I once asked a professor in my department "why do professors take on graduate students?" He was taken aback by the question, and said it was somewhat like asking why do fire fighters put out fires - in both cases it's central to the job. With professors, there is flexibility on how many students they take on. I think it's worthwhile to consider what motivates a professor when they agree to supervise a graduate student. The Sacred Duty of Teaching This is what the professor who joked about the fire fighters was referring to. At the core of a professor's duties is teaching. Although university teaching typically involves undergraduates, graduate courses are a similar dynamic between a … [Read more...] about Why Do Professors Have Graduate Students?
People's relationship with their supervisor during their PhD is a complex issue. There are elements of teacher / student, boss / employee, friends and sometimes even quasi-parental. Every pair seems to have their own dynamic. Dysfunctional Relationships It isn't hard to find graduate student / adviser relationships that don't work. One man I know from my research area told me once that every meeting he had with his adviser would end up with the adviser screaming at him until he was in tears. He'd excuse himself to go to the washroom, compose himself and by the time he returned his adviser would have calmed down and they'd resume work. I would find this INTOLERABLE, but he was at a … [Read more...] about Your Relationship With Your Adviser