Doctoral Supervision Practice: What’s the Problem and How Can We Help Academics?
Keywords:Doctoral supervision seminars, discipline-specific versus generic, supervision challenges
Academics are feeling squeezed by increasing research supervision demands within tightening time constraints. In a changing higher education environment, demands on doctoral supervisors need to be better understood in order to provide them with the right support at supervision pressure points. As academic developers, our aim was to better understand supervision challenges across multiple disciplines. A two stage study firstly sought differences in research and supervision practice between faculties by means of an anonymised digital questionnaire [n226]. Twenty-two questions explored supervisors’ experiences of project management, communication and writing. Secondly, we interviewed 11 experienced supervisors from disciplines other than our own (education), focusing on supervision’s discipline-specific challenges and constraints. We expected to find discipline-differences between science and humanities.
However, analysis showed that supervision challenges are the same across disciplines. We report on what these entail and argue that, as graduate numbers rise in an internationalised academy, supervision support can and should be developed centrally in order to address the growing pressures on faculty.
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