Supervisors should respect grad student boundaries to avoid “toxic paternalism:” Opinion

April 12, 2022
In a recent article for Inside Higher Ed, Elizabeth Stice discusses the difficulties some graduate students have with “helicopter advisors” and their “toxic paternalism.” Some advisors make negative comments regarding their students’ life and career choices, Stice writes, and while this behaviour may be accepted within institutional culture, it demonstrates disrespect and often enforces gendered standards. The author says that toxic paternalism disproportionately affects women grad students who choose to get married or have a family during their careers, as supervisors may criticize students for making these choices. Stice recommends that academics respect students’ choices, respect boundaries regarding students’ personal lives, and receive training in advising to lead to better student outcomes. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)