managing your supervisor

Download Managing your supervisor

Post on 03-Jan-2016




0 download

Embed Size (px)


Managing your supervisor. Toby Walsh National ICT Australia Universities of NSW and Uppsala. Health Warning. Managing your supervisor Several supervisors asked me if this topic was a “good idea” For whom?. Health warning. You really ought to be asking Brahim, Zeynep, Emmanuel, .. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Managing your supervisorToby WalshNational ICT AustraliaUniversities of NSW and Uppsala

  • Health WarningManaging your supervisorSeveral supervisors asked me if this topic was a good ideaFor whom?

  • Health warningYou really ought to be asking Brahim, Zeynep, Emmanuel, .. How do you manage Toby?Or is that, can you?Im not sure that I managed Alan Bundy that well!

  • OutlineUnderstanding your supervisorManipulating your supervisorGreat expectationsCommon pitfallsDealing with conflictManaging your career

  • Understanding your supervisorTheir goalsTheir skillsTheir hatesTheir inadequacies

  • Their goalsSupervision is a poorly paid jobI have supervised students at universities that dont even employ meClearly your supervisors goal is not (directly) moneySo what is motivating them?

  • Their goalsGiving back to the systemThey were well supervised, ...Creating a scientific legacyAmbassadors to spread their views, ...Multiplying their outputMy favourite programming language, ...

  • Their skillsThey vaguely know what it takes to get a PhDThey surely have one themselvesThey offer different skills over the life cycle of your PhD

  • Their skillsAt the startIdentifying a good questionKnowing what has already been doneAnticipating when a problem will be too hard or too easy

  • Their skillsIn the middleWatching over the bigger pictureNudging your in good directionsIdentifying common pitfalls (see later)Keeping an eye on the clock

  • Their skillsAt the endTelling you when to stopKnowing what a thesis looks likeAnticipating problem areas for your viva

  • Their hatesStudents who quitWasted effort all roundStudents who finish lateThey know writing up isnt that pleasantBut it needs to be done

  • Their inadequaciesSupervisors are only human tooThey are unable toread your mindmanage their timeremember much

  • Try to RememberThey are learning on the jobThere are no classes to be a supervisorThey have little experienceLike in medicine: do one, watch one, teach one

  • Manipulating your supervisorInform themScientific obstaclesPersonal obstacles

  • Manipulating your supervisorBe positiveYour supervisor is more likely to want to helpYoull feel better

  • Manipulating your supervisorWork hardThey will be more willing to work hard tooYoull more likely to get resultsA thesis is hard work

  • Manipulating your supervisorWriteInternal notesConference papersJournal articlesThey will find it hard to ignore paper

  • Manipulating your supervisorBe their ambassadorScientific contactsSocial networking

  • Manipulating your supervisorMake yourself invaluableReviewing papersHelping run conferencesRunning the lab/group

  • Great expectationsYour expectationsTheir expectations

  • Your expectationsIntellectual supportQuality assuranceTelling you when (not) to stopEmotional supportEncouragementConstructive environment

  • Their expectationsYou finishYou go on to superviseYour drafts lack spelling mistakes

  • Common pitfallsSolving the worldManna from heavenComputer bumIvory towerResearchers Bible, Alan Bundy et al.

  • Common pitfallsMisunderstood geniusLove of jargonIf I can do it, its trivialLove of complexityLost in abstractionAmbitious paralysisResearchers Bible, Alan Bundy et al.

  • Psychological hurdlesSelf confidenceResearch impotenceThin skinCold startTheorem envyFear of exposure

  • Dealing with conflictConflict is commonSupervision is like a marriageEven divorce is possible

  • Dealing with conflictCommunicateConflict often caused by breakdowns in communication

  • Dealing with conflictCompromiseThere are two of you in this marriage

  • Dealing with conflictSpeak to your second supervisorApproach a colleague of theirsFind your graduate officer

  • Dealing with conflictIf all else fails, you can change your supervisorFormally or informallyFunding may be an issue

  • Managing your careerYour supervisor is your best friendGetting your first jobGetting your second job...Your success is their success

  • Managing your careerUnlike a marriage, they expect (and want) you to leaveTo see you stand on your own feetMore like having children?

  • Managing your careerWhere to next?PostDocFacultyIndustrySeminary

  • Managing your careerYour supervisor doesnt know everythingExperience other labsShort visitsPost DocSabbatical

  • Managing your careerExploit mentorsSupervisorThesis committeeVisitors...

  • Managing your careerHelp othersYour scratch my back, ...ContributeOrganize workshopsGive tutorialsDevelop web resources, ...

  • Managing your careerSet goals, make plansStandard career pathsLess conventional pathsExpect the unexpected

  • ConclusionsUnderstanding your supervisorManipulating your supervisorGreat expectationsDealing with conflictManaging your career

  • The End