• August 28, 2016

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August 28, 2016, 12:37:25 pm *
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News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
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 on: Today at 12:33:55 pm 
Started by fred2058 - Last post by puget
Without much context on the lab manager's behavior it's hard to know exactly what's going on here, so I'll start by saying it is obviously never OK to create a hostile work environment, and if you feel you are being harassed or the lab manager has created a hostile environment based on gender,  you should know your Title IX rights and how to report the problem. Regardless, you should absolutely have control over what you are called-- have you firmly but politely asked the lab manager to not call you "babe"?  I also agree some of the words you report him/her using, such as retarded, are not the most sensitive terms and should be avoided.

However, it sounds possible here is that you are mostly just experiencing a difference in lab cultures, with more joking around and informality than you are used to. Do others in lab meeting join in in joking around and using informal language? In my postdoc lab we were very informal together, and  you would have definitely heard the occasional swear word in meeting. I don't think that made us unprofessional, context is important-- we would of course not have done that in front of participants or outside colleagues. Some lab cultures are much more formal and perhaps you are coming from one of those and just need to adapt to a less formal dynamic. But again, without much context, it is impossible to know if there is instead a bigger problem here.

Finally, I agree with greyscale that you need to be careful of seeming like tasks are beneath you, even as you work to protect your time and clarify your role in the lab. That's what I meant about being a team playing when you can. I think a good rule of thumb is if it would take you longer to explain why you shouldn't have to do something than to actually do it you should just do it (this would apply to greyscale's taking out the bio trash example). There are also certain tasks that everyone needs to pitch in on. For example,  in my postdoc lab we all took a certain number of evening and weekend participant slots, regardless of "rank", and coincident with my leaving for my new position, the rest the lab was moving across the country, and we all spend the last few weeks of my time there sorting, packing and recycling. Did I need a PhD to do that work? No, but it needed to be done and we all needed to help make that happen. However, other types of tasks that were ongoing time-consuming responsibilities, like scheduling participants and data entry, were clearly not good uses of my time and could be done by others, so I didn't do those things and spent time writing etc. instead. Well-run labs tend to explicitly talk through how to divide up tasks so as to make the best use of everyone's time. It sounds like your lab is well overdue for such a discussion.

Good luck and keep us posted on how the discussion with your PI goes.

 on: Today at 12:31:43 pm 
Started by chron7 - Last post by glowdart
It's hard, jimtheprof, because you've just been through the ringer. Physically and emotionally, you're wiped out. And what do you get for it? More work at most places, along with a paltry raise, maybe. It's an anticlimactic end to an exhausting process wherein you have to evaluate yourself and be evaluated and scrutinized. High stakes... With no real change once you're through it. But you know a lot about your colleagues and they know a lot about you and now you get to work together for 30 years! Yay!

And while you do have more freedom, somewhat, than you might have felt you did pretenure, it's not like there's some wonderland waiting post-tenure where you can say what you want whenever you want. You still have to maintain working relationships, still have to play the games, and now you get the added burden of protecting your junior colleagues from your campus's particular flavor of bulls***, which means you have to watch the political and emotional capital that you spend because you are now not just looking out for you. You are a de facto leader on campus whether you want to be or not, and that means you get dragged into things that only the tenured people deal with, assuming a moderately functional workplace.

And this is all assuming you're not at a place where you get immediately dropped into service gigs that only tenured people can do.

There are a lot of nice parts about being tenured, but that first year is just hard even when you don't have a contentious case.

 on: Today at 12:28:57 pm 
Started by the_swede - Last post by goaswerfraiejen
Finding out about it at the last minute sucks, but I can see how that happens--after all, class schedules aren't always available for consultation or registration until pretty late in the game. Be glad it wasn't after add/drop, after several weeks of class.

The requested accommodation seems perfectly reasonable to me. The annoyances are annoyances, nothing more. If you have several of these devices, great. If not, no big deal. When a student asks a question, repeat the question yourself, with your device active. Then answer it. It's not hard, not very time-consuming, and a good exercise--plus, it helps the other students too because often student questions are kind of garbled, miss the mark but are in the vicinity of something interesting, or gasp hard to hear.

When there's group work to be done, leave the device with this student's group. They'll sort it out.

As for videos and captioning... how many videos are you showing, really? Many will already have captioning, or transcripts can be found online. Or--horror of horrors--you could give a list of the videos to the disabilities office so that they can have transcripts made for the student, or so that the student can watch them with an interpreter, or...

Seriously, this is no big deal for you. As tuxedo_cat points out, however, it's a BFD for the student, who probably has to go through this charade five times a semester every year.

 on: Today at 12:14:56 pm 
Started by yawo1964 - Last post by southerntransplant
I think you also have to make sure that you spend at least 80% of your budgeted time on the project.

 on: Today at 11:56:52 am 
Started by the_swede - Last post by geoteo
This semester, I have a completely deaf student in introductory biology.  It hasn't been a problem at all.  Some of the students are learning to sign things like "Hi!" and the interpreter works with her team in lab.  I make sure to be face-on to her when I need to tell her something, but otherwise, the class rolls on.  We have a good time, and learning is accomplished by everyone.  I really think it depends on how willing you are to become comfortable with adaptations, and how glad you are to have that student (an Honors student!  You are lucky!) in class.

 on: Today at 11:48:59 am 
Started by fiona - Last post by nescafe
"So I am not wrong - LOL!"

He sounds like he's got the sharp wit and comedic timing of the average 12 year old. Ooof.

 on: Today at 11:46:15 am 
Started by voxprincipalis - Last post by nescafe
Oh hell no. It's too early on a Sunday morning for me to be dealing with your racism.

Please go elsewhere, please.

 on: Today at 10:57:18 am 
Started by melba_frilkins - Last post by nezahualcoyotl
Pasta Threat


 on: Today at 10:45:36 am 
Started by the_swede - Last post by craftyprof
I like the multiple devices suggestion and agree you should advocate for that - particularly for student presentations and small group discussions and times where students may speak at length.

For quick comments and questions, you can also adopt the practice of repeating what the student says.  Given the prevalence of mumblers and soft talkers among my students, it's probably a good habit for us all.

 on: Today at 10:17:45 am 
Started by the_swede - Last post by caracal

I just want to follow up on the word "reasonable". Years ago we had quite a few disagreements with the people in our accommodations' office. We finally had a meeting with the director which was very helpful for everyone. They learned of some lab-specific issues and one thing that stuck with me is how they described "reasonable",

It's not about what you or I think it means. It's about what the Federal government thinks is reasonable. If there were a lawsuit and it was decided that the accommodation was indeed reasonable and the instructor chose to ignore the official recommendation, then there would be serious repercussions for the college.

Yes, the instructor is not the final arbiter of what is or is not reasonable, which underscores the importance of meeting with the DD.

I think you should think of your role in this meeting as that of an advocate for the student and for your class. Ask a lot of questions. For example:
Does distance matter? Can the student hear fine fairly close? Does the room matter? Does it matter if the student can clearly see everyone around a table or something? If the amplifier is going to be necessary for anyone talking, I'd be inclined to start turning it around and asking the disabilities office for more. Maybe you could get a couple amplifiers so students could pass them around more easily? Or perhaps there is some different technology that might work better for this class. Bring the student into it and make it clear you are on his side. Don't make this about the individual versus the group. You want to make the class work for him and that means making it run as smoothly as possible.

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