Posted on Saturday Jun 09, 2007
I found that some students who are supposed to drive their research and preparation of a certain submission draft are not active or responsive enough. Below is my advice on dealing with the issue.
1. Students need to early on take full advantage of the advisor and other colleagues (in the co-author list) in helping improve the draft and the work. As I told students in our group, students should write the whole draft (when there are peer colleagues/students in the co-author list of your paper, you may coordinate with them to ask them to write some sections of the paper). Enforcing students to write all sections can help train their capability of independently writing the whole draft. Of course, the advisor will help you by giving you suggestions on how to revise your draft.
That doesn't mean that you need to submit your draft for your advisor to review only after you finish the whole draft. It is great if you can finish your draft very early on and send your whole draft to your advisor. But more commonly many students feel tight in making their drafts ready.
Then the students need to make efforts to gather early feedback from the advisor by giving section by section to the advisor for review comments and feedback if they cannot prepare their full draft early on. Like in bug finding, the earlier that a bug is detected, the better off you will be in fixing the bug.
In all, try to get early feedback from the advisor or co-authors incrementally with available sections early on rather than putting off sending your writing to them very near the deadline. In the latter case, the advisor may not have enough time and you may not be able to incorporate the feedback to improve the draft.
2. Students need to be **responsive** to the advisor or colleagues. Responding your advisor's emails should be on the top priority if your advisor's emails explicitly asked for responses with questions. As you can see, I always give rapid response to students and colleagues. As I discussed in the group meeting, in some other groups either inside or outside NCSU, students may complain that their advisor is slow in responding their emails. In our group, the other way around happens often, believe it or not!
If you are too busy and cannot spend time on some task mentioned in the advisor's email, you can simply respond so and then the advisor or the colleagues can know it and make alternative arrangements or schedule their time line before the deadline.
The advisor's goal is to help you to make these deadlines, produce good work, grow to be independent enough, and then graduate, find your desirable job. Being not responsive or not effective in making deadlines or making progress in your work can hurt yourself much more than anyone else. That is why I told you "Do you want to make the deadline. If not, it is totally fine to me."
That is, it is **you** who want to make the deadlines and it is **you** who need to drive your research, not anyone else.
Good luck on your deadline catching!