My supervisor treats me as his slave. For the last semester all the teaching he couldn't be bothered to do, he made me do it. All the marking, setting coursework, exams etc I had to do. All evening tutorials every week, meetings until 10pm, I had to do it all. As a single Mum, mature PhD student with three small children, working late evenings and nights were becoming impossible. Eventually I broke down and cried and explained I could not work like this anymore. I struggled with childcare and I was not able to work on my PhD. To give you an idea, in one semester I did almost 200 teaching hours! Anyway he said since he pays me! I must do what he says, tough if I don't like it and I need to invigilate his resist exam module at 8pm at night even though I couldn't get childcare for that time. I then asked the research office what my teaching commitments were and apparently although I am on a university bursary I have no contract for teaching hours, holidays, sick leave etc. It also turns out that because I was doing so much teaching work, I had not done any PhD work and had no supervisory meeting for over 6 months. So the research office told my supervisor off. Since then he will not let me transfer or submit my transfer report. It has become a mini thesis with over 60 pages of work to date. It is of excellent quality but he will not transfer me. He finds silly faults like "that dash should be a long dash not a short dash" and then gives it back to me to modify. I then wait 10 weeks for the next silly feedback.
To top it off, my PhD is to design a small scale water treatment plant using a natural seed as a coagulant to clean the water. When I started my PhD I was told this title and that the project was ready to go, after 7 years of the university researching the seed. It turns out that they never analysed the seed and the toxicity testing was very basic and poor. I collaborated with a top university and analysed and tested the seed. It is highly toxic chemically through toxic lipids that will stay in the supernatant. Anyway my supervisor is not bothered as it is "just Africa" and wants to go ahead with the building of the project from this July.
So I am left with a PhD topic that is not workable as the seed to be used is far to toxic for water purification and could kill people, a supervisor that doesn't care and wants to carry on working, a supervisor that refuses to transfer me and makes me work all evenings which I can't do because I can't find childcare at night for three small children. I don't know what to do. I thought of leaving and carry on a collaboration with the other university to publish a toxicity paper on the seed to try to stop the project after I have left as I have a moral obligation not to hide these test results.
Any advice is gratefully received.
Wow...I'm really sad to see that you're in such a difficult situation.
So basically you need to get the following done:
1) Get the @##hole to transfer you
2) Stop him from pursuing the project
To get him to transfer you, are there no employee grievance office where you can complain? When the research office told your supervisor off, haven't they given him a deadline before which he should transfer you? If not, can you get in touch with them and tell them the problem. Perhaps they will pressurize him to transfer you quickly.
I really appreciate your moral integrity despite suffering from your own problems! Your idea of publishing the toxicity paper sounds great to me! I encourage you to do so.
Please keep us posted about your progress! Best of luck!
Your Supervisor sounds downright criminal. Whatever you do, distance yourself from him and his work AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
Anyone with such a callous work ethic will eventually drown himself and all associated with him.
As to the project, you need to make a formal, and public disavowal of it ...and soon. I have seen cases recently in which shoddy foreign research gets rooted out and severely dealt with because the 'researchers' in question (for only God knows what reason) underestimated ' Just Africa'.
Hope all turns out well for you. And stay strong.
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