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How to be a terrible thesis advisor

 -- Assign students thesis topics based on the section headings in your grant proposal, or on the boxes of the flowchart for your master plan.

 -- When someone brings up a research paper, tell anecdotes about the author, his advisor, and his colleagues. This will impress students that who you know is more important than what you do.

 -- When laying out your laboratory, give first priority to minimizing the cost of cable, last priority to good workplaces for students, and no priority to fostering interaction among students.

 -- Read your students' papers at most once.

 -- When honest differences of opinion arise, paper them over with words. For example, say "well, we could talk about this forever, but I think we're all working towards the same basic idea, let's call it a `neologistic/noetic knowledge representation'. Now let's move on."

 -- Regarding other schools of thought, make sure students know just enough to be able to point out the "fatal flaws" in each, and so can be good foot soldiers in the crusade for your own approach. A useful phrase is "why do you want to waste your time reading that?"

 -- Never visit the laboratory; learn about students' work only from what they tell you.

 -- Define your research aims with catch phrases ("dynamic X", "emergent Y", "the Z problem", etc.).

 -- Have students handle computer system administration, and let them think it counts as research.

 -- Mumble.

 -- Assign older students to guide the younger ones.

   -- Involve students in decision-making for unimportant things. For example, you can easily while away an hour of seminar deciding who should be discussion leader for what chapter of the reading.

 -- Share your most trivial thoughts with your students. Better yet, bring them up as seminar discussion topics ("in the shower this morning, it stuck me that whitespace is really important. Let's think about whitespace from an AI perspective").

 -- Avoid conflicts with your students; in particular, don't be too demanding.

 -- If a student reveals that he is confused about what counts as meaningful research, ridicule him.

 -- Take no interest in what courses your students are taking.

 -- Pick up ideas from going to conferences, then bring them up in seminar without explaining from whom you got them or explaining the context in which they arose.

 -- Plan for research seminars to last at least two hours.

 -- Avoid meeting with students individually, do all advising out in public, at seminars.

 -- Never go near the laboratory evenings or weekends.

 -- Always come unprepared for seminars; you're smart enough to fake it.

 -- Never program yourself. After all, you went through that once, and now you're an ideas man.

 -- Let your students see you rushing to meet deadlines.

 -- Avoid critical discussions of research strategy. A useful phrase is "We'll do it this way. Why? Because I'm the professor and you're a student."

 -- Expect nothing much from your students, and subtly let them know this.

 -- Give all your students the same research topic, but with slightly different names. If this is the same topic as your own dissertation topic, all the better.

 -- Let your students see your grant proposals and learn the art of doublethink.

 -- Enforce disciplinary boundaries. For example, say, "that sounds like the sort of thing that people in software engineering would work on, so let's leave that topic alone", or "why do you want to worry about that? that's a software engineering issue".

 -- Never suggest your students contact other professors or other researchers.

 -- Let your students submit articles to third-rate journals.

 -- If a student's work is not giving the results expected, belittle him.

 -- Encourage your students to work on fashionable problems.

 -- State your opinions loudly and frequently, so your students know what to write in their theses.

 -- Ask your students to live their thesis (feel free to call them on Saturday and expect your ideas followed up and developed by Monday morning 8 A.M.

 -- Make it clear to him that you have no interest in his future / eventual career and will not help him much. This is especially so when he is a foreigner because after all 'our own people are having trouble finding work'. Somehow all this living your thesis should be of use/benefit/payoff to the student in his country (even if those countries are not even meritocracies to the extent the U.S. is); tell him, if this is not so, life is hard everywhere; point of examples of other people who suffer similarly; conveniently forget the fact that many of those students are not asked to live their theses and their advisors are almost like a freind for them

 -- Invite them once a year to your house. Feel superior that the Russians will nevr do this. Tell this to the student

 -- Get your students to help you write proposals.

 -- Don't read anything, only write.

 -- Encourage students to do their research in areas you know nothing about, especially if this area is good for grant money.

 -- Never admit to your students that you don't know something or are unfamiliar with a certain area.

 -- Make all students address you as Dr. or Prof. Never get on a first name basis.

 -- Try to get students to select a committee with members who you want to get friendly with, even if they have no interest in the students area of research.

grad std

How to be a terrible graduate student (in AI or elsewhere)

-- Come to graduate school only because it allows you to postpone your entry to the real world.

-- Assume that your advisor acts solely in their own best interests, and never in yours.

-- Assume that your advisor (being more than 34 years old) doesn't understand current research, and is not (and never was) as smart as you are.

-- Never come to a meeting with your advisor prepared with an agenda of things you want to talk about, and never take notes during the discussion. (After all, little that your advisor says matters, and anyway, if it were important you'd remember it.)

-- Never take notes when you read a paper or book, or record any of your ideas in a research diary. (After all, if it were important, you'd remember it.) Corollary: It is not necessary to keep complete bibliographic citations for anything that you read.

  -- Expect your advisor to give you a thesis topic and tell you exactly how to carry out the work, step by step. Corollary: If your thesis is not going well, it's your advisor's fault, not yours.

-- Regard any ideas that your advisor gives you for your thesis as your own exclusive property, and present them to the world as if you alone thought of them.

-- Frequently cancel meetings with your advisor, giving little notice (or none at all), whenever there is the slightest excuse to do so.

-- Assume that you can write up the final thesis in a month or two.

-- Don't bother checking any of your results or proofreading anything you write; that's your advisor's job.

-- Regard your graduate education as a 9-to-5 Monday-to-Friday job.

-- Give the draft of your thesis to your advisor on a Friday, so that they can read it over the weekend and give you feedback on Monday.

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