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Thesis and assistantship
One of the greatest difficulties encountered by assistants is that of ensuring that student supervision and tasks delegated by your immediate superior do not impinge on the time they are entitled to for thesis work.
Depending on the time of year, thesis work and assistant work can vary in intensity : during course periods, more working time is devoted to the assistantship, whereas between semesters and during the summer more time can be devoted to the thesis.
The terms and conditions are very important inasmuch as they clarify the rights and obligations of assistants and particularly the time allocation between service activities and thesis preparation.
Experience shows that it’s not always easy to separate these activities and that assistants are often obliged to defend the time set aside for the thesis.
Assistants must :
- ensure without fail that student supervision and tasks assigned by their immediate superior do not impinge on thesis preparation time ;
- talk to the professor in charge and negotiate terms and conditions if they are not clear.
Some practical advice for safeguarding time devoted to the thesis :
- prepare a work schedule in agreement with your superior that includes certain specified days of the week devoted solely to the thesis ;
- establish specific times when students can call on you in your capacity as assistant, and adhere to them ;
- do not delay in (re)negotiating terms and conditions that are not respected or not realistic;
- at certain points in the thesis, make sure you remain focused and target activities (colloquiums, publications) that are closely linked with the thesis and enable you to progress with it ;
- try to work on your thesis away from your workplace as assistant to avoid being interrupted by students, professors, colleagues or telephones.