The Female Science Professor is thinking about what advisors owe their students:
When I got my PhD and went out into the great big academic world, I felt that I had the respect of my adviser, but I knew not to expect anything more from him in the way of support in my career other than the standard recommendation letter.
I never minded because he was that way with all of his students. He had a sink-or-swim philosophy of advising, and this continued after students graduated.
Now that I am an adviser with former students of my own, I think his approach makes some sense because it is a very fair philosophy. He doesn’t play favorites, supporting some former students over others. He treats us all with the same benign neglect. He’s proud of what we’ve accomplished, he is glad that he had a role in our academic careers, and he’s happy to hear from us when we write and pleased to see us at conferences, but his responsibility for us is over.
My own experience was toward the opposite extreme– I have a whole bunch of equipment, including a $10,000 turbopump on “permanent loan” that was donated by my old group at NIST. The grad student before me actually got contacted by the Smithsonian after Bill won the Nobel, because he had been given most of the original laser cooling apparatus when he graduated.
Obviously, this is not sustainable for any research group graduating more than one student every 4-5 years, but it is food for thought. And fodder for a poll: