How To Supervise Students

  1. When the student arrives, make sure you tell them that the policy in the lab is that the supervisor is always an author on the paper even if he has not contributed let alone read the paper.
  2. Change your name by deed poll so it begins with an A, and explain that authorship is traditionally alphabetical in your field.
  3. Encourage students to submit papers to conferences in exotic but expensive locations (e.g. Hawaii). When accepted, explain that institutional policy forbids them from going but that you should go in order to present their work. Fund it from their grant (but no need to tell student this last detail.)
  4. Prearrange a conference call (perhaps to arrange the workshop in Hawaii) to start 15 minutes after their notional starting time for your weekly meeting with your students.
  5. Always acknowledge the student’s work in the acknowledgement section (especially when the student actually wrote the paper).
  6. Dump all your reviews onto your students. Explain to them that it will be good practice and beneficial for their career.
  7. Never let the student engage in the task of trying to define a good research problem; your ideas are far more important and the student should normally feel honoured to be allowed to work on them.
  8. If the student does not follow the previous advice and comes up with a good idea, steal the idea and give it to one of your other students. Prevent the former student from working on their original idea, perhaps by item 6 above, and then explain gently that unfortunately another student is already working  on this idea at your request.
  9. Offer a special opportunity to your students to “help” organise a workshop but actually get them to do all the work. Ensure your various grants are run down sufficiently such that they are unable to attend but not so much that you can not attend.
  10. Offer additional funding to the students but ensure it is via a series of short term contracts.
  11. Explain to students that since research is an uncertain endeavour, it makes no logical sense to have regular meetings to discuss it.
  12. Never trust your student to be able to give any sort of presentation on their own even if they have had many years experience; get them to go through line by line with you and suggest at least 150 separate changes in order to justify the meeting.
  13. Encourage the students to be autonomous and self sufficient and do all that you can to aid their growth and step out of the way when they are strong enough researchers to stand on their own feet.