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Regarding Ph D studies MC2

Status: Avslutad
Öppen för svar: 2011-09-19 - 2011-10-02
Antal svar: 29
Procent av deltagarna som svarat: 58%
Kontaktperson: Krzysztof Szczerba»

1. Do you think that there is anything that has to be changed or improved about the department duty and teaching duties for Ph.D. students at the MC2 department?

- no»
- No, not really.»
- It should be made more clear what is really department duty and how it is distributed. Today, it doesn"t seem really fair.»
- More collaboration between professor and PhD student. Beeing a slave for the professor brings down the motivation...»
- See next item. »
- Well, it wouldn"t hurt if there were more opportunities to do teaching.»
- No.»
- I think that clearer rules would be good. Maybe they exist, but then they should be presented in a better way. What I want to know is how much departmental duty and teaching that is required or desired. Is there any lower limit? Is 10% a minimum to graduate? And if there was a limit I think people would be more interested in helping out with for instance clean room guiding, since the would need the hours of department work to graduate. »
- Yes, department duties must be organised more properly at the begining of academic year. So that work is distributed evenly among PhD students. Some times,need of dept work arises which has not been forseen before hand and then it is transferred to any available phd student. Dept duties could be organised both at group levels and Dept levels.»
- No»
- I think the dept. duty and teaching takes too much time, considering every Ph.D student has to take 60 credits" course. This is a big load which is not quite related to research, especially for those who got their master degree in MC2, which means they has already gone through many of the department courses.»
- Not really. I think that the system works fine.»
- "Department duty": What definition are you refering to? You suggest a definition in 3 below. Honestly I do not know exactly how it works at MC2 for anybody else than myself.»
- Responsibilities should be made clear. Shall the student define what is included and how many hours have been spent? The department needs to take responsibility to define department duty for each student, and how many hours should be spent.»
- I think everyone should be required to teach at some point.»
- It is unclear to what extent Ph.D. students need to track time spent on this. By the hour with full specifications? An approximation? »
- It would be good with a system that keep track of the teaching duties so that a "teaching portfolio" easily could be obtained in the end.»
- No it is ok. Possibly there is to little teaching.»
- No, being honest it is good as it is and better don"t change it because it can be only worse.»
- No»
- It is nice that Phd students are encouraged to do teaching, but linking it to the targeted duration of the phd is not very good. Especially since there are newer enough teaching available for all students. »
- I think the current system is appropriate.»
- no»
- Not really.»
- There is a need for practical guidelines regarding "what is" and "what is not" department duty. The guidelines should also inform about how to calculate the reported time. Example: 2hours of classroom teaching(excercise=factor 2) should be reported as 4 hours, but it takes at least 6 hours to prepare such a lecture. What time should then be reported? 4hours (not fair according to me), or 4+6=10hours? Reporting only 4hours leads to badly prepared lectures which will reflect negatively on Chalmers as a school.»
- The possibility of teaching should be distributed more equally. How is it possible that someone gets an entire extra year and someone gets only one month? There may be differences in skills among the PhD student (being able to speak swedish for example) but in that case they should be clearly stated somewhere. The impression I have is that you need to have the "right supervisor" in order to enter the teachers club.»
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2. The targeted duration of doctoral education at Chalmers is 4 years, prolonged by the time spent on department duties. This is called the 4+ system. What do you think about it?

- i think its fine»
- On the one hand the new system is more fair, since in the old system (with fixed time of five years) the actual time spent on research could differ between departments depending on how much time was spent on other duties. On the other hand, four years seems to be a bit too tight for most PhD students, and even if they finish on time, they quit when they are the most productive. Thus, setting the target to five years (+prolonging by duty time) might lead to a very productive fifth year, as well as being fair.»
- That seems reasonable. But it should be clear what you are aiming for, and if 5 years is decided in the beginning, one should indeed get that, not depending on people giving you enouhg dep. duty.»
- Stressful. Creates uncertainty, in particular because of the power imbalance between student and professor. And then there is always the fight about who funds the extra time. Sigh!»
- I think it"s a good system.»
- The system has worked fine for me. »
- Good.»
- It"s appropriate system. Since part of PhD education is also to gain the ability to teach. With Dept duties related to teaching this objective can be met. This in contrast to some other systems where PhD can be achieved in ~3-4 years. So with Chalmers system its a prolonged phd but with broader capabilities of students which is a good part.»
- The idea is nice, but much longer compared to other systems/countries. A 3+2 system would be more competetive (three years "mandatory" plus two optional coupled to department work). Denmark has only 2+1 and Germany has 3 years incl. 50% departmental work, with possibility to extend (which is very common) up to six years. A lot of people are scared of by 4+1 years, even if it"s next to the average time in their own country. But I also realise, that many people here prolong their 4+1 years even more! So if the preset limit would be lower, maybe more people would be encouraged to finish in 5 years or less!»
- Four year is just enough for a quality Ph.D study. It is a bit unfair that the Ph.D diploma is related to the activies that are not so academic.»
- Good system!»
- Fair for some. Somebody must pay the salary. A good definition of the department duty is good to have then.»
- It is ok. But make sure students are offered equal opportunities to do 4+1 rather than some have 4+0.5. Doing 5 years instead of 4 benefits the quality of the thesis.»
- I think it should be abondoned. It"s better to say 5 years from the beginning since the "+" doesn"t apply anyway.»
- It is good to have a target duration. However, the prolongation time becomes uncertain, see answer to Q1 above. It creates an uncertainty when your employment is extended at the last minute etc.»
- It is good.»
- It is ok. Although it is difficult to get 20% departmental duty.»
- It is good and don"t fix it.»
- OK»
- it is more than enough.»
- It does not work very well, since in reality it is impossible to plan a 4 or 5 year research project. And especially since you never seem to know just how much department duty you can expect to do. If the supervisor have the available funds to employ the phd student for the full 5 years it would be be much less stressful if they could decide if the phd project should be 4 or 5 years.»
- Too long.... the study period in other countries such as UK is only 3 years »
- I think could be better to have just 4 years without spent to much time in the department duty»
- Its ok.»
- From older PhD students I understand that there are problems with the 4+ year regarding duration depending on how previous d.d. is calculated. »
- I think it is a very advanced system compared to that of most european universities where there is a strict three years contract.»
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3. Defining department duty

We need to clearly define what is included in the department duty, apart from teaching. A suggested definition is that it is everything that is necessary to continue research, but it is not research itself (e.g. upkeep of the labs, shipping equipment for repair, preparing tender processes, evaluating equipment in tender process). Do you agree with this definition?

- maybe»
- I agree, but would like to extend it. Sometimes I have been asked to perform duties that are neither research nor necessary to continue research, e.g. party planning, administrative meetings. A wider definition would be "everything that is not research itself".»
- I think the definition should be any work that the student is told to do for MC2 which is not related his / her thesis work. Indeed, department duty ordered can be quite far fetched from "necessary to continue research".»
- Yes there is a lot of work done that is not counted as departemental work but also doesnt give anything to my research.»
- In principle good, but it is riddled with possible misunderstandings. Need mechanisms for clarity. Being the "engineer" is sometimes, but not always part of the research. »
- Hard to say. I"m a theoretician, so it"s hard for me to judge what would be research or not for an experimentalist.»
- Yes.»
- I think this definition is too broad and would make the 4+ system equal 5-6 years. For instance maintaining lab equipment that primarily you yourself use should not be considered a department duty.»
- Yes completely. Any thing outside the main stream research could be dept duty. for eg. design and getting fabricated measurement setups, keeping lab up to date, taking care of instruments etc..»
- Everything, that helps the department. Therefore also including also research, if you do it for a master student (for exam. cleanroom work, which they can"t do). Everything where you are not benefiting from (or only indirect)»
- I agree. And also I would suggest to add some other administrative works, i.e., the organization of group activities, work with public relationship(interviews and tours etc.)»
- Yes.»
- This sounds like a good definition but it is wise to make it as clear as possible as well. Or else I am pretty sure it will be misunderstood.»
- Yes, I agree.»
- ok.»
- Yes, and these are things I already count as department duty. Again, the question becomes how carefully time needs to be tracked. (Time tracking is also work that is not research!)»
- I agree.»
- This is not the definition that I have used when entering my departmental duty. I"ve assumed lab maintenence as part of the research process but to some extent it is reasonable to concider it departmental duty.»
- Yes. I agree with the definition.»
- Yes»
- »
- I agree with this definition. It happened sometime that one equipment you need doesn"t work, then it takes time to contact with company and delivery it back for repair. »
- Yes that seem to be an ok definition.»
- I would also like to suggest that Master student supervision should be rewarded by some credit points.. And I think 60 Credits required for graduation is too much. »
- yes»
- yes»
- Yes. »
- Yes, I agree.»
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4. Could you give any specific examples of what should be included as department duty?

- taking care of computers, installing new programs»
- Writing scholarship applications, administratitive meetings, cleaning the lab, ordering lab equipment.»
- It should be the opposite. Everything which is not related to the thesis but still ordered from department staff should be dep. duty. What is it otherwise? Voluntary work?»
- Keeping order in the lab. Also all the work around the teaching of a course. If I have a 2 hour tutorial, half of the day is destroyed because it splits up my time. 4 hours departemental work for a tutorial of 2 hours is faar to little! First it takes 2 hours to prepare, then it takes 2 hours during tutorial, and then it destroys further 4 hours of your working day because it takes a lot of enery/time to refocus on your research.»
- Maybe organizing seminars, group meeting etc.»
- I think the definition in 3 is good. Everything you do that is not related to your research could be department duty. For example, if you help someone else in the Lab, then it"s department duty.»
- Turning of lights in unoccupied rooms. It really bothers me when people leave the lights on for days without using the room. »
- At MC2, we do lot of measurements which are often time consuming. Its quite common that help is needed from co-workers or fellow phd students. If the measurements are not directly related to PhD students personal research, any assistance given to other in laboratory work could be counted for Dept work. Along with this, things like maintainance, calibration of instruements, tool responsibilities can be counted. This is offcourse in addition to more conventional dept duties such as teaching, tutoring, grading assignments, assitance in correcting exams etc.»
- See 3.»
- As mentioned above, group activity organization, public relationship work, etc.»
- -Extensive technical work to get things, equipment, experimental setups working. -Moving equipment -Cleaning up very messy labs. -Building up infrastructure, developing new labs for e.g. teaching. The best is to have technical staff to perform this type of work. It is very important or else everything will seize to function. PhD-students should do less of this type of work I think. They should actually be protected from it and focus mostly on getting good research results, reading, writing, thinking, talking and thinking about research. Then one need money to hire the right people to do it and also make it good for them to stay and keep them motivated and appreciated. A PhD-student should be more self driven.»
- Maintenance of laboratories Maintenance of equipment Purchasing consumables Purchasing equipment All forms of teaching Arranging seminars and meetings Etc. »
- Being responsible for computers.»
- In addition to what is mentioned above, administering computers (both lab and office). Writing and contributing to reports for various funding agencies can take substantial amounts of time.»
- Cleanroom guiding. Teaching. Repairing broken equipment instead of sending it to service company.»
- 1) Participation in tender processes. 2) Maintenance of the lab - it is to everyone"s benefit, but it is by no means research time. 3) Time spent on shipping equipment for repairs - arranging the repair, talking about prices, packing and shipping the equipment.»
- No.»
- I would add there something else, a third tool responsible in the process laboratory. Only if the staff from Nanofabrication Laboratory agree.»
- I design some setup for certain measurement. Initially, it is used for my own circuit measurement, but it can be used for the other similar measurement. I think the time I spent on the setup designing should also be included as department duty.»
- If supervising master students and new PHD students in work that is not related to your own research( will not be in phd thesis) is not already included it probably should be.»
- the time spent to teach other people in clean room»
- No»
- Teaching, marking homeworks, thesis supervision.»
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5. Reasons for extension

It happens sometimes that research during doctoral studies stalls because of reasons independent on the Ph.D. student, e.g. waiting for repair of some broken equipment. Could you give some examples of situations, where a PhD student should have right to prolong studies, because of such reasons? (Broken equipment, waiting for research results from others etc.)

- sometimes purchase of necessary stuff for research also takes waiting time»
- This is quite critical! Especially when such stalls occur when there is no other duty to perform at that time. Broken equipment and waiting for research results are two very good reasons.»
- Waiting for equipment, supervisor/collaborator changes/movings.»
- If it takes a long time to replace the broken equipment, then I guess it"s a valid reason.»
- This is the responsibility of the supervisor. I don"t think it"s possible to make these reasons general.»
- This must be considered very carefully together with the advisor. I think that waiting periods while fixing broken equipment could be used for other things such as reading articles, or doing simulations and working on other parts of the process/measurements. I don"t think that this has to be lost time. If the time period becomes very long, this is of course not acceptable and some other solution maybe including prolongation of phd studies could be necessary. How long time the student has until she finished is also important here. If there is a lot of trouble in the second year, it might not be that bad, but if it happens during the last year, a prolongation might be required to get sufficient results to graduate. »
- Yes, there are lot of things which could go wrong with measurements. And getting good measurements often requires patience and longer time. Also the publication itself from submission to acceptance could take more than 2-3 months some times even 6 months. Also doing application oriented research results in Intellectual property to be protected by patents any such legal procedures futher delays the publication and in turn phd studies. »
- No example.»
- Don"t have better examples.»
- Maybe if the students project is redefined. »
- It is important to have a good communication between PhD-student, supervisor and the money resource. Who is paying? It is unrealistic to extend something forever.»
- Broken equipment - OK Waiting for results from others - OK (but only in particular cases) Personal reasons (e.g. divorce) - OK (but only in particular cases) Finish up research which is near a closure - OK (but only in particular cases) »
- Definetely the cases above mentioned. It is very problematic to be involved in reaserch projects with others when there is a need to do the next step after their work. Also when critical equipment breaks it does cause delays and also small delays can add up over a PhD. If excessive delays are caused by examiners, and superwisers in the review of for instance the theses work this could also be cause for extention in my oppinion.»
- Reason no 1 - availability of hardware to conduct experiments.»
- Tutor»
- The main thing for us is waiting for new systems/cryostats that have long delivery times and might not be fully working until 6-12 months after they arrived. Waiting for broken equipment also might add up to something like 6-12 months in total over the phd time. A third thing can be when there are more experiments/students than available equipment and you end up waiting for a system that is used heavily.»
- when the student wait for the material to process in the clean room»
- Building up an experimental setup, Result confirmations etc»
- Broken equipment, waiting on third-party article authors, waiting on equipment is all valid reason for me. »
- I do not know. I do not think I will need it.»
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6. How much extra time you expect to need in order to finish your Ph.D. studies?

- im new phd student, so cant really say any realistic expectation yet»
- 3-6 months.»
- Hopefully nothing outside the planned 4-5 years. But who knows, I truly mean hopefully.»
- I hope none. In general my belief is that a prolonged PhD is just a way for the professor to get cheap labor.»
- I expect to finish roughly 3.5 years from now.»
- Nothing.»
- Extra time? In excess of the 4 years or the 4+ time? I have no idea. I"m just one year into my phd studies. »
- I anticipate 2-3 months of extra time after the complete 5 years for receiving degree.»
- None»
- at least half a year.»
- Don"t know at this early stage.»
- Difficult to say right now. I intent to do it on time even if I am, also very well aware of, that I am doing a lot of work that is not "research", but more of a technical kind and department work.»
- 3 months»
- None.»
- ~9 months»
- 1 year.»
- I expect that the "+" in the 4+ system will be between a half a year and a year, because that will be the amount of time I spent on teaching and department duties defined as they are now. »
- 1 year»
- zero»
- I will probably need a full etxra year (total of 5 years)»
- none required»
- 3 years if we consider 4 year the regular time»
- 5 years»
- 1+ year (i.e. a little more than the 4+ year).»
- No extra time.»
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7. Do you think that there is a need for list of all Ph.D. courses given at MC2, including those given on irregular basis?

- yes»
- Yes.»
- It would be preferable I think.»
- Yes that would be nice!»
- Yes. »
- That would certainly be good to have if there isn"t one already.»
- No, there is a need for a common system at Chalmers. Similar to the old studenportalen. I think that many PhD student could be very interested in courses at other departments.»
- YES.»
- Yes, often there is a need of course which you realize that its available but is over of the current year. A single webpage with all PhD courses at MC2 with possible link to other Dept phd courses could of very much help.»
- Definitely yes. It"s a struggle to find out!!!»
- Yes, definitely.»
- Yes, I think that would help new students to choose which courses to take and when.»
- Yes. If it is not to difficult, expensive, to get that information.»
- No.»
- Yes.»
- Yes, absolutely.»
- That would be good to have.»
- I think that there is a list but unfortunately it is poorly updated. It only says when the course has been taking place not when it is supposed to be given the next time wich makes the planning of which courses to read when quite difficult.»
- Yes.»
- Of course yes.»
- it would be useful to find it in one place, instead looking for them on each of the labs web pages.»
- Yes...»
- yes»
- Yes, Its highly needed.»
- Yes»
- Yes, that would be useful. »
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8. Do you think, that more of common Ph.D. courses at MC2 are need? If yes, could you suggest some?

- no»
- Yes, a course in measurement statistics: - How do you measure in a statistically robust way? - How many measurements is necessary for a conclusion to be valid? - How do you perform error analysis and use error bars? »
- Yes, probably. In measurement techniques there was a decent attempt recently, even though the course failed after the first third. But the idea was great.»
- Not compulsory ones, the student mass is too diverse. The widespread mixing of master and ph.d. courses is horrible: It lowers the level of the courses. Ph.d. students are advanced and (should be) highly motivated. Master students are at a lower level, and only the best master students have the same talent as the ph.d. students. Ph.d. students need research tools. Master students need a firm background in their field. Th»
- No.»
- No. »
- We desperately need a phd course in semiconductor physics and/or carrier transport in semiconductors and nanostructures. I also think that a mandatory seminar course where professors from different groups explain the main points of each groups research in a VERY popular scientific way could be good. It could consist of half a day seminars where each group gets to explain their research. This would also help strengthen the MC2 identity and ties between the research groups when we know more about each others work.»
- Clean room processing is one such course. Even though the introduction course is available more extensive one is helpful. Also a course on microwave measurements is helpful.»
- I don"t know»
- I don"t think so. I think a Ph.D student should be able to pick up those subjects interests him/her. And also I would suggesst that Master students from MC2 should be able to transfer some of their credits to the Ph.D degree.»
- I do not know.»
- Possibly one could make more detailed micro- and nanofabrication courses. E.g. one at more introductory level, and one at more advanced level.»
- Yes. Advanced measurement techniques for example.»
- The important thing is quality and relevance for your Ph.D., not that the course is common to all labs. However, if it helps quality, then yes.»
- Yes. A in depth course in solid state physics is needed.»
- Well, given the variety of the research we do, it"s hard to think of anything that would be useful for everyone. The advanced electrical measurement technique course was good though and should be given on regular basis.»
- Yes. Like phyisc, TEM, now trend of research»
- A course in measurement techniques would be a nice common course.»
- yes»
- No.»
- The measurement equipment course that was interrupted is such a course.»
- ---»
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