Tagged / supervision

Event for Supervisors: UKCGE Route to Recognition for Supervisory Practice

Are you an established research degree supervisor?

Would you like your supervisory practice acknowledged at national level?

We are delighted to welcome Professor Stan Taylor of Durham University on behalf of the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) to BU to lead a session for established supervisors on Good Supervisory Practice Framework and the Research Supervision Recognition Programme.

  • Acknowledging the Complexity of Your Role: The Good Supervisory Practice Framework helps you navigate the wide-ranging, highly complex and demanding set of roles that modern research supervisors must undertake to perform the role effectively. Informed by academic research and approved by the sector, the 10 criteria of the GSPF acknowledges this complexity and sets a benchmark of good practice for all supervisors.
  • Identify your professional development needs: Reflecting on your own practice, compared to a benchmark of good practice, often reveals new perspectives on the challenges inherent in supervision. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses enables you to build upon the former and address the latter with targeted professional development.
  • Recognition of your expertise by a national body: Becoming a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor, you can demonstrate to your university, peers and candidates that your supervisory practice has been recognised by a national body.

The workshop will guide you through the process for gaining recognition and help you to start reflecting on your practice and drafting your application in the supplied workbook, to follow nearer to the event.

Online Workshop – Zoom

Thursday 17 June 2021, 14:00-16:00

Book your place: Register for free on Eventbrite now


Colleague supervision – and maximising research opportunities

This blog post considers two aspects of research – supervision and publication. The two came together in article of mine recently been published online by the Journal of Further & Higher Education (JFHE) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2011.644774.

In 2008/09, I undertook the PGCert Research Degree Supervision to further develop supervision skills. For the second assignment, I made a study of colleague supervision – the supervision of staff doctoral students by their colleagues and, sometimes, managers. From it, an academic paper was developed and later submitted to JFHE. The article was an opportunity to maximise the outcomes of my study of research supervision and to create insights (possibly “new knowledge”) into a sometimes contentious and little researched area.

The starting point was a claim by Pam Denicolo (2004) that colleague supervision was “a role relationship that has been largely ignored or undervalued by [university] administration” (p. 693) and colleague students and supervisors “felt more vulnerable” than other students/supervisors (p. 706). At the time, I was Deputy Dean (Education) in the Media School and had, at BU and a previous university, observed colleague students often struggling to manage the roles of teacher, researcher, colleague and administrator. So the aim of my qualitative study amongst students and supervisors was to gain greater insight into the colleague students’ research journey and to consider how their working lives could be better structured.

Broadly, the indications from this small-scale study were:

  • The students and supervisors did not feel they were “ignored”, “undervalued” or “vulnerable.” There were some advantages of easy access to supervisors that other PGRs don’t have;
  • More effort is needed on the research training of colleague students. Those coming into doctoral studies from professional backgrounds said that they often learnt “on the hoof”;
  • Some students, in 2009 interviews, feared for their jobs without achievement of a doctoral qualification. Others saw it as an essential part of their development of academic research and professional skills;
  • Although Denicolo posited “vulnerability” as a power imbalance between supervisors and staff, the general attitude was that their supervisor was a “friendly facilitator” and supportive;
  • Confidentiality of performance on doctoral studies was expected by students as part of their relationship with the colleague supervision;
  • The use of group supervision by HSC to support students was seen as very beneficial in aiding cohort progress and reducing the loneliness of the doctoral student’s research journey.

This was a small-scale study (six students and five supervisors) and thus there are limitations of its generalisability, but it indicates that colleague supervision needs to be considered as a special case and not just part of the academic “day job”.

Prof Tom Watson, The Media School

Article:  Watson, T., 2011. Colleague supervision – ‘ignored and undervalued’? The views of students and supervisors in a new university. Journal of Further & Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2011.644774.

Reference: Denicolo, P., 2004. Doctoral supervision of colleagues: Peeling off the veneer of satisfaction and competence. Studies in Higher Education, 29 (6), 693-707.