In discussing what else the students do, we’re trying desperately hard to get them to give a roundtable. We have a roundtable spot each week and we’ve structured it so that there’s two half sessions in an hour; one is the postgraduate spot and one is the staff spot. The roundtable students don’t have to bring a piece of their research; they can bring a paper they’ve been reading or other things. People here are ridiculously interested in a very wide range of things.
Trying to get people to give presentations is always a challenge, and we’re still working on ways to encourage the students to acknowledge the fantastic opportunity that they have whilst they are just working on one thing. Staff don’t get the opportunity to read in the same way that the students do so it’s a bit about trying to strengthen the links between the staff and the postgraduates and that’s one of the messages they’ve been given. Generally there’s always enough of a crowd and people in general do recognise that you pick up interesting ideas from a completely different process.
We have been keen to shift the program to the next level. This is driven by the University candidature plan, the DSP (Doctoral Study Plan), the whole doctoral framework, and the notion of study modules and modularity. We recognise that we’ve developed a really rich language over the history of the program but we haven’t yet developed good ways of sharing that. We are developing modules which will be offered to staff as well as students and perhaps also more widely available. We will need to translate what we’ve developed into assessable modules for use for new students, for staff, for supervisors as well.