As a REC you are meeting with the Dean of the faculty as she is keen to build on recent successes in HDR completions and the research active status of many of the academic staff. You want to discuss some recent complaints by HDR students that have surfaced during the mid-year review of progress. You are fairly certain that the Dean will be keen to support you in trying to resolve the problems.
Several of the new cohort of HDR students are studying part-time and also working full-time, and most have other family responsibilities. This year you introduced a local one-day Research Induction process that covered formal requirements, workshop support, and the roles and responsibilities of both the student and supervisor. Student feedback was very positive. However in follow-up meetings mid-year, several students complained that they never got to meet their peers, discuss their research plans or share information with other students. The problem was that they felt isolated.
Questions for consideration
- Who is responsible for helping students feel included?
- What sorts of activities might be appropriate for developing a sense of belonging?
- How will you know if the strategies you introduced are meeting the students’ needs?
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