TakeruK

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TakeruK last won the day on November 15

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About TakeruK

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    Western Canada
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    Planetary Sciences

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  1. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do with the school that cancelled their program However, you said that you turned down other offers to other schools. Can you contact them now and let them know what happened? Maybe they will still have a spot for you.
  2. What goes on the CV?

    Good point. I only said "senior students" because I'm noticing more and more students in my field don't create research websites and online CVs until their 3rd year (first two years are too busy with quals and/or coursework). But probably was not a good idea to generalize this to everywhere!
  3. What goes on the CV?

    Look up a CV for a senior grad student in your field. I'm in a different field, but my CV when I was applying had: Education (list year, school name, degree name and thesis advisor/title if you had a thesis; no GPA) Awards (research fellowship awards, not academic awards) Research experience Publications and presentations Service/Leadership Other work experience (only had this on my grad app CV, I no longer have this section) --- I wouldn't put GPA and courses since they can be found in your transcript, unless you were specifically instructed to do so.
  4. I am in a different field, but as a Canadian applying to US PhD programs (after a Canadian Masters), I was similarly confused! When I emailed US profs, they often told me that the department doesn't admit people directly to a PI the same way as Canada. Instead, the department admits people to the school as a whole and people pick their advisors within the first X months (or years, depending on program). Even if a prof really wanted a student, they might have no control at all over the admissions process. I also found that this is even more true at private schools, where most profs have plenty of funding for students, and a lot of the funding will also come from the department, so the admissions process is a lot less like a job application since it's not the advisors/supervisors making the decisions. I had 7 US schools on my list and emailed 3 profs at each school. 1/3 of the responses were in-depth and positive, like the ones I received from Canadian profs. 1/3 were just short emails that said basically "apply and we can discuss this after decisions are made" and 1/3 were no response. Like @alissac88 said, in the US system, the discussion to determine who is taking students and what kind of projects are available happens after the student is admitted and when it's your turn to decide where to go. I was apprehensive at first, for the same reasons as you. You would write your SOP to speak about a general possible project, rather than a detailed specific dissertation project. Since most US programs admit PhD students directly from undergrad (Masters is a totally different thing), most schools do not expect students to have a thesis plan worked out until their 3rd year or so. The first two years of the US PhD is very similar to a Canadian Masters. So SOPs shouldn't be a thesis proposal (unless your field is different) at all. If you have ever applied for one of the Canadian tri-council awards, I would say the research proposal part of it is kind of like the award application proposal: you aren't bound to do that work at all. Instead, they just want to see whether you can develop a good academic argument for a project and to see where approximately your interests lie. For reference, in my SOP, I only wrote about my interests in potential PhD research questions and investigation methods and why they interest me. I did not write about any specific project at all. I think this is expected in my field. In the end, I changed my mind from thinking that Canadian direct-admit way was better to preferring the US open-admit method. It allows students to explore lots of potential projects and find something that works well for them. It is really good when people enter directly from undergrad since I think undergrad is a great place to be introduced to research but you don't generally get enough experience to really know your field enough to know what you want to do, instead of just what you are familiar with. Even if you have a Masters, it might be annoying to have to repeat some things, but the chance to try new things is great. In my program, we had to do 2 projects and defend them at the end of the first year (each project defense was very similar to my MSc thesis defense, however, the projects are meant to be proof of concept rather than a complete Masters project). After the first year, most people decide to choose one project/advisor to continue as their main thesis work but it's also possible to decide you didn't like either of them and do something different. I am glad for this chance since during this process I found the right project and advisor for me!
  5. What would you do if your University Professor cheat?

    I think you misunderstand what I said. A citation doesn't have to link to a paper. A citation is just information to tell the reader where to find a source of information. You can write citations to websites or anything, not just papers. So if a reader follows the citation that Davidenko gave for the 1997 work, they would find exactly what I linked to (after realising that it should be Feb 1997 not Jun 1997). The problem is not that the citation is false, the problem is that the citation is presented in a way that is misleading because it appears in a list with other more conventional full length papers, making a reasonable reader expect that this too is another full length paper. But this is a different offense than making up a citation.
  6. Tax Change Impact - Tuition Waivers Taxed!

    My PhD school grad student government had a lot of discussion on this. I was involved in it a lot until I graduated. My friends who are still there said it was on the agenda for every meeting of the relevant bodies (e.g. Deans, etc.) So at least at that school, there were tons of University-level administrator discussions on it. As I wrote in the math above, our taxable stipends will be $80k if tuition waivers are taxed and almost half of the student body (international students) will be hit with an extra $3000 in taxes (almost 10% of our stipend). In addition, while I was there, we advocated strongly for better financial support for graduate student parents. Part of the resources put together to help student-parents with the cost of child-care involves taking advantage of the Dependent Care Spending Account (i.e. $5000 of pre-tax income to be used for dependent childcare). This isn't available to non-resident alien taxpayers, unfortunately, but it's something. However, at least in the original draft of the bill, this benefit is also getting axed. So lots of very negative changes that are particularly relevant to my old school and student government. But this was all as of last week....I'm not in the US anymore so I don't get all the updates from my school. Hope it's going well. I could potentially be impacted since I received tuition waiver for the first half of 2017 (graduated in June). Heard that it might not take effect until 2018 tax year though, which would save me. But if I will owe a ton of taxes shortly, at least only having half of year of tuition waiver plus a "real" salary as a postdoc now will mitigate the impact (although the currency difference will suck).
  7. An international student with a US degree will have a higher chance of their school/program being known to their grad program, have a curriculum closer to what US programs expect (e.g. research experience) and a higher chance of making connections with US grad programs, etc. So the disadvantages mentioned above related to these factors are mostly diminished. However, the much bigger factor is the tuition difference between domestic and international students. As an international student with a US degree, you're just as expensive as an international student with a foreign degree. Perhaps there are some states that are exceptions, but I don't know of any state where an international person can gain state residency and access the cheaper tuition even if they have already been in the country for many years.
  8. What would you do if your University Professor cheat?

    Despite your claim, the Davidenko et al. (1997) citation is real (other than a typo on the date which should be February 1997 not June 1997). I will link to it again. Page 22 of this PDF: http://www.cell.com/biophysj/pdf/S0006-3495(97)78745-9.pdf I agree with you that I would not put such a paper in my "Peer reviewed articles" heading of my own CV. But in the current CV, it is correctly placed in abstracts. It's not as straight-forward though. The flagship journals in my field have acceptance rates of 85% or so. We don't publish conference proceedings, except for a few symposium, which generally are accepted as abstracts first (if so, publication rate is 100%, as long as the author chooses to submit). Abstracts are almost 100% (every member has the right to submit an abstract, so only nonsensical or irrelevant abstracts are omitted). Why am I saying this, even though astronomy is a very different field than biophysics? As a relatively junior person in my field (postdoc), I am very familiar with how publications are valued in my field. It sounds like you are very knowledgeable about the Cognitive Science Society publications. It is then reasonable, in my opinion, that whoever was evaluating Davidenko's CV in the late 1990s / early 2000s for things like graduate admissions and fellowships would also be knowledgeable about the publications in their field. Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect the evaluation committee to see these CV lines and realize that they are abstracts. For example, having the page number be "A320" instead of just a number is one indicator. So this is part of the reason why I don't think this error/potential deception is not a big deal. If the committee really cared about publication counts, they would be looking up these citations as I did (and as you tried to do). They would either not find them or find that the first one is an abstract published in a journal. If the committee did not care about publications, then the mis-categorization (whether intentional or accidental) of the abstract had no effect. Finally, no major decisions are made simply on one (or several) lines in a CV. Davidenko's application would have been supported by reference letters and such. Surely these letters would have said that Davidenko produced a conference abstract published in 1997 or something to that effect. Or, they would not have said that Davidenko published a paper if he did not. Alternatively, if one of my scenarios from above is true (i.e. Davidenko was on the 1995 project but then his work got shifted to another paper) then the letters would have reflected this. These are good concerns to bring up. Again, I agree with all of these premises, but only if the cheating is something that is 1) proven and 2) significant enough. Fabricating data, physical or emotional abuse, etc. are good reasons to raise these concerns. But in this case, based on unknown factors, the offense can be as minor as typo/absent-mindedness to as severe as intentional bending of the truth to pad one's CV. Even on the most extreme end, this is not a serious enough problem that would cause me to doubt someone's ability as an academic who can act with integrity. And in this case, there is not enough evidence to put this on the extreme end. I am not sure what else I can say and I don't know if I can convince you. You're certainly entitled to your own opinion.
  9. How important is it to have 3 LOR?

    The people who set the deadline and sit on the committees that determine admission are professors too. And these professors also have dozens of letters they need to write for their own students, postdocs, colleagues etc. So, it's common for committees to be forgiving on deadlines for the parts of the application that aren't submitted by the student. But as @GreenEyedTrombonist said, they probably won't advertise it (since everyone will take advantage) and you can't count on it. Generally, if you ask, "Can my letter arrive after the deadline?" the answer will be "No, everything must arrive by the deadline." But if your situation is something like "My letter writer had a family emergency and will not be able to submit on time", you might get "Okay, please submit as soon as possible and we will add it to your profile." As long as the dept doesn't receive too many applications that they just cut incomplete files to avoid extra work and as long as the application is complete before the committee starts to evaluate, then it is okay. Even in some cases, a committee **may** be willing to evaluate an incomplete application as long as it is complete before they make a decision. Sometimes, it's possible to make a determination on admission with only 2 out of 3 letters. Generally this isn't good for you though, so probably best to be avoided since you would want to include as many strengths in your application as possible! Personally I went with a 2-week, 2-day and day-after (if necessary) reminders. I did them in batches though (e.g. applications around Dec 1, Dec 15 and Jan 1 deadlines). I try to wait until the last batch's deadline has passed before reminding about future ones (i..e Dec 15 after Dec 1). Jan 1 was tricky since it's during the winter break for most schools. I sent those reminders right on Dec 16 and mentioned them at the 2-day reminder for Dec 15 deadlines.
  10. The way I read it, the top part is for things due on Nov 15. For these programs, everything, including supporting docs such as letters must be submitted by 5pm EST on Nov 15. The second part says there are some programs that have later closing dates as it appears in the chart. For these programs, the letters and other supporting docs are due 7 days after applying. If your program had a Nov 15 deadline, it's not too late. Many programs are not as strict with their deadlines as their rules seem to be for documents out of your control (e.g. letters). If your letter will be late, first contact your letter writer to remind them of the deadline. Then, contact the school to let them know that unfortunately one of your letters is late. It should be okay. One of my letter writers had a family emergency close to some deadlines and the school was okay with accepting the letters a few days late without needing to provide any reason at all.
  11. I have not heard of any program that will use an applicant's SOP against them if they change interests later on. Of course, any one of us has only their own experiences. But what you write in your SOP does matter a little bit. At some places it will matter more than others. Some schools don't really care what you write in your SOP in terms of research interest content because their goal is to just admit students and then figure out who will do what later. At these places, they would evaluate the research-interest part of your SOP as your ability to write about a research topic you want to study. How well do you frame the question and motivations? What do you know about the resources available? At other places, you might be admitted directly into a lab or research group so your SOP is extremely important. For one school I applied to, students are admitted with a funding commitment from a prof so my offer letter said that I was admitted with funding to specifically to work with Prof X or Y (I had to choose). In that case, since your funding is tied to your advisor/supervisor, then while you are not held to the letter of your SOP, you'll still have to work on something in the same general area since your advisor/supervisor controls your funding. There are also in-betweens where you are not admitted to a specific group but you do have to find a group (and funding) within some time frame (maybe 1-2 years, after some rotations etc.) So in this sense, you might be able to stray from your SOP even more. However, if the department admitted students in some proprotionality to faculty research interests, if you try to drastically change interests, you might find that all the spots in those groups were already taken by other students originally intending to work in those areas. But some of those students may also switch so it might work out. Summary: It is very unlikely that you will required to work on the specific/exact research topic you write about in your SOP (usually it may not even be possible to work on exactly what you propose). Depending on how funding and advisor distribution happens, which is specific to each program, you may have leeway to work on a topic related to what you wrote about or maybe even something completely different. The more your funding is tied to a professor's grant or other research money, the less leeway you have, generally. (Even if all of your income is not connected to a professor, you will still cost them their time so you still won't have complete freedom).
  12. What would you do if your University Professor cheat?

    @Ibn Al-Haytham: In my response above, I did provide a link to "Citation A", which you did see later (since you responded to it): I agree with you that there is a big difference in terms of acceptance rate and effort invested. In my field, when a journal publishes abstracts in an issue like this, they are usually just accepted with very little review (but not zero review) and modifications. However, it is still published as an article in a journal. I linked directly to the PDF where you can read the scanned abstract from the published journal. I also agree with you that this is not a traditional Journal Manuscript. However, that is not what the CV says it is. I have to assume that since it appears in an issue of a peer reviewed journal then it is a peer reviewed article (even if it was only a cursory review). In any case, my problem with your depiction of this offense (I'm assuming you are the author now, but correct me if I'm wrong). You claim this is making up a publication. I would say the offense is not being clear in the CV that this publication is not like the other peer reviewed ones. This is a very minor CV padding offense that is very far from the offense you're claiming. A similar offense might be a graduate student / postdoc who lists some "invited talks" even though they were not "invited" in the traditional way. For example, they might be in town for some other reason and contacted the university there. The university says, "sure, come give a talk at our seminar series while you're here" since as a multiple-time seminar organizer, I know how nice it is to have speakers we don't have to pay for. The seminar organizer sends out the typical "invite to speak" paperwork and voila, you're an invited speaker! However, this is quite different from other invited speakers, where the seminar organizing committee sits down and debate who should be invited because we have limited funds. But in the end it doesn't matter: both speakers can list their seminar as an "invited talk" if they want to, since the details are fuzzy enough to count either way. If you don't agree that it is minor, then fine, that is your prerogative. But you are not the gatekeeper that gets to decide what is minor and what is major. I'm not either---I'm just providing my perspective. For "Citation B", I don't have anything new to add but neither do you. I don't think we can get any further by repeating what we've found, so I will just say what I said above: you're choosing the least charitable scenario and asking everyone to believe your version when there isn't enough proof for it. For cases like this, those making the accusations should be the one responsible for providing the evidence. Your version has just as many "maybes" as the more innocent interpretation. So without evidence either way, why should the community believe the worst possible scenario? Again, it may not be a minor mistake to you but it's not up to you to decide what is right and what is wrong. ---- To add something new to the discussion. My philosophy for breaches like this is that the consequences of a breach of integrity should be 1) designed to protect the community from further breaches and 2) be proportionate to the severity of the breach. Protecting the community has several facets. One of them is to reverse whatever wrongdoing/harm that has been done as best as possible. For this case, the wrongdoing was 20+ years ago, so it might not really be possible to reverse it. I think one major step is that the CV has been changed to correct the errors. In an ideal world with time travel and unlimited resources, we would have all of the evaluation committees of this person re-evaluate the CV without the incorrect citations. Of course, this is not possible, so the next best thing is to ask whether or not the incorrectly formatted lines made a big enough difference in the evaluation. This is also not strictly possible but it's certainly something that could be considered by the persons responsible for determining consequences. Perhaps this has already been done. My opinion on these integrity matters has changed over time and was heavily influenced by my PhD school's process. At my school, if the process found a student was guilty of cheating on one question on an exam, the result is that the student gets zero on that single question (to negate any unfair advantage) but the rest of the exam is graded normally. This is provided that the investigation and consequences process found that the student has realised their mistake and has agreed to take further action to address whatever issues that caused them to cheat. In this instance, there is no need to fail them or take other extreme measures. In my opinion, if a school takes a strict zero-tolerance approach, it will just encourage TAs, professors and other students to cover up minor offenses. Of course, if the cheating student was not remorseful and did not accept that their actions were unfair, then more severe consequences up to expulsion can be considered in order to protect the integrity of the academic community. This is why I think response should be proportional to severity. This is why I don't think the article's call for action against the professor is justified. A minor offense requires a minor intervention that corrects the mistakes on the CV. The people responsible for discipline at their institution should determine if they believe that incorrect CV lines unfairly altered the course of their degree. The article seems to call for dismissal of this professor, which does not reflect my view on how breaches of academic integrity should be investigated and responded to at all.
  13. What would you do if your University Professor cheat?

    My first reaction was: Yikes. I am sad to hear about cases like this. My second reaction was: Is this website/article the only report of this case or has it been reported elsewhere and details corroborated by another source? After the initial reaction, I went to see if I could find instances of this reported elsewhere, but did not find anything. I would be concerned that the author of this article has some personal vendetta against this person and is digging up pretty obscure details of their past. (I'm not sure if you, @Ibn Al-Haytham, is also the author of this article, or if you're just linking to it). Summary: I don't think this is a big deal at all and I think the author of this article is presenting minor mistakes as motivated wrongdoing without any substantial evidence. Please see below for a fact check of the article. Since this post is now super long, I'm presenting my main summarized thoughts up here. In the linked article, the author brings up a concern of CV fabrication and coverup by universities. However, the case in question is hardly clear evidence of this happening. Based on my fact-check below, there is only one instance where there could have been a deliberate attempt to claim credit for something the professor did not do, although there are plenty of benign explanations that also fit. This seems much more like a case of sloppy CV record keeping and making mistakes one really shouldn't make. And although I agree with the linked article's author that integrity is extremely important and once someone does something academically unethical, their other actions do become suspect. However, one clearly cannot group all questionable acts together. Even if the prof in question did knowingly leave the one incorrect item in their CV in an attempt to boost it, this is a very minor offense that does not lead me to question everything else the professor did. In addition, I do not think such small differences gave the prof in question any real unfair advantage. Overall, I think the linked article contains a lot of speculation, especially about the prof in question's motives, which the author cannot know. It also presents minor issues as major ones with little argument to back that up and arbitrarily decides on the worst possible outcome when facts are unknown (without acknowledging other explanations). Altogether, it seems like an irresponsible article to have published. ---- Here's what I did to fact-check the article ---- It was a long article but the two main problems the author pointed out with the CV is 1) the person in question put some conference abstracts under conference proceedings in the CV and 2) the person in question claimed authorship of 2 articles they did not author. For #1. I don't think there is any wrongdoing here at all. Looking at the archived CV, under "peer-reviewed conference proceedings", the professor makes it clear that there are two types of things being listed, "Talk presented at ..." and "In Proceedings....". To me, this clearly shows that the ones with only "Talk presented at..." are not published proceedings. It's legitimate to call them peer-reviewed because conferences use peer review to select which abstracts are going to be scheduled as talks. In the article, the author uses their own definition of Proceedings and cites Wikipedia, but these are certainly not the only (nor the only acceptable) definition. For #2. I decided to do my own digging since I could not find details corroborated by any other source. The article's author objects to two publications: A. Davidenko, N., Beaumont, J., Davidenko, J.M., and Jalife, J. (1997). Spatio-temporal evolution of spiral wave activity. Biophys. J. 72:2 A370, June 1997. B. Beaumont, J., Davidenko, N., Davidenko, J.M., and Jalife, J. (1995). A model study of changes in excitability of ventricular muscle cells with repetitive stimulation. Inhibition, facilitation, and hysteresis. Am. J. Physiol. 268; 37:H1-H14, 1995. I started with Publication A. Unlike the article's author, I was able to easily find this publication within 5 minutes of searching. Here's what I did. I went to the journal's website. I searched back issues to look for Volume 72, Issue 2. It turns out that there was a meeting and the abstracts of presentations were published in the Biophys J. As a special issue, probably (normal in my field too). With the page number being "A370", it was just a matter of searching through the long list of PDFs organized by session to determine which one A370 belonged to. I found it on Page 22 of this file: http://www.cell.com/biophysj/pdf/S0006-3495(97)78745-9.pdf The main problem with this line in the CV was that the published issue of Biophys J. is February 1997 but the CV says June 1997. Benign typo, or perhaps misunderstanding of dates. I have a conference presentation from 2013 that was accepted for publication as proceedings but did not appear in print until 2014 (appeared online in 2013). The secondary problem is that despite publication in a peer-reviewed journal, at least in my field, this is not a typical peer reviewed journal article. However, this is minor issue at the level of "CV padding", not a grave ethical breach that would cause me to doubt everything about this person. It is far less serious than the original claim that the person in question simply fabricated the manuscript. In any case, nothing to ring alarm bells about at all. Publication B is a little more tricky. I was not able to find the publication as cited by the person in question. It may not exist or I might just not be familiar enough with this field's journals (I notice that the American Journal of Physiology has many subdivisions). The author of the article claims that Publication B as cited is a misrepresentation of another article with a similar title but a different author list. I noticed that Publication B, as cited, quotes page numbers H1-H14. Volume 268 doesn't have page H1-H14 and it doesn't even have Issue 32, as far as I know. This makes me suspect a typo. Also, while it's possible to be the first 14 pages, sometimes drafts/proofs are numbered from page 1 (or A1 or H1 or whatever). Perhaps the person in question, in 1995, when they are at an early stage of their career (an undergrad) simply did not know that the page numbers on a draft manuscript did not actually represent the final published page numbers and they just continued to copy and paste the same CV line for decades. I also know from experience that sometimes as manuscripts and projects evolve, author lists change. Maybe the person in question was removed from the author list but didn't know it. Or maybe there is another article out there and this was just a typo. Note that these page numbers and the author list appear very similar to a 1998 publication also on the CV (see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9649363). Maybe the 1995 project that the person in question contributed to was split into two works, one published in 1995 and the other part (where the author got moved to) was published in 1998. Sometimes this happens in my field because the project hit some snags or the lead author had to prioritize other things. So maybe at one point, the person in question was a co-author on the 1995 work but then failed to remove the listing from the CV after the project evolved. Again, this is careless behaviour and disappointing to see in another academic. But at this time, the person in question was a undergraduate student and I know I made lots of dumb mistakes like that. This person should have corrected their CV once they knew better but I don't know all the details, so I can't really judge. That said, I can't rule out malicious intent like the article linked here suggested, but that's certainly not the only plausible explanation. I don't think it is a good idea for the article's author to only present the worst possible scenario and then conjure up some motivations that are not backed up in any way. It's fine to point out that the prof in question should have known better but it's a little far fetched to make the other claims. And I think it's downright irresponsible to present the worst possible case as the only scenario without even considering other explanations.
  14. Definitely. In fact, at my PhD school, some faculty members said something to this effect during a student recruitment weekend (not in my dept though). It was reported to the Title IX office and action was taken to remedy the situation (action proportionate to the deeds, so it's not like anyone lost their job or anything of course). I had thought about mentioning it in my original post but the OP should not feel like they need to be the one to report it and potentially make their life/relationship with this prof even more problematic. So I left it out. But what he said was certainly wrong.
  15. It's always nice to hear updates. Sorry that the prof is trying to make it more difficult for you. But I am glad that ultimately, you will be able to choose what's best for you. The prof might not like it but with comments like, "if you're not planning to get pregnant again", I don't see much reason to be on their "good side" and even if you do what they ask, they will probably still be upset at you.