Mother nurture?

August 11, 2000

Anne Sebba's "Should you wine and dine them or just correct their spelling?" (THES, August 4) failed to take a serious subject seriously and, more importantly, it played a dangerous gender game.

If Lisa Jardine "mothers" her postgraduates, shouldn't all postgraduates be offered a similar experience? If a male academic tried to "father", or patronise, his students, would the feature have condoned his behaviour? Is this the kind of relationship that postgraduates need?

On a less general note, my male PhD supervisor was supportive, challenging but most significantly professional through years that were difficult, of course, and lonely. We now enjoy a much-valued, more equal relationship as I pursue my own academic career.

Sara Haslam Department of English literature Chester College of HE

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