Friday, July 18, 2008


The FSP today discussed the concept of academic insults, specifically "I've never heard of you". While, other academics have said this me, more commonly, people have said "I've never heard of him" (in reference to my thesis advisor). This is usually followed up by "Is he an assistant professor or new to this university?"

[Note: my advisor is a full, tenured professor with a named chair. For the last few years, he was the chair of the department as well. In other words, short of being the Dean of the Division or Provost or President or something, he is pretty much as high up as you get - ie not new or assistant.]

Therefore, I'm not sure what category this comment falls into. Is it an insult to me - after all, I did choose to be in his group? Is it an insult to him - his research isn't important enough for people to have heard of him?

[Second note: he has a very unusual last name. And many of these people/professors asking this were within my graduate university.]

Therefore, could it be a sign of the "asker's" ignorance? After all, they are unfamiliar with their colleagues (at the same institution)?

As he is a hermit (yes, an unusual quality for a department chair), it could be a little of everything. But as I did some of the research, I would prefer to think it isn't a sign of the quality of his research.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome FEAP! Just noticed your new blog. I myself am a troll who comments on several blogs - I'm a fed scientist and academic (Res Asst Prof).
Thanks for sharing your experiences.