Career directions in post graduate supervision
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Career Directions in Post-Graduate Supervision. By Dr. Michael Wainaina, Associate Dean, Graduate School. Key Questions…. How do institutional, disciplinary and individual factors affect Supervisor’s Success rates?

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Career directions in post graduate supervision

Career Directions in Post-Graduate Supervision

By

Dr. Michael Wainaina,

Associate Dean,

Graduate School.


Key questions

Key Questions…

  • How do institutional, disciplinary and individual factors affect Supervisor’s Success rates?

  • Is there a relationship between a supervisor’s own commitment to supervision and progression in his/her University career?

  • Will the type of Supervisor one elects to become eventually affect their success rates and eventually their career, regardless of institutional influences and disciplinary research cultures?


Question 1

Question 1

  • How do institutional, disciplinary and individual factors that affect Supervisor’s Success rates?


Institutional research cultures

Institutional Research Cultures

  • Institution/University type influences the timely completion of RHD candidatures.

  • More RHD students complete their Degrees on time in Research Intensive Universities than in non-Research Intensive Universities


Disciplinary research cultures

Disciplinary Research Cultures

  • Research Discipline has more influence than Institutional/University cultures. The RHD candidature appears to be a rite of passage into distinct research cultures that manifests in discipline specific completions and times to submission


Disciplinary research cultures cont d

Disciplinary Research Cultures Cont’d

  • Natural Scientific research culture:

    • This is highly collaborative in its orientation to conduct and publication of research;

    • It is highly oriented and successful in the pursuit of external research income for further research or to fund candidatures.


Disciplinary research cultures cont d1

Disciplinary Research Cultures Cont’d

Humanities & Arts research culture:

  • This is highly individualistic in its orientation to the publication of research and somewhat indifferent and unsuccessful in the pursuit of external research income for further research or to fund candidatures.


Disciplinary research cultures cont d2

Disciplinary Research Cultures Cont’d

  • Social Scientific research culture:

    Exhibits a blend of Natural Sciences and Humanities & Arts characteristics and orientations, with mixed results.


Implications

Implications

  • Those starting their careers in Natural Sciences will be ahead of their contemporaries in the Social Sciences and Humanities, in similar circumstances

  • Those in the arts, humanities and Social Sciences

    • need to adopt characteristics occurring naturally in Natural Sciences through inter-disciplinarity, and collaborations In research, supervision, publications, and bids for research grants

    • Need to supervise for value…should demand rigor and quality from their students…(Remember students think that RHD in these areas are easier!)


Question 2

Question 2

  • Is there a relationship between a supervisor’s own commitment to supervision and progression in his/her University career?


Factors influencing supervisor s success rates

Factors Influencing Supervisor’s Success Rates

  • Supervisor’s Success Rate is defined by the number of students supervised and completion rates.


Supervisor s success rates

Supervisor’s Success Rates

  • In mean terms, supervisors who:

    • have been supervising for longer times;

    • publish and present papers with present or former RHD candidates;

    • win larger numbers of Large and Small grants;

    • have full-time candidates who do not change supervisors or topics;

    • take leave of absence to supervise and examine more RHD theses;

      have better success rates in terms of number of and timely completions.


Career implications

Career Implications

The University considers Supervision in its Official Promotion criteria:

  • Snr Lecturer: Basic: Successful supervision of at least 3 masters students: Max 4 Marks for 3 extra Supervisions

  • Assoc Prof: Basic: Successful supervision of at least 4 masters AND 1 one PhD student: Max 5 Points for 9 extra Supervisions

  • Full Prof: Basic: Successful supervision of 4 masters AND at least 2 PhD student Max 5 marks for 11 Supervisions

    Additional requirements are that you Publish with your students especially as you seek higher positions.


Question 3

Question 3

  • Will the type of Supervisor one elects to become eventually affect their success rates and eventually their career, regardless of institutional influences and disciplinary research cultures?


Individual supervisor practices

Individual Supervisor Practices

  • While individual supervisors’ practices tend to reflect their respective research cultures, there are practices that individual supervisors engage in, irrespective of University type and across disciplines that can be called ‘good’ because they contribute to the number and timely completion of candidatures.


Hands off approach

Hands-Off Approach

  • Some supervisors take a ‘hands off’ approach to supervision that leaves candidates largely to their own devices.

  • Except in a minority of cases where beginning candidates are already self-confident, independent, knowledgeable, skilled, organized and socially adroit, ‘hands off’ approaches tend to be associated with slow and non-completion.


Hands on approach

Hands-On Approach

  • Supervisors who are more ‘hands on’ in their approach to supervision tend to be associated with faster and more completions.

  • The main reason for this is that most commencing RHD candidates do not possess all of the ideal qualities that are often expected as pre-requisites to successfully undertaking a RHD. ‘Hands-on’ supervisors accept this situation and their relatively interventionist approach to supervision is more effective than ‘hands off’ approaches.


Hands on approach structuring

Hands –On Approach & Structuring

Interventionist pedagogic approach to supervision makes ‘Hands on’ achieve more and minimum time completions. Supervisors actively assist commencing candidates to structure their candidatures by:

  • negotiating with candidates a firm timetable for completing the

    candidature, especially in relation to:

    • available support and project logistics

    • institutional quality checks

    • project specific milestones (We have issued a Schedule)

    • the presentation and publication of conference and journal papers.


Hands on approach continued

Hands –On Approach Continued

By assisting candidates to structure their candidature, ‘hands on’ supervisors:

  • demystify the Post-Graduate degree.

  • establish consistent and viable relationships with candidates.

  • An important basis of these relationships is the achievement of early and lasting agreement between supervisors’ and candidates’ expectations of each other, coupled to action consistent with agreements.

  • Agreement is reached and the relationship maintained by an ‘open door’ consultation policy combined with supervisors regularly initiating contact with candidates.


Hands on in cultivating trust

Hands-On in Cultivating Trust

  • Trust enables the Supervisors to:

    …detect whether and why candidates are experiencing difficulties and thus to make timely and appropriate interventions themselves, or to refer candidates to more appropriate sources of advice and assistance.


Conclusion keys questions revisited

Conclusion - Keys Questions Revisited

  • Do institutional and disciplinary Factors affect supervisor’s success rates? Yes: You need to be aware of the disciplinary research cultures and work to mitigate them. (Change, adapt and Collaborate)

  • Is there a relationship between a supervisor’s own commitment to supervision and progression in his/her University career? Yes: There is a direst relationship between supervision success rates and career progression across all disciplines


Conclusion cont d

Conclusion Cont’d

  • Will the type of Supervisor one elects to become eventually affect their success rates and eventually their career, regardless of institutional influences and disciplinary research cultures? Yes: Supervisors who cultivate “hands-on” qualities earlier in their career, are cumulatively more successful, regardless of the institutional influences and disciplinary research cultures . Research shows that it’s the type of Supervisor one chooses to become that influences their success other than external factors.


References

References

  • For further ideas please See;

    • Wright & Cochrane, 2000;

    • Tinkler & Jackson, 2000;

    • Deem & Brehony, 2000;

    • Haksever & Manisali, 2000;

    • Kyvik & Tvede, 1999;

    • Linden, 2000;

    • Bartlett & Merger, 2000;

    • Johnson, Lee & Green, 2000; Latona & Brown, 2001, DETYA, 2001.


Career directions in post graduate supervision

THANK YOU


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