My supervisor is horrible. She don't read my works. She always put the blame on her students. Since my enrollment, half of her students dropped off, the other half finished late due to her. I have several clashes with her, but generally i believe the student has to be independent so our relationship was still on working term.
The issues started with her suspecting me of not doing experiments and make results up due to some unknown ill advise. It can be easily proven by ask some students but she was not interested in investigating it. And our communications started to deteriorate as she will put her microscope on everything. Basically we will still discuss about the planning, despite the experiment already has been done.
So i try to seek supports from the local level in college , the aim is to clear out misunderstand, and basically so we can agree on my progress and move on. But that's when hell break loose. She thought that i was taking it personal, started to accuse me: of refusing doing what she tell, exaggerate my mistakes and downgrade my works. The college listened to her and request an earlier thesis-defense~ish session and i have to provides a short summary of my works.
The initial feedback seemed to be positive. And I could see my supervisor surprised at the actual amount of my works too. But then my supervisor started to falsely credit others for my works and once again implied that I may have made up these results both in front and behind my back. The result is: my works were judged to be inadequate.
I have 3 options now: A) make an official complaint regarding those false implication + everything else (and request to work with other supervisor), B) accept the result and continually work with someone who publicly did and possibly will continue to undermine my works. Or C) use A as a threat and suggest her to take a step back. What should I do based from your experiences?.
PS: my other supervisor is useless
That's a difficult situation. I would't suggest C. She can be annoyed and it does not hep your situation. Even if she steps back for now, you'll be in trouble later. Remember you will need her support even after Viva.
I'd personally do my best to have misunderstanding resolved and try to have my supervisor happy. I would go for option A if nothing else works.
Hey thank for the opinion.
Generally, I think the whole event was sort of a success. Because whether my actual work is good or not, it's still better now than into my 4th year and then she act up, you know. Not to mention, I have a feeling that she learnt as much about my works during that presentation as any other guys in the room too
Anyone know how bad will it be for a supervisor or the college to get/have a failed student? I means yes i will call her trying to "put me in my place" is to suit her ego. But other than that, crediting others for my works and implying that I may have made up these results won't help me or her in anyway. Unless she just set up the stage to set me up to fail and then push all the blames on me..
Honestly, I would contact former PhD students. If there are enough people backing up that she does stuff like that often and can be regarded as incompetent, than this will end bad for her and she probably knows that. I am not sure about law in other countries but I am pretty sure that you could even sue her for defamation if she accuses you of making up results without any proof and maybe it is time that somebody does it. This is a serious accusation that can ruin your reputation in academia.
I also agree with Mathcomp that there is not so much sense in just threatening her, as you will need her support in the future. I think there is no other way then changing supervisors. She will never give you a good reference and probably makes your life a living hell.
Isn't that PhD messed up already? Even if you get through it, you suffered years and won't go anywhere if she presents you as incompetent or fraudulent. The truth is, you can't buy anything with the title itself. There are PhD students like there is sand on the beach. Without a good reference you are lost anyway. I am definitely not the kind of person who searches for trouble and usually act deescalating, even if I think my actions were justified and right, but what is the point if she is already against you? That relationship won't change.
I see your point but think that you have to distinguish between a boss that is “just” choleric and demanding and a boss that accuses you of fraud in public. You simply have to act against that, everything else seems like a confession. Who knows, in the end maybe the university initiates some process in order to assess your scientific practice. I don’t want to paint it too black but it is imo a different situation. But in general I agree, choleric boss does not mean that he or she is giving you a bad reference or blocks your way.
Hey, thank for the opinions guys.
On Mathcomp question. I don't know, I honestly think she tried to be hostile in this case. Simply because i contacted the school and tried to settle that whole communication issues, and then she just find every way she think of that can hurt me. Like i said, if she actually had doubt on my results, she can start investigate and prove that it's (not) true.
I means I had no choice, she was not helpful before, but my communication with her was stalled horribly and we still discuss on things that already 6 months old because of that. It actually getting worse than it sounds, as she basically know nothing about my progress. If I left it like that till the end, it will be the examiner who will fail me, not her.
I am really on a fence now, so i guess i will have to see if there's any chance to savage this relationship. But it's difficult you know. If I don't clear all of these false accusation up and any of the current students or staffs leave the school and become my future employer(s), my reputation there will be ruined with or without her reference. But there's no other way to clear it, other than to bring that to the college attention, and that will piss her off further, destroy any chances to make peace.
The only way is she admitting that she was wrong at that, and somehow the school can pressure her to keep the relationship professional. But knowing her, there's only 5% chance to happen. And i'm already generous
Phew - though case. Honestly, I am pretty sure I would throw the towel and start looking for another phD elsewhere - and start to battle against the accusations of fraud in the meantime. With this sort of supervisor, its like russian roulette when it comes to your actual thesis defense. Have you enough data to carve a small paper out of it so that the work was not completly wasted? And another question: How big is the field you are in and how well respected is your supervisor there?
You will lose some time - but on the other hand your supervisor seems to be not helpful at all.
It sounds positively horrific. I had a similar story, breakdown with my supervisor and changed supervisor, the consequence of this was that the whole department regarded me as dodgy and had to work hard at gaining trust again. The old supervisor blocked my way where he could. One thing that helped was having a few big name people (outside my uni) tiding me over. Without them it would have been truly game over, because also the Head of Department took the side of my old supervisor, even tho I had Student's Guild and third party evidence proving I was right.
Everyone always says of course: ! Think of the reference, don't make a complaint/waves. But then again I know that even without having made a complaint I am not in a great situation reference-wise so I just as well could have made one. Nobody ever says anything and this stuff goes on and on.
My advice would be to change supervisor, ignore her, do the formal things to stop her from mentioning that fraud thing & keep going, focus on the positive people & move on. Disengage. Go to conferences, try to meet other new people & focus on writing your PhD. As you mentioned in your first post, this must be known & in my case it was known too that my supervisor was 'that type' of person & I realized later on that it is maybe not as claustrophobic as it looks like & that there are some nicer helpful people out there even tho this might not be a direct help or consolation, but in the long run those contacts may be well worth more, this secured me a publication I would have had no chance in hell getting with my old supervisor & I'll get references from them as well.
but yeah, an awful situation to be in and I hope you find a way round it...
That said, on the whole I am well and truly shocked how little recourse we have when those things happen, how much power supervisors have and how easily 'ranks are closed'.
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