Sunday, June 21, 2009

All three

I was talking with an older professor the other day about I'm concerned for my student's lack of data. Not entirely true - lack of extremely compelling/exciting/novel data. But I'm getting off track.

Anyway, he said that it is very rare to have all three: students, money and data. He said that usually it took two out of the three to get the third, and by the time you were close to getting the third, one of the other two was vanishing (ie, in my case, the student was graduating or the money was running out). He mentioned this was the most common reason that profs ended up keeping students longer than necessary or paid them far to low...

This made me start thinking back over my graduate career - evaluate a couple cases, and I realized he was completely correct.

However, this didn't really make me feel any better about my current situation. Basically, my only option to get data is to hire more students than I have funding for, essentially unbalance the students/money/data ratio.

I'm not very happy about this. It seems very irresponsible.

I'm going to try an experiment - supplement with undergrads. This may work or be an utter and complete failure. Undergrads do distract the graduate students from performing at 100%. But, managed properly, an undergrad can produce quality results. It really depends on the graduate student (and the undergraduate).

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