I have something that is not properly a problem, but I would like to listen to your opinions.
My supervisor hasn't really ever been present in my PhD. Still, I would have never imagined he was that uninterested in his job. Honestly, in my field (music), institutions do not spend money for their PhDs and are not really motivated to provide an effective mentoring, or maybe my supervisor is just careless.
For example, 1 month ago I asked him to let me use the server of the university for some heavy processing for my thesis but, after answering "yes, send me the abstract", he has never opened the ticket - of course this is on a long list of "yes, I'll do it".
The thing is that I have sent him half of my thesis 4 months ago, and after having him for 3 months saying "sorry, I didn't find time to read your thesis" (to which, honestly, I don't know what to reply), he has never even opened it. The workload is all on my co-supervisor, which has arrived to the university 8 months ago. Both haven't read my thesis for months, but after having them notice the little time left my co-supervisor has tried to go through it. He is a good guy, honestly. My supervisor hasn't replied. A few days ago, I sent the last chapters to both, and explicitly asked my supervisor to read some parts, and still he has't answered to me.
The point is that in a few days I am submitting a thesis that was only partially corrected by my co-supervisor. Nevertheless, it's true that I am responsible for my thesis, but it's very upsetting that the thesis will be signed by my supervisor (and this could help him run for a "Prof." title one day, if my thesis will be useful) while he has done more or less nothing for it. I would rather prefer to give the merits to my co-supervisor.
Wow, he really isn't doing his job at all! I think you are definitely entitled to complain to the director of PG studies, as he is taking advantage of the power relations in this situation. It is also unfair for the co-supervisor (secondary?) to be reviewing more than your primary supervisor.
May I ask if you had both agreed to a defined schedule of draft submissions and an anticipated timeline for critique throughout your process? I pushed for that and set it up right away in my first month, which I have found to be helpful, although I know many students prefer not to have hard deadlines for submission and critique. Even if you didn't have a defined schedule, the lack of attention to your needs as a student (server and timely critique) shouldn't go unnoticed by those who do promotions.
Thank you Nad!
I guess we didn't. Meaning that I did that myself, sending an email with a plan: "4 months, index, work ready, work to do, approx. deadline". The reason is that like you, I have been very disciplined in my research and I carefully planned my milestones. The thing is that it would be unfair to say that he has done nothing during his supervision: he did minor things, until a point in which he does not really care about his duties. (Nonetheless, a colleague of mine expressively asked me if I was happy with him as a supervisor, and he said that he wasn't followed much - he tries to be your friend more than you supervisor, or sort of).
The point is, how to have them notice this? As my university has never performed my music, to protect myself from possible critics about the missing of sound material, I have already sent 2 months ago a complaint to the university with some clear examples about how the university did not help me at all (fortunately, I was't paying for my PhD!!). But I think that it would be not that good to attack him before submitting, given that my potential external examiner is a friend of his. Still, I agree with you: I don't want to make this lack of competence unnoticed.
What are the options? I write this in the acknowledgements? :P
I write a secret letter?
I ask to change the name of the supervisor?
(Little information: he is on 6-months research leave, but when I asked him if I had to continue address him for my concerns or somebody else, he said "still to me")
Could you have a chat with your postgraduate coordinator to get the power from above to push your main supervisor into doing his job? Word of caution, you may get him upset but he may finally do his work.
If your second supervisor is willing to act as the primary supervisor in terms of workload, then I guess that is helpful for you.
A formal complain should only be lodged if everything else has failed - ie the push from postgrad coordinator, talk to Dean/Head of School...
Helebon, there is a big difference between what a supervisor should and cannot do when it comes to reference. The procedure maybe that the supervisor should not give poor reference. But who will check? And what is your proof of that? If the employer rings up your supervisor and your supervisor bad mouths you and so you lost the job, how will you ever know? The best action is to ask someone else give you reference if you suspect that the supervisor will be a bad referee.
[quote]Quote From TreeofLife:
'You're not going to find a procedure. It's a myth that people can't give "bad" references. What you can't do is lie. '
Thanks for the info. This makes it all the more important to have a second supervisor. If I had a poor supervisor I probably wouldn't trust them in writing a reference.
I feel postgraduate education is changing for masters and PhD's, as the PhD loans are coming in Sept 2018 and masters courses have gone up substantially in price. Meaning it's much more of a financial investment to students. in 2006 I was planning to do an MA for around £2.5 thousand fulltime 1-year course, now the same uni charges £9 thousand for the same course.
Students are looking for value for money (as with undergrads now charged 9 thousand a year). It was in the news about masters students at Central Saint Martins getting a rebate for a course that was substandard. This I expect will become more common.
I think universities will not stand for supervisors who are not delivering what they should be, as students will go elsewhere. Universities are businesses. To me, a supervisor not doing what they should be doing (what the OP mentions) is a trading standards, not fit for purpose issue. If the course is funded then this isn't good value for the research council.
I asked the Students Union about the reference procedure, they said an academic reference is a tick box form of questions.
I made the mistake of not making a formal complaint when writing my masters thesis. Now I am trying to prove the errors the university made.
If I could rewind time and I was still writing my thesis I would be finding out who is the manager of my supervisor and ask them questions in a diplomatic way. Oh well, I live and learn.
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