Research education coordinators have the opportunity to influence how an institution undertakes research education at many levels. Such influence often involves complex negotiation between various parts of the institution, and the results can have a significant impact not only in the direct area of responsibility of the REC but also in other parts of the institution, which learn from what has been achieved in one school or faculty.
In light of recent developments in the sector, many universities are proposing to introduce more formalised doctoral education programs. In some places this takes the form of enrolled coursework in the first year of candidature, whereas in others it can take the form of a suite of required courses throughout candidature. This scenario addresses these issues from the point of a research education coordinator, and there are also some suggestions about how these issues may be resolved.
Building research education within a faculty is a long process. It involves cycles of change, innovation, reflection and collaboration. Implementing change requires not just top-level leadership but leadership across various roles within a faculty. This case study addresses this issue.
This case study identifies initiatives undertaken to build a research community and program across conventional departmental and disciplinary structures. In this case the community was constructed under the umbrella of a Research Institute in which it was felt there was greater freedom to offer an enrichment program additional to support offered by departments. The focus is on preparing researchers to be both knowledgeable in their research field, as well as adaptive leaders able to meet the challenges of the future. The initiatives outlined in this case study are particularly relevant considering that the annual survey of postgraduate research students (PREQ) consistently confirms that postgraduate students are most dissatisfied with the intellectual climate at Australian universities.