grae313 wrote:I'm sorry to break the news to you, but at least in CME, a professor's job is not to perform research. It is to obtain funding and manage/direct the research group. Typically only young professors who are still getting their lab started actually do work in the lab.
In general, even though I do not think it is the professor's job to perform research on a daily basis, I still think it is important that he communicates well with the students. I really enjoyed one of the research professors I had because even if he was working on other things, he was always in the lab.
I don't think anyone would argue that a good adviser should communicate well with their students and be available to help if they run into a problem. This is especially important in smaller labs where there are not senior lab members or post docs to help you. In a large and well-established group run by a tenured faculty member, an attentive adviser will stop by maybe
once or twice a day, but they aren't going to be there working along side you, and believe me, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
If your adviser is a big name in their field, expect them to be away at conferences and giving talks for several months out of the year, teaching one semester a year or every other year, and busy writing grant proposals the rest of the time.
I'm sure there are exceptions, but I think this is pretty accurate as a general rule. It's your
research and your
research project. Your adviser's job is to provide your funds and support network, to guide you in the right direction, offer experience and advice when you get st
uck, and help you interpret results and publish papers. Full professors rarely do
research at R1 universities.