 20:43
edited about 7 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 7 months ago
Quote From Hugh:
Hi, well done on your appeal. On what basis did you win your appeal?

Also, what was the result prior to the appeal? I assume you had a viva, was it a fail or MPhil?


As well as these questions, what are you going to do about your supervisor now he's distancing himself from you? This is the bit that concerns me.

You need supervisory input even with a successful appeal and it might be worth asking if he would prefer it if you proceeded with a new supervisor who may want to proof your script before resubmission.

I personally wouldn't want to continue with an unwilling supervisor, however, finding another member of staff willing to step in may be difficult as you were previously seen as a "failing" student.

My examiners were chosen over a year in advance and I personally had no say. Under the UK and similar models, you don't normally have a definitive say as to who your examiners are although a more enlightened supervisor might discuss examiners with you.

That said, well done and fingers crossed for you.

Ian
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