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Should I change my main supervisor and stand up against her?


User: Lydia2345 - 10 November 2020 08:50

Hello everyone, I want to have some pieces of advice if possible.So few months ago my professor told me that two of my research projects have been probably leaked by one of her master's students (who has already heavily plagiarized a document in the past).No action has been taken "only giving a bad grade to the student", and my supervisor kept on minimizing the importance of this issue (not a big deal, it's not like they copied your data or your final paper). I remained calm and I didn't inform anyone in my uni or my lab to protect the reputation of my supervisor, and her lab. In addition, I have said to my supervisor that the research environment was not stimulating for me, her answer was that she made some mistakes choosing some students "including one PhD peer", she literally said that : "X is a bad researcher, and this might be due to the fact that he comes from a developing country", thing that deeply shocked me (She actually said that about me as well a couple of times). My supervisor is also very subtile in the way she's bullying me, saying that I'm not good enough, or that I'm far from being exemplary...etc. Recently, she wanted to help for the data collection by suggesting my project to undergrads as a practical case, but only if I meet a certain deadline, which I did! My supervisor even said that I've done a really good job with the documents. Two days later, she emailed me complaining about the amount of work she's putting into my project (which really surprised me because she sent me a simple PowerPoint page with all MY ideas in there). She indirectly threatened me, and said that if the undergraduates change anything in my work, she will add them as co-authors. I replied by saying that I absolutely didn't want other students to become co-authors of a project I worked on so hard!! I almost forgot to say that my supervisor is micromanaging every detail of my work (for her it's the only way to publish in top journals), and she takes weeks to provide a detailed feedback, so I didn't make any progress. When I asked for a bit more flexibility, she was so mad, and told me that if I wanted to be creative, I had to work on my own, and that she will cut fundings for projects she doesn't believe in (not of sufficient quality for publication in top journals). In addition she will supervise all her PhD students less. When I kindly replied to her email explaining the reasons why I asked for more flexibility and why changing lab was also an option I've considered, she attacked me saying that no one ever did anything bad to me in her lab, that it was never her intention to add undergrads as co-authors, and that I should stop attacking other innocent seminar members. I felt so hurt and powerless... So I spoke out against the treatment I'm having for months now (Without ever criticizing my supervisor, I actually said that I didn't want her to have any problems),but I'm afraid that the adminstration will justify the way my supervisor's acting.

User: Em89 - 10 November 2020 10:08

I think you've handled this as well as you could on your own, between you both as professionals and now is the time to get further help. Speak to your students union and your PGR leads. They can advise you on where to take this next. It may just be that she is not the right supervisor for you, but her comments that you've included do speak to a much larger issue.





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