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"Rate your Supervisor" comes to High Energy Physics

26 Feb 2016, 09:31 UTC
"Rate your Supervisor" comes to High Energy Physics
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A new website called the "HEP Postdoc Project" allows postdocs in high energy physics to rate their supervisors in categories like "friendliness," "expertise," and "accessibility." I normally ignore emails that more or less explicitly ask me to advertise sites on my blog, but decided to make an exception for this one. It seems a hand-made project run by a small number of anonymous postdocs who want to help their fellows find good supervisors. And it's a community that I care much about.While I appreciate the initiative, I have to admit being generally unenthusiastic about anonymous ratings on point scales. Having had the pleasure of reading though an estimated several thousand of recommendation letters, I have found that an assessment of skills is only useful if you know the person it comes from.Much of this is cultural. A letter from a Russian prof that says this student isn't entirely bad at math might mean the student is up next for the Fields Medal. On the other hand, letters from North Americans tend to exclusively contain positive statements, and the way to read them is to search for qualities that were not listed.But leaving aside the cultural stereotypes, more important are personal ...

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