PathIntegrals92 wrote:The only reason I started to think about this more is sometimes I'm looking through potential advisors at potential schools and all the students are men. no women. Obviously that could mean women are not interested in that particular research or w/e. I have also found schools that basically have no female profs. I know this does not mean anything is hostile about the environment etc.
PathIntegrals92 wrote:Is it weird that I want to attend a school that is slightly more balanced (amount of women and men)? Should this even matter when picking schools?
PathIntegrals92 wrote:Now I am curious about the type of sexism that men might face in academia too?(If any).
Aether73 wrote:That's understandable, but I wouldn't make it a priority. The sex & gender of your potential advisor should probably be subordinate to how well their research reflects your interests.
Aether73 wrote:I haven't experienced any.
Sean Carroll covered this subject briefly in a recent talk: http://youtu.be/RwdY7Eqyguo?t=35m22s. I think his sentiment mirrors a large portion of the physics community's sentiment.
Lastly, I think this depends heavily on the size of the physics department. Schools with larger departments will tend to have a more representative number of female faculty members and grad students.
bfollinprm wrote:What is more important, because it's more likely to not hold, is whether the department actively understands the pressures that go with being outside the good old boys network in grad school. It's little things like not getting invited to the group homework sessions, or people over-explaining things to you so you don't get a chance to work through it on your own.
bfollinprm wrote:If this is something you worry about, I think it's absolutely defensible to make this a priority concern when choosing a grad school, and a solid contingent of female faculty, (especially) hired postdocs, and a significant cadre of female peers in the graduate program are all good indicators of a program that takes dealing with casual sexism seriously.
PathIntegrals92 wrote:Since I didn't want to start a new thread,
I was wondering if you any of the current grad students agree with what is mentioned in this blog about what good/bad advisors?
http://theprofessorisin.com/2014/02/23/ ... -advisors/
What do you think makes a good/bad advisor?
I take back what I said about the discouragement I received in the above post. It was probably for my own benefit. haha
TakeruK wrote:I agree with all 5 of the bad traits but I do feel that the author is overplaying how bad a "nice advisor" is. That is, I definitely do not think that if you do not cry before/after/during a meeting with your advisor then something is wrong. Also, I feel that a lot of the advice presented in that blog post is generally geared towards students who want to be future tenured superstar professors. Let me expand on these points further in regards to what makes a "good advisor":
Regarding the "nice advisor", I definitely agree that an advisor that does not challenge you or constantly gives you positive comments is not the ideal advisor. It's important to get constructive criticism. However, I do not think that every graduate student needs to find an advisor that will push them to their very limit (emotionally and academically). I'll just address the emotional aspect first here: I do not ever want an advisor that makes me feel crappy about myself at any point in my life. People can criticize my work all they want, but one of the main reasons I stopped working with a professor was because I constantly felt bad about myself (not just my work) before/during/after meetings. I also do not think pushing graduate students to the point of tears is a healthy way to train students and I think this attitude towards graduate students is a toxic one. We are junior colleagues, not research robots expected to produce the most amount of work possible.
TakeruK wrote:First of all, not every student wants to be a tenured professor and even if we all did, there is nowhere near enough jobs.
TakeruK wrote:but I consider myself a human first and a scientist second.
TakeruK wrote:Therefore, I feel the tone of the blog post (the one where we expect graduate students to dedicate all of their energies towards science) actually contributes towards the crappiness of grad student life. It leads to us putting higher pressure on ourselves, feeling guilty when we see others working 50+ hours per week, feeling shame to even think about pursuing other passion, and otherwise leads to a lot of mental unhealthiness and a lack of work-life balance.
Thus, in my opinion, another "bad trait" is an advisor that builds an environment where you are constantly expected to perform at your limit and/or has unrealistic expectations that every student wants to be a superstar researcher.
PathIntegrals92 wrote:... maybe her bluntness was for my good? She told me that I sucked and that I would never be able to do a certain type of physics field, but maybe if I really wanted to, I could have proved her wrong? If I had tougher skin...
I agree, though, that it is definitely not healthy. It can led to burn outs, depression, and all sorts of things.
TakeruK wrote:This is something that academia does seem divided on. There are many people that think you must have thick skin in academia and others like me, who do not think this should be a pre-requisite. I think that academia would be ideal if every type of personality is able to succeed, not just the ones who have thick skin and value research production above all else. There are many ways to tell me my work is wrong without directly insulting me as a person (e.g. comments like "[you] suck; [you] would never be able to [subfield]").
TakeruK wrote:I also want to clarify that the career goal "remaining in academia" is not the same as the career goal of "tenured professor" or "famous/superstar professor". There are many other academic jobs like staff scientist etc. These academic jobs do require the graduate to have papers published and I do think that by the time we finish our PhDs, we should have 2-3 published first-author papers if we want to work in academia (not necessary if we have non-academic / non-research career goals). However, I think the key to improving the environment for grad students is to eliminate the mentality that non "tenured professors" careers are for failures and assuming that everyone's main goal is "tenured professor" and if they end up as "staff scientist" then they have failed. Personally, I am not sure that I am willing to undertake the stress and responsibility of a research professor. Graduation is a few years away but I feel like I would be much happier in a staff scientist position where I put in my 40 hours of research work per week and then go home and do something else I also enjoy. But we'll see what happens in a few years
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