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12 minutes ago, Eigen said:

Honestly, I think shorter signatures are in general better. Why does anyone need your snail mail address in an email signature?

Also, are you currently employed as a (ranked faculty) Instructor in addition to being a student?

Technically yes, though it's part of a TAship. I'm an independent instructor in my courses. Since very few grad students get chosen to be instructors, I thought I should use the title and look impressive. ?

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Just to note, there's a difference between being the instructor of record (teaching s course by yourself), and being an "Instructor", which at most schools is a full time or part time member of the faculty. Basically, it's the "an instructor" vs "an Instructor" difference. I've never heard of it going along with a TAship, but that doesn't mean it isn't done  

You may well know this and be using it correctly, but it would be a pretty big faux pas to use the title of Instructor if you were not hired as one, just like it would be to use the title of Professor. It definitely looks impressive, it can just as easily backfire if you use it wrong. 

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15 hours ago, Eigen said:

Why does anyone need your snail mail address in an email signature?

Honestly, I have no clue. And yet, the standard email signature at my current institution (note that I'm faculty there) is something with your name, preferred pronouns (in some parts of campus), position, department, mailing address, phone number, fax number, and email address. The way it's formatted there, it doesn't take that many lines because some of that all goes on one line but, yea, it struck me as weird. And then I just adopted it because it's what everyone else does. I just only select that signature when communicating with people outside the institution. I have an entirely different signature for teaching.

So, for reference, this is the formatting on the "public" signature:

My name, Ph.D. (preferred pronouns)
Position, Department
University mailing address
Phone | Fax | Email

For teaching, this is the signature I use:
My name, Ph.D. (preferred pronouns)
Position, Department
Office location
Office hours
 

I still include office hours in my teaching signature because it's the number one thing I get asked after an initial reply to a student's query and I got sick of typing "It's on the syllabus and the LMS". Now, they typically don't even ask because it's right underneath my reply to their question.

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My current institution's standard signature format also includes our snail mail address and a bunch of not really necessary stuff. I only use it for internal communications. I work for a national-lab-like place with institutions all over the country, so I suppose the snail mail address is helpful when contacting centralized services (e.g. HR is run out of headquarters, which is somewhere else) so that the reader kinds of know which one of the many campuses I am at. 

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@rising_star Yeah, that's standard at my school(s) too, but I never picked up on it. It seems a lot more common with more senior faculty than junior faculty where I am, while a lots more junior faculty link to a website/calendar. 

I don't do office hours in my signature, partially because they aren't the same for different classes, but also because I really want to push my students to read the syllabus. 

My current signature doesn't have degree either, looking at yours, just:

Eigen Grad

Assistant Professor, Department

School

Office # / email 

 

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Whoa, @Eigen, you do different office hours for different classes? That's something that would both confuse me and lead me to have even more office hours than I already do! (Also, my last department sounds more like your current department in that, rather than a list of office hours, people just included a link to their Google Calendar so students could click that and make an appointment. I've gone back and forth between requiring appointments and letting students drop in unannounced but never decided which was better.)

I think a key takeaway for new grad students trying to set up an email signature is to look into the culture of your department first and see if there are any norms that people follow. If there aren't, go with what you want, making sure to include the basic information (your name, your department) and perhaps customizing additional pertinent information (e.g., office location, position, etc.) as necessary.

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Continuing the aside, I do some general office hours and some targeted. For lab classes, I offer special office hours for data analysis evenings after lab when I expect people come in groups. I don't turn people not in that class away, I just target my advertised availability.

My current policy is that my schedule is taped on my door, and I will take walking when my door is open. I also schedule office hours based on a doodle poll about 2 weeks into the semester, and pick the most popular times (that I am willing to offer) that all my students can make. Mostly evenings. 

Adding to the takeaway, I feel like there's a general trend in academia towards disliking over-credentials get, to the point that you're more likely to ruffle feathers with an overly detailed signature than none at all. So I would suggest a bias to the light end, and add more if you get told (or feel) it's necessary and useful. 

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4 hours ago, rising_star said:

Whoa, @Eigen, you do different office hours for different classes? That's something that would both confuse me and lead me to have even more office hours than I already do!

I thought this was the norm, and it was only reading posts on TheGradCafe that I realised that some places/disciplines(?) have profs with general office hours. My experience at all of my schools (in Canada and US) was that each course had a specific prof office hour (singular) and a specific TA office hour. The prof office hour is usually the hour right after the class on one of the days during the week. No profs ever had general office hours for students not in that specific course to drop in (so I didn't understand the advice to go talk to profs during office hours to get a letter or something). If you needed/wanted to meet with a prof and it wasn't about a class, then you would have to email to set up an appointment. Or, if you couldn't make it to the office hour, you would also email for an appointment. 

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11 hours ago, TakeruK said:

I thought this was the norm, and it was only reading posts on TheGradCafe that I realised that some places/disciplines(?) have profs with general office hours. My experience at all of my schools (in Canada and US) was that each course had a specific prof office hour (singular) and a specific TA office hour. 

Wow! It's interesting how different experiences are. That hasn't been my experience at any of the three institutions I've attended or the three I've been faculty at. Our faculty handbook actually specifies the number of office hours each person must have (which is based on how many classes you teach per semester). I guess I could divide that into specific office hours for each class but that seems excessively complicated to me. FWIW, I do teach a lab science class, in addition to teaching social science courses so I'm not even sure it's a strictly disciplinary divide...

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry to resurrect an old thread here, but what is the convention for the "title" of a first-year PhD program student? It's a direct-entry program, and I do not yet have a Master's. I know that I am not yet a "PhD candidate," but am I a "PhD student" or a "MA candidate" ...?

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  • 3 months later...
On 11/29/2017 at 3:43 PM, Eigen said:

Not all Canadian universities work the way Ottawa seems to, and even at Ottawa there are program based differences. The Chemistry department at Ottawa (and most of the rest of the sciences), for instance, has a comprehensive exam that marks advancement to candidacy- so a chemistry PhD student using "candidate" at Ottawa during the first few years before they pass the comprehensive exam would be using it improperly. 

McGill certainly has advancement to candidacy/candidacy exams in a number of departments. 

This also might make you re-think how you read "student" relative to "candidate", since you may well be mis-interpreting people at your own school outside of your department. 

This works if the student is in a PhD program, or if they are transferring from Masters to PhD without completing the Masters, because both of those situations require them to pass the comprehensive exam. 

For a masters program however, there is no comprehensive exam (1 or 2-year programs). We could say that the candidacy is evaluated at the entry. 

Also, some students enrolled in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine Masters needed to have their ''permission to write'' before calling themselves a ''candidate'' for M.Sc.

I agree, there is a lot of variation between universities and departments even. To a new student, I would suggest verifying with the department and supervisor. 

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  • 2 years later...

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