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University teacher only, without research

They're becoming more and more common. I've just been awarded a lectureship on an open ended "Teaching and Scholarship" contract - which basically means I have 60% of my time allocated to teaching, 20% to academic citizenship (i.e. administration) and 20% is mine to do what I like with - in my case, I'll probably use it for research and/or outreach. This contrasts with an Academic Research and Teaching contract (ART) which would be 40% teaching, 20% citizenship and 40% research time.

I think my university is fairly progressive in this manner (and it's a Russell group institution). My uni genuinely seems to value teaching-focused as a career route, e.g. you can be promoted to Professor on a T&S contract and there is no difference in the job titles or salary ranges between the ART and T&S staff. I.e. I can call myself a lecturer, because I am one, even though I am not required to do research on my current contract.

So, I think these roles are available but they are not yet commonplace. It seems to be going that way though.

computer science research subjects

Agree with maddav, if you could explain your background and motivation for studying computer science it would be easier to discuss. E.g. I did a PhD in human computer interaction, which involved a lot of statistics (though, it didn't necessarily need to) and not much maths. But, unless you're particularly interested in design, or people, it wouldn't be worth pursuing work in this area...

Should I discourse my current PhD program with scholarship or not?

Also, depending on the funding source you may not even be eligible for a second set of funding as you have already received funding. If you were to present yourself as having not done a PhD before, or as having not received funding, then you are potentially committing fraud.

Starting off PhD with a new project (from scratch)

I don't think your supervisor is being unrealistic. Frankly, I am working with BSc students right now who are developing their own project proposals from scratch with some discussion and guidance from me. I would fully expect a PhD student to be able to do the same, even one at the start of the process. You don't have to get things right straight away, but you should be able to synthesise material you have read to generate your own ideas. You have a starting point, so do some reading and figure out a line of enquiry. Then worry about designing and developing experiments.

My guess is that your supervisor wants you to develop your own ideas and is trying to encourage you to be an independent researcher from day 1. This is a VERY good thing.

Still can't believe it!

Congratulations! How does it feel Dr Tea?

Advisor Stepped Down: Don't Really Know Why

There are all sorts of reasons why your advisor may have stepped down, some could be to do with you, many others could have nothing to do with you at all. A friend of mine's supervisor stepped down a few years ago because they themselves had a breakdown and were hospitalised for depression. They couldn't cope with being a PhD supervisor so went teaching only and no longer had supervisees. My friend (the student) wasn't told at the time the explanation, just that her supervisor needed to step down due to ill health.

Whatever the reason your supervisor has withdrawn doesn't really matter. You need to accept it has happened and is not going to change, and ask for support in finding someone else who can supervise you to the end of the process. Do you have an internal committee member who could possibly step up?

Final year support thread

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to pop by and say that I submitted on my deadline day of 30th September! I've written about the last two days on my blog

if you want to read more about how my final two days went!

All I can say is, I am so relieved to have submitted, even though I think it's not a great piece of writing. If I can do it, then you folk can too. Just. Keep. Swimming.

Final year support thread

We had to complete an "intention to submit" form within 10 weeks of our expected submission. It's so that the exams office/department can start the paperwork and organising the external examiners for the viva etc.

There are 180 people due to submit on the same day here, across the university - because the uni is quite strict on how long you are allowed to be registered for, without approved extensions. Most people have to submit within 4 years, so have an absolutely strict deadline. It just so happens, that there are going to be 180 of us submitting this Friday (though, I think a few will submit a few days early - I won't be one of them though!) I'm expecting the printing and binding shop to be crazy busy on Friday!

I have spent the last few days working on referencing and appendices and trying to get to the point where I could submit the thing. Pretty close now, so going to spend the next two days improving it.

Does anyone here pay fees for minor corrections or write up?

We have to pay £350ish pounds for every year beyond year 3. So, you pay for year 4, and for any other subsequent years if needed. If you submit within 3 years 3 months, they refund the fee, but otherwise you have to pay.

I also have to pay an extra £350 when I submit because I'm having a second external examiner. I have to have two externals because I am staff as well as a student and there is no one here who is impartial enough to examine my work without needing to declare a conflict of interest. Super annoying.

MA Diss submitted!

Stupidly, because it was a rush to the deadline, my electronic submission (TurnItIn) had an old version of the contents page with incorrect page numbers. I'm pretty sure they only use that as a tool for checking for plagiarism though- they actually mark the hard copies (which were fine).

You'll be fine, it's the hard copy they usually mark. I'd drop your department administrator/exams office a note to say that the printed version is correct, but you submitted the wrong one electronically as Tudor suggested.

I actually did the opposite for my MSc. Printed and submitted the old copy, which included lots of "notes to self" and things I meant to have time to go back and fix in the text. The electronic copy was the one I meant to print and submit, but I was so close to the end and a friend was bothering me when I sent the work to the printer I didn't notice it was the wrong version.

They marked the hard copy, including all those comments to myself. Cost me my distinction in my MSc (I averaged >85% but my project was only marked at 68%) so I was only awarded a pass. I'm still bitter about it 6 years later... Sigh. Lesson definitely learned though!

Final year support thread

Quote From Zutterfly:
My thesis was really really long before I started editing it all chronologically. It was about 120k, now it is 99k. I am struggling to come to terms with the fact I managed to actually cut that much out as I spent months declaring that everything was essential as it was a longitudinal qualitative project! When you say 'stupidly long' is it still within your university's word limit?

I am lucky as there is no quant stuff in my thesis, I haven't touched an spss database since my MA haha

My focus is starting to flag a bit today. My goal today is just to edit another 9 pages of this chapter then return to it either tomorrow or Monday (depending on how quickly I can get a job application done tomorrow morning) but even so I am finding it so draining.

It's at 106k at the moment (including Appendices and refs etc.) but my word limit is 100k for everything. I have a LOT of tables in there though, and word counts each table cell as a separate word even if there is just a "-" in it. Like, my appendices are 5k words, 95% of which is table data. So, I'm just going to ignore it tbh. If they want to shout at me, they can tell me what to remove. I'm more worried that my externals will want to cry when this 420 page beast of a thesis lands on their door. Ah well, it's a lot of tables and graphs so hopefully they won't cry too much.

I've reached a point where I actually really enjoyed stats, but it took me a while - there's something quite satisfying about backing up an argument with statistical data/analysis.

What sort of jobs are you applying for? I am so relieved I have my job for another year so am not having to deal with the stress of applications as well as submitting, though, the job itself can be a bit demanding!

Teaching students with disabilities

... so they may not work with your student. The best thing to do is to speak to their tutor about what if any specific accommodations need to be made.

I think it's always nice to email any student with a disability you're aware of, to let them know that you're aware of it, and happy to discuss any strategies you can put in place in your teaching to allow them to partake fully.

Teaching students with disabilities

I am a tutor for a student who sounds like they may be similar, though their illness is severe. I also teach this student and have helped to figure out some strategies which allow them to engage in class without worsening or triggering their illness.

The key thing to remember is that you as teacher should do your best to accommodate that student's needs so that they get the same education experience as the other students, without compromising the other students experience. It can be tricky, especially with interactive styles of teaching.

In terms of practical things, we do the following to accommodate this student's needs:
- before being taught by any new teacher, a short meeting is arranged between the student, myself (as someone the student is comfortable with) and the teacher. This allows the student to meet the teacher and chat to them in a less pressurised environment and emphasises that the teacher is aware of the student's illnesses and is making steps to accommodate them.
- in seminars, if there is going to be a presentation aspect, this is always done in pairs (unless it's an assessment). The student has identified another student they are happy to work with (and that other student is the only other student in the cohort who knows of the student's illness) and they always work together to prepare the presentation, but the other student delivers it.
- assessed presentations are fairly informal, just teacher and student. This student is never asked to present to the class.
- I often have students write ideas on post it notes which are put on the wall to trigger discussions. The student has a small doodle they put on the post it note, so I know that was their idea and don't highlight it as something to discuss unless they bring it up.
- we always put students into groups, rather than letting them choose groups as this is a huge source of anxiety for the student.

Some of these strategies are specific to this student, and we developed them together...

Final year support thread

I'm actually feeling surprisingly okay about things this morning. I've done most of my discussion chapter now and it's reassured me that my work isn't as lame as I tend to think. So, just still plodding along today. I am getting there, slowly but surely. It seems doable in the time that's left, which is a relief.

I'm still worried about the length though, it's stupidly long. I don't think there's anything I can do - most of it is results that need to be included in the level of detail they are presented. So, not much I can do I don't think. Sigh.

And chickpea - ah stats, I wish you luck! Sorting out the quant stuff has been the bane of my existence on this phd. But, I've sure as heck learned a LOT about statistics I never thought I would know.

Final year support thread

Quote From Zutterfly:
What are everyone's remaining goals this week? How long until final submission for everyone else?

Printing in 7 days, submitting in 8. Currently working on the Discussion and Conclusions. Hoping to finish the first draft of that this evening. Then, tomorrow and Saturday I plan to work on the Discussion and write up of the last two experiments, because they're a bit weak. Sunday is for improving the lit review, which is again, a bit full of holes. Then, Monday - Thursday i'll be editing madly and sorting out the appendices and references. I ought to write the Abstract at some point too.

Thank f*** I've already formatted the thing. Or, I might be tempted to PANIC.

Okay, I am panicking slightly and I've eaten a whole bag of Percy Pigs today. Whoops.