My supervisor is pressuring me to leave - I need some advice please!

posted
17-May-19, 04:33
edited about 23 seconds later
by mala
Avatar for mala
posted about 1 month ago
My question is this: on a legality level, how legal or even common is it for a university to push a student to withdraw? And why would they be adding such pressure that an extra two weeks is making them wait too long? It feels suspicious to me. Like something is not quite right and I don't know where I can turn for help or advice.
I feel like my back is up against a wall and I'm being told to decide when basically they are deciding for me.
I don't want to submit to the pressure and see five years of work and research casually go down the toilet.
I also query the calculation of my completion date as it doesn't appear to take into account that I had around 18 months leave of absence.

Full details below:

Hello All,
My PhD journey has been very rough to put it very lightly. Anything that could have gone wrong pretty much did go wrong and if I told you in detail you'd probably wonder how I am still here smiling. Anyway, that's not to draw pity or anything, just an element of background.
I started end of 2013, did one year full-time then downgraded to part time where I have been ever since.

In that time I took time out the first time for financial reasons for about five months, then a second time for health reasons, about six to eight months, I don't remember. Because of everything going on outside, my progress was horribly slow and very unlike my usual work pace where I like to get things done pretty quickly.

My main issue in the PhD was my data collection, my target audience was extremely hard to locate and this, combined with the stopping and starting meant I was going to have substantial time gaps between data collection and my supervisor was worried about this.


(Continued in comments)
posted
17-May-19, 04:36
by mala
Avatar for mala
posted about 1 month ago
Then in September of last year, life had finally decided to look up for me and I was finally in a position to move forward when I got called into my supervisors office. No, things couldn't be discussed over the phone, I absolutely had to come in and talk in person. Whereupon I was told I should probably withdraw from university. I never cry but I sat there sobbing in my supervisors office. I felt my whole world had crumbled once again. They said it had nothing to do with my academic ability and suggested we apply first for another leave of absence, if I had any left available, as this would give me time to change my job (my job at the time not giving me the necessary
time to focus on my studies). It turned out I had a year left I could use, so I decided to take six months in case I
needed the additional six months at a later date.

After that being all ok, I received an email from my supervisor saying they had been in contact with admissions and apparently my submission date was two months after I was due to return and they had made it pretty clear they would not offer an extension.

Fast forward to this month and I receive an email from my supervisor informing me my leave of absence is over, have I made a decision or do I have things I need to discuss.
I reply I want to come in and discuss some of my options.
They reply saying fine, come in this week.
I reply saying I can't this week, my soonest availability to get into university (I'm not located near the university) is in two weeks.
They reply with a semi-long email saying they are available then but the decision needs to be made as soon as possible and not to forget that the university is not going to be granting me any extension.

If you've read this far, thank you!

(Question in intro)

Many thanks in advance!
posted
17-May-19, 09:16
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 month ago
All those communications has been through your supervisors. I suspect your supervisors have identified another student whom they want to replace you with. Anyway, write directly to your Graduate School and tell them about your being sick and ask then to give you an extension. Give them a call too. I suspect you may get very different message as students are allowed to take time off for being sick and yes,they will adjust d candidature milestone dates too. Read your student policy again do you have solid points to argue with. Don't tell your supervisor you are going directly to the Graduate School to enquire until after you got an answer.
posted
17-May-19, 09:22
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 month ago
Lastly, take everything with a pinch of salt. Your supervisors words are not absolute and you need to verify the truth. Understand that ppl may not have your best interest in mind, so you do need to be more aware and stand up for your self. Dry your tears, chin up and fight
posted
17-May-19, 13:08
edited about 16 seconds later
by mala
Avatar for mala
posted about 1 month ago
Thanks for your reply.

I've since messaged the student rep for my department and the student union for the university. I'm still trying to find the details to contact Graduate College.

No, the tears were last year. They didn't come back 😊 and the health issues are long taken care of. This extension was for financial reasons because I'm self-funded.

Now they are saying they don't want to extend it as I won't complete soon enough.
(I'm on year 5.5 where I did the first year full-time and the rest part time and took a total of 18 months absence)

I'm just questioning the insistence on haste. My supervisor always pushed for in person meetings. Now suddenly they don't want to wait two weeks until I can come in in person, they want to discuss everything now by email or phone.

Anyway, I hope the student services will get back to me soon.
posted
18-May-19, 17:00
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 month ago
How long do you need to finish? You have been doing the PhD for a long time and the university gets assessed by how many people pass on time. It is in the university's interest for you to complete the PhD, so you should try and convince them that you can. When asking for the extension and due consideration, I would have a plan or Gantt chart saying how you intend to finish.

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