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Working with and managing your relationship with your supervisor(s)


Working with and managing your relationship with your supervisor(s) Dr Sunil Kumar, Dean of Graduate Studies Louisa Green, Research Degrees Manager – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Working with and managing your relationship with your supervisor(s)

Working with and managing your relationship with
  • Dr Sunil Kumar, Dean of Graduate Studies
  • Louisa Green, Research Degrees Manager
  • 15 November 2012

Todays workshop aims
  • Explore and understand roles and responsibilities
    in the student-supervisor relationship.
  • Consider issues that may arise and think about
    how to overcome them.
  • Discuss techniques for working with your
    supervisor and managing your relationship.

Roles and Responsibilities
  • Take 5 minutes to rank your views on the
    statements shown in the Expectations in
    Supervision questionnaire.
  • In pairs, discuss your rankings and agree a
    position representing each of your views for each

Regulations on supervision
  • What do the Schools Regulations say?
  • Who do they apply to?
  • What happens if they are not followed?

Regulations what (where) they are
  • School level
  • Regulations for Research Degrees revised from
    2012 http//
  • Student Charter revised from 2012
  • Handbook for Supervisors and Doctoral Programme
    Directors new from Nov 2012 http//
  • Departmental level
  • PhD Student Handbook http//

Regulations for Research Degrees 1
  • On supervision models (paragraphs 12-14)
  • Every student is entitled to a lead supervisor
  • has knowledge of a student's subject area and
    theoretical approach
  • is a permanent member of the academic staff of
    the School
  • has passed major review
  • is usually assigned for the duration of a
    students programme
  • has no more than eight primary supervisees
  • Every student will normally have additional
    supervision that may take the form of
  • co- or joint supervision that can include
    supervision across departments in the School
  • an adviser or
  • team supervision

Regulations for Research Degrees 2
  • On contact with supervisor (paragraph 15)
  • Full-time students have the right to see their
    supervisor at least three times a term in the
    first year and twice a term thereafter
  • Part-time students have the right to see their
    supervisor at least twice a term in the first
    year and once a term thereafter

Regulations for Research Degrees 3
  • Supervisor also involved in
  • Approving requests to change registration status
  • Progress review (paragraph 19.1)
  • Upgrade to PhD (paragraph 23.3)
  • Ethics process (paragraph 28)
  • Examination entry/nomination of examiners
    (paragraphs 37-40)
  • Attendance at viva examination (paragraph 47)
  • Supporting period of corrections following
    examination result

Regulations for Research Degrees 4
  • If there are serious problems (paragraph 16)
  • the Doctoral Programme Director or Head of
    Department may agree a change initiated by the
    initiative of the student or supervisor.

The Student Charter Your Responsibilities
  • Behave ethically
  • Attend meetings with supervisor to discuss
    progress and any concerns
  • Attend/participate in classes, seminars,
    lectures, other events
  • Keep department informed of essential absences
  • Manage learning responsibly
  • Understand good scholarly practice
  • Submit work by deadlines
  • Seek and respond to feedback on written work

Living up to the idea ?
What issues might arise ?
Potential issues for STUDENTS
  • Lack of guidance
  • Lack of availability
  • Insufficiently critical
  • Too critical
  • Lack of knowledge in subject area

Potential issues for SUPERVISORS
  • Overly dependent
  • Lack of honesty
  • Unresponsive/elusive
  • Lack enthusiasm
  • Dont follow advice
  • Oversensitive to criticism
  • Lack commitment

BASIS of issues
  • Lack of communication
  • Mismatched expectations
  • Personality clash
  • Competing pressures

Overcoming issues 1
  • Keep expectations realistic
  • Be organised
  • Be professional
  • Be open, flexible and honest

Overcoming issues 2
  • Discuss expectations at the beginning
  • Give sufficient notice for requests
  • Draw up an agenda for your meetings
  • Record the outcome of meetings and email to
    supervisor(s)/use PhD Logbook
  • Arrange next meeting ahead of time
  • Alert supervisor(s) to problems as they arise

Overcoming issues 3
  • If problems persist Approach
  • Your supervisor (if possible)
  • Your departments doctoral programme
  • Your Head of Department
  • If issue is not resolved, you should approach
  • Research Degrees Manager and (or) Dean of
    Graduate Studies

PG Dean RDU Manager Contact details
  • Dr Sunil Kumar, Dean of Graduate Studies
  • OLD.1.07 7955 7574
  • PG DEAN SURGERY (Term Time)
  • Monday 1100-1200 Wednesday 0930-1100
  • Appointments via Nicola Morgan, Executive
    Assistant 7955 7849
  • Louisa Green, Manager, RDU
  • TW2.6.01 7955 6766

Be aware of your supervisors other
  • Undergraduate Tutees (8) and courses
  • MSc Supervisees (8) and courses
  • Class teachers for undergraduate courses
  • Other PhD students (6)
  • Research assistants and research staff
  • Publications
  • Administrative role within the Centre,
    Department, School
  • Other Professional roles Editor, Referee for
    journals, Conference, External Examining (PhD,
    Masters degrees)

Why should you manage your relationship with
your supervisor(s)?
  • She or he probably busier than you think they are
  • He or She may not be aware of regulations to
    extent you are
  • Your enthusiasm and organisation may impress them
  • You want to complete on time with as few problems
    as possible
  • She or he will be your key reference for future
    jobs etc.

When submitting work to your supervisor
  • Cover sheet on every piece of work submitted
  • Your name and year of PhD
  • Your up-to-date thesis title
  • An up-to-date chapter structure with full
  • Highlight where todays chapter or bit of work
    fits within this
  • Ensure each chapter first page has
  • Chapter number
  • Full current title
  • Details of word length, plus any missing

Writing is the driver of good supervision
  • Writing clarifies your thinking
  • Conversation sometimes masks differences in view
    or misunderstandings
  • Your supervisor gains information about your
    progress and thinking from your written work
  • Supervisors cannot comment usefully on your
    progress, or provide sound advice, unless they
    can see your thought process in writing

Summary of KEY POINTS
  • Keep to time (meetings and tasks)
  • Be honest and open with your supervisor(s) about
    your progress
  • Ensure that you provide your supervisor(s) ample
    time to comment on your work given their other
  • Respond to comments (feedback) as constructively
    as possible
  • Seek advice or support as soon as you think
    something is beginning to affect your progress
  • Be aware of the regulations as they apply to the
    different stages (years) of your PhD
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