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Towards quality PhD supervision: A look from a PhD student lessons learned so far. Mauritz Panggabean ([email protected]) Department of Telematics, NTNU Seminar for PhD Supervisors, IME Faculty March 8-9, 2012 | Orkanger, Norway.

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Towards quality PhD supervision:

A look from a PhD studentlessons learned so far

Mauritz Panggabean ([email protected])

Department of Telematics, NTNU

Seminar for PhD Supervisors, IME Faculty

March 8-9, 2012 | Orkanger, Norway

brief introduction

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

- Søren Kierkegaard

Brief introduction
  • b. 1980, Indonesian citizen, married
  • Education:
    • B.S., EE, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Indonesia (2003)
    • M.Sc./ir. (ingenieur), EE, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e), The Netherlands (2008)
      • Full scholarship from the Dutch government
      • One-year full-time intern at Philips Research Eindhoven
    • Ph.D., telematics, NTNU, December 2012 (expected)
      • Full scholarship from NTNU and the Research Council of Norway
      • PhD topic: Image sequence compression and transient traffic synthesis for delay sensitive collaborations
      • Advisors: Professors Leif Arne Rønningen and Harald Øverby
      • (Co-)author of 14 refereed conference papers (to date)
      • Journal articles: two submitted and more in preparation to submit in 2012
  • 2004-2006: a lecturer with a private higher education institution in Indonesia, supervising and coaching 20+ students
outline
Outline
  • Objective
  • PhDand PhD study: what is and is not
  • Some facts about PhD at IME
  • The main contributing factors to PhD programs at NTNU
  • Modeling ‘the PhD story’
  • Some potential problems from the factors
  • A case study
objective
Objective
  • To share ideas and suggestions to PhD supervisors at IME faculty toward higher quality in PhD supervision
  • Data from IME faculty (objective)
  • Accumulated experiences and observations from the journeys of mine and other PhD students toward PhD (subjective)
phd and phd study what is and is not

Begin from the end in mind.

- Stephen Covey

PhD and PhD study: what is and is not
  • PhD: fully professional researcher
    • At the most basic level you must have something to say that your peers want to listen to
    • Must have a command of what is happening in your subject so that you can evaluate the worth of what others are doing
    • Must have the astuteness to discover where you can make a useful contribution
    • Must be aware of the ethics of your profession and work within them
    • Must have mastery of appropriate techniques that are currently being used, and also be aware of their limitations
    • Must be able to communicate your results effectively in the professional arena
    • All these must be carried out in an international context; your professional peer group is worldwide

What is a PhD program?

A comprehensive training to be a PhD, supervised by experienced researchers

some facts about phd at ime

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Albert Einstein

Some facts about PhD at IME
  • % PhD at IME to total number at NTNU?
  • Max years* by regulation to complete PhD at NTNU?
  • % PhD candidates at IME who
    • Never finish their PhD?
    • Get PhD within max years after start date?
    • Get PhD long* after contract end date?
  • Goal:successful PhD completion (submitting thesis by contract)

ca 20%

Six

ca 20%

ca 60%

ca 20%

the main contributing factors to phd programs at ntnu
The main contributing factors to PhD programs at NTNU

Environment

Supervisors

PhD research

Publications

Student

Culture

Logistics

Thesis

Courses

Selection & recruitment

modeling the phd story
Modeling ‘the PhD story’

Environment

Quality

PhD Supervision

Duty work*

Culture

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

  • Constraints:
  • Time and funding: 3 or 4-year PhD contract
  • Fact: 24 hours a day

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

potential problems 1

Culture

Potential problems (1)

Environment

Duty work*

Culture

(Particularly for foreign students who are abroad for the first time)

  • Different values, e.g. honesty, assertiveness
  • The right to say ‘no’ (esp. for those from Asia)
  • More direct exchange of ideas
  • Flat hierarchy (e.g. calling professors by name)
  • Handling assumptions
  • Difficulties in using English during conversations
  • The student and the supervisors do not address these issues together during PhD supervision

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

potential problems 2

Courses

Potential problems (2)

Environment

Duty work*

Culture

  • Too much time and effort spent to finish courses, less for research (esp. for students with 3-year contract)
  • Continuous failures in exams
  • Courses very difficult to pass
  • Low motivation in completing the courses due to, e.g. no relation to research or lack of interest
  • Courses favored for research are not available
  • Inflexibility in planning the courses
  • The student and the supervisors do not address these issues together during PhD supervision

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

potential problems 3

PhD research

Potential problems (3)

Environment

Duty work*

Culture

  • Lack of focus and direction in research vision and planning
  • Lack of skills essential for research
  • Lack of knowledge of the topics related to the research
  • Lack of passion and character for good research

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

Source: http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/content.php?pid=223551&sid=1897456

potential problems 4

Publications

Potential problems (4)

Environment

Duty work*

Culture

  • Lack of academic English skills for preparing papers for international publications
  • Lack of motivation to produce quality publication
  • Requirement for publication too high, not clear or not agreed for PhD defense
  • Too much time and effort to cope with paper rejection
  • Low confidence to publish results from research
  • Lack of research results worthy of publication after considerable time and effort
  • The student and the supervisors do not address these issues together during PhD supervision

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

potential problems 6

Environment

Potential problems (6)

Environment

Duty work*

Culture

  • Loneliness: no/few people known to be working on the topic/field at the department/faculty/university
  • Little research network available outside the university
  • Each fellow PhD student under the same supervisor addresses topics with no/little overlap (fragmented research strategy and planning)
  • Very good job market overshadows PhD work
  • External issues, such as from family life
  • The student and the supervisors do not address these issues together during PhD supervision

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

potential problems 5

Logistics

Potential problems (5)

Environment

Duty work*

Culture

  • Essential equipments for research are not available
  • Too much time and bureaucracy to provide or fix equipments essential for research
  • Reduction or termination of project funding
  • The student and the supervisors do not address these issues together during PhD supervision

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

potential problems 61

Research, expertise and interests

Potential problems (6)

Environment

Duty work*

Culture

  • The supervisor is not an expert on the research topic
  • Perceived little appreciation or interest from the supervisor in the PhD research and the progress
  • The supervisor is not actively involved in research that covers the topic
  • The student and the supervisors do not address these issues together during PhD supervision

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

potential problems 7

PhD supervision

Potential problems (7)

Environment

Quality

PhD Supervision

Duty work*

Culture

  • Wrong assumptions or partial understanding on PhD supervision
  • The supervisor takes PhD supervision too lightly
  • The supervisor is very busy and has no/little time for quality supervision
  • The supervisors during supervision are interested only in research results, esp. publications
  • No regular time allocated for progress meeting
  • The student is afraid to ask for quality supervision

Supervisor

PhD student

Courses

PhD defense

Publications

PhD research

  • Constraints:
  • Time and funding: 3 or 4-year PhD contract
  • Fact: 24 hours a day

Logistics

Research, expertise and interests

c ase study what should you do if these happen to your student
Case study: what should you do if these happen to your student?
  • The PhD student is smart, but shy and lack of initiatives
  • One experiment to get data may take six months
  • Replacing broken equipment might take three months
  • Too much time spent to pass a difficult course
  • You are no expert on the PhD topic
  • The student could be the only person working on such a topic at the department, and perhaps at NTNU
  • Two of THREE years left with no papers published yet
  • You are really very busy with various roles
  • Many nice jobs with attractive packages outside PhD

What is the chance of the student finishing PhD on time?

What is the chance of the student quitting PhD?

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