Monday, May 31, 2021

Interesting article on academic bullying

I stumbled upon this article on academic bullying on Twitter thanks to Charlie Ebersole. Needless to say, it is a discouraging document to read. That said, it is quite valuable, as in a real important and tangible sense, you are getting to read something of an oral history of the experience of early career researchers (primarily graduate students and post-docs). I agree with Dr. Ebersole that this is a very difficult issue, and one where those with actual power seem unwilling to confront what is going on in their own departments and universities. As someone who went to two different graduate programs (one for my MA in Experimental Psychology and the other for a PhD in Social Psychology), I can say that I had very different experiences in each program. My experience at CSU Fullerton was very positive. I had a helpful advisor and mentor, and I learned a lot from not only my advisor, but the other faculty with whom I worked. I would not trade that experience for anything. My experience at University of Missouri during the late 1990s was a bit different, and I will spare you the details.I did certainly learn a few lessons, although perhaps not the ones that I had expected when I began. Somehow, a culture of keeping one's head down and remaining passively silent is not one conducive to intellectual or emotional well-being, and I can certainly empathize with those who left their situations embittered. I made a promise to myself that I would never treat early career researchers (grad students and post-docs, in particular) negatively, but would instead be constructive and nurturing. I never quite had the opportunity to put that in practice. Such is life. I try to practice a form of patience and grace with my undergrads instead, and also serve as someone to share potential red flags to be on the lookout for just in case any of them do go into research-oriented graduate programs. That is perhaps good enough.

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