• Three insights gained – Delivering doctoral supervision training

      Lipka, Sigrid; University of Derby (2017-02-15)
      The student-supervisor relationship is one of the most important factors impacting on doctoral student satisfaction and successful completion rates (see e.g., Hodsdon & Buckley 2011; Kulej & Park 2008). Given the complex nature of this relationship and the range of functions it serves, key questions are whether and how doctoral supervisors can be taught to build successful supervisory relationships. This talk focusses on a research supervision training programme for new doctoral supervisors that has been designed by myself and colleagues. It is delivered in three, 3-hour long sessions spread over three months. The training covers key challenges of the supervisory relationship, i.e., identifying a good research applicant, research ethics, managing supervisory relationships, progress monitoring and effective feedback, preparing for the thesis write up/viva and student career management. The training aims to build i) practical skills required to deal with these challenges and ii) knowledge and critical evaluation of local and national regulations and requirements as well as pedagogical literature relating to these challenges. Three insights gained from running the training over a period of more than five years will be discussed. It is concluded that delivering doctoral supervision training does work, in line with e.g., McCulloch & Loeser (2016). It is recommended that employers facilitate ongoing supervisory training and opportunities for reflecting on supervisory practice. It is suggested that further research is needed on two fronts: i) to define the behaviours and knowledge that a doctoral supervisor needs in order to build a trusting supervisory relationship and ii) to establish valid methods for evaluating the changes that supervisory trainings create.