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Deteriorating relationship with grad student

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Re: Deteriorating relationship with grad student

Postby Jim Austin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:43 pm

P.,

You might be right. This might just be a passing phase. But it's hard to understand how it could NOT reveal something about, well, something. About how he responds under pressure, or something. If it's happening now, at the end of the PhD., it may well happen again when applying for faculty posts, or seeking tenure.

I think it's worth a 5-minute conversation.

Cheers,

Jim
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Re: Deteriorating relationship with grad student

Postby P. Lues » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:54 am

Have you tried beating him with a stick yet?
Just saying....tell him to play nice in the sandbox.
Offer him the bullet or the gold... explain to him that his reputation and employability stands to suffer if he acts like a petulant passive agressive child and that his references from you could be influenced negatively by his behavior and lack of cordial cooperation.


If I understood the situation correctly, essentially this is over a disagreement between you and him about what to include and what to exclude in the paper. Calling a grown person a "petulant passive aggressive child" and threatening to ruin his reputation and employability over this is totally uncalled for! He might be acting like a fool and out of frustation, but technically it's his paper too and he can also have a say over what goes in it and what doesn't. That's just my take on it.
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Re: Deteriorating relationship with grad student

Postby A.S. » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:02 pm

Don't worry, P.! I won't call him names nor threaten his future -- my concern was to keep him from sabotaging his future himself! As I said, I think that is diffused for the immediate issue, although I worry he doesn't fully understand and could blunder again. It does appear that his current behaviour is not an aberration, but just an extreme form of things that I've seen over the years which I now wish I had addressed more fully, although I guess hindsight is 20-20. I've had other students with similar minor blind spots, e.g., seeming to assume I do nothing else but supervise them, but such things are a common perception that students usually grow out of, especially when presented with explanation and evidence as I typically provide.

And I would be happy to argue WHAT goes into the paper; the problem had been his refusal to even let me know. It has finally been revealed to be hiding some perhaps poor decision-making, although at least now that I have full information, we can work together to present the work in the best light. I wish he had talked to me at the time, especially as I remember several long conversations about just the issue he was attempting to side-step. Oh well. The work is still good work and his results still valid, if the methods a bit less logical than one might hope.
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Re: Deteriorating relationship with grad student

Postby Abby » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:17 pm

It has finally been revealed to be hiding some perhaps poor decision-making, although at least now that I have full information, we can work together to present the work in the best light. I wish he had talked to me at the time, especially as I remember several long conversations about just the issue he was attempting to side-step. Oh well. The work is still good work and his results still valid, if the methods a bit less logical than one might hope.


I think this is a good reminder to supervisors of lab staff at ALL levels that staff still need mentoring and supervision no matter how advanced or prepared or put together they are! Just because a student is a rock star and ready to defend and move to the next level doesn't mean they are perfect and can be neglected (not that I think there is neglect in this case).
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Re: Deteriorating relationship with grad student

Postby Andy Spencer » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:12 pm

Given that you don't think misconduct has occurred, I think it sounds like the guy needs a vacation. When you finish a manuscript/thesis, the last thing you want to do "right now" is change the molarity/look up the molarity. Tell the guy to take two weeks off and you don't want to see him in the lab until then. THEN have "the talk" as recommended above.

Good luck,

Andy
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