I am international student who chose the worst supervisor. At the begining of my PhD I noticed that everything was wrong. My PhD supervisor failed a student when she only had three months of starting her PhD. He treats students as research technitians and do not allow students to think by themselves. He does not read the written work, for example, in my first year report he only read about 5 pages and worst, he only thick references. Of course that I tried to change of supervisor three times, but the faculty did not allow it. I insist on that and the head of the school asked me to do the viva examination. My supervisor influenced the examiners however the gave me the corrections of my report. Until the next day I was told that I had failed and they managed to get rid of me. I cannot believe how corrupted is the british academia. I forgot to mention that for some experiments, a student gave me seed from a whitered plant! (i was working with plants).
I was told that sue is the only way to recover my funding, however, to sue the university cost 15,000 pounds.
Hello, sorry to hear that- i can feel your pain!!
Generally, have you tried to spoke to the graduate association/welfare (someone who is not related to the department)? They might be able to help you.
All university should have a guideline what you can do when you are not satisfy with their service.
Please don't keep quiet about this- and do something.
There are things that you can do before officially sueing them.
whatever u do, keep all the proof of discrimination / victimization.
a friend of mine tried to retaliate, without much success. they made it look like she was the culprit.
the professor was quite influential and records of any misconduct had conveniently disappeared from the office.
a more diplomatic approach is finding an *ambassador* ie an equally influential professor with a kind heart to handle the case.
the ambassador can earnestly communicate with ur supervisor to resolve the current calamity without making wave.
this way, u can continue ur study and save $15K.
hope things will turn out well for u dude.
======= Date Modified 26 Nov 2012 11:36:57 =======
It can be luck of the draw whether or not you get a good or poor supervisor for your PhD. I've seen both sides of the coin, getting a very good supervisor for my PhD and first post-doc and a not so great one for my second post doc. Highly regarded, my second-post-doc supervisor (an influential professor) and his (de)mentor sidekick lacked certain managerial and people-handling skills that could have made all the difference to what was a very interesting project to be honest. However, I quickly discovered also I was there only to relieve the workload of my (de)mentor.
My experience is as has been pointed out that trying to take on the system simply results in the University establishment closing ranks. If you try to take action, you may well get your hearing to be told there are insufficient grounds to proceed with any complaint or action. Suddenly, people who had plenty to say about a rotten apple shy away or change their stories when a complaint is made, in part to protect their own positions of jobs. You also have to have some sort of record of events that led to the breakdown of your PhD and relationship with your supervisor.
In my case, I found that a complaint had been made by a former employee against the professor concerned that had gone to industrial tribunal. However, there was insufficient evidence to proceed, a familiar story. My own plans to consider any action were halted as a direct result as this previous action indicated I also would get nowhere and also affect my future employability. It was still difficult finding another job after this and it was almost a full year before I found work again.
My advice to you is to write this off to experience. Go away, find a job for a year or so if you feel you need some time to yourself, then if you want to try again for a PhD, do so (obviously) with a different supervisor and University. However, next time visit the department beforehand and have a good look round. If possible, ask other people working there how a new potential supervisor is to work under. If possible, use some excuse to make a second quick visit to see the supervisor before accepting the PhD as seeing them at a time different to the interview can reveal alot more about them as a person.
If the situation is untenable, I don't see any point on wasting anymore time on it. I note you tried to change supervisor three times (therefore have exhausted all avenues) but with no success. It really is a case of damage limitation and moving on. I know alot of money is involved but spending another £15,000 trying to recover this with little prospect of recovering the original money may not be a wise move. Only pursue if you have irrefutable evidence of your version of events. There is also a University Ombudsman these days, however, how effective this is I don't know as I've no idea how well this avenue has been tested.
You specify the problems you encountered as a problem with British academia, however, I see this as a problem with academia in general (internationally) in that if someone is seen as a troublemaker (even where this is not the case) the University will find ways of eventually moving them on.
Well I had reported my case to my personal tutor immediately. It is a well documented case, however, the University ignores all the evidence. I had asked for a change of supervisor very politely but in the department did all this to make me do the viva to fail me. There is evidence that shows that I had asked for to the viva examination, to change of supervisor.
I decided to publish my story to the newspapers, I do not really care if they see me as international trouble maker, I was very polite and the Univerrsity push me to do this.
Thanks for your responses,
======= Date Modified 26 Nov 2012 15:22:10 =======
THAT IS A WISE ADVICE, YOU ARE RIGHT BUT I WENT TROUGH ALL THE DIPLOMATIC WAYS TO RESOLVE IT AND IT DID NOT WORK, I HAVE LOST TWO YEARS, MY IDEAS THAT MY FORMER SUPERVISOR WILL USE AND PUBLISH, AND MY FUNDING AROUNF 90,000 POUNDS THAT WAS DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN.
EVERYTHING I AM DOING NOW IS FOR MY FUNDING, UNETHICAL PEOPLE DO NOT CHANGE,
BUT VERY TRUE WHAT YOU SAY,
IF YOU FAVE TIME COULD YOU EXPLAIN ME WHAT ARE THE LEGAL ISSUES BY PUBLISHING ? IT THERE ANY PROBLEM EVEN THOUGH IS THE TRUTH??
======= Date Modified 26 Nov 2012 21:18:29 =======
I am very sorry to hear of your difficulties. I hope that you find a satisfactory resolution.
What is not clear from your posts is whether you have actually been through the appeals and complaint process of your institution yet. If not, I would do so systematically. Your student union will have people able to advise. You wouldn't need a lawyer to do this. What you would need to do though, is to try to separate out your upset feelings from factual failings / errors that you can prove. It is the latter that will count and should form the basis of your appeal against failing. If you have completed the complaint / appeal process, then you can take your case to the office of the independent adjudicator for higher education. I mention this because these are ways that might get you some satisfaction and will not cost you money.
Like the others I also suspect going to the media might be counter-productive. You would need to be very careful that what you said was not libel as then the university or your supervisor could sue you. That's what mackem beefy was meaning.
According to the Universities regulations, when the communication between the supervisor and the student is broken, the student is entitled to change of supervisor. My former supervisor was childish and poor. For example, he locked computers in such way that I was not able to see relevant information for my experiments. We were two first year students and he failed the other one when she only had three months of starting her PhD. Many unethical issues happened in this lab and that was the reason I needed to leave it.
I appelead and complain and they dismissed because many people is involved in for example the head of the school and examiners. My examiners actually, gave me corrections for my report and the next day I was told that I had failed, how can be possible that one day I passed and the next I failed?? This is an issue that people should know, it is too much corruption I know that is difficult to believe, but is true.
======= Date Modified 27 Nov 2012 09:19:37 =======
HELLO IAN, THANKS YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE. IN MY COUNTRY WHEN SOMEONE IS IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION WE TEND TO DENOUNCE. THAT'S TO SAY, WE PUBLISH OUR STORY IN THE NEWSPAPERS TO DENOUNCE IT, BECAUSE AS IT HAPPENS IN THE UK THERE ARE INTRANSIGENT INSTITUTIONS AS WELL. IT HAS BEEN SHOCKING FOR ME TO KNOW THAT WHEN A STUDENT COMPLAIN IS SEEN AS TROUBLEMAKER AND ANY OTHER PROFESSOR WOULD NOT TAKE THE STUDENT. MORE OVER, AFTER ALL THE DAMAGE TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THE STUDENT FOR LIBEL.
FROM MY POINT OF VIEW I WOULD NOT THINK IS LIBEL, IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF THOUGHT. THE UNIVERSITIES IN THE UK ARE NOT PERFECT AND THEY ARE EXPOSED TO CRITICISM.
I WILL TAKE YOUR ADVICE
Msarajevo, I'll spell out the two clear consequences of going to the press.
1) If the press take your story, if there's anything in your story that cannot be proven you can expose yourself to civil action by the University or any individuals named in your story (i.e. liable and defamation of character). For this reason, I don't think the press will take your story.
2) If your story is published, you will be seen by other Universities as a troublemaker and it will be less likely you will be taken on for another PhD at least in the United Kingdom.
As already said, leave it in the hands of a lawyer if you think there's a case to answer. However, be aware if you have nothing more than word of mouth (material evidence, witnesses, etc.), you will have alot of difficulty in pursuing a case. Have you any solid evidence?
Universities are good at this and as well as my own experiences with my 'personality' Professor, I know of other cases where people who were not wanted were quietly moved on without the story reaching the public of press. It happens more because of self preservation in academia rather than outright corruption (though I have seen people sidelined so others can promote themselves up the career ladder too).
That said, in British academia more often than not you shouldn't have the problems you described and I think you've been desparately unlucky to find yourself in the situation you are in.
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest