Working with others

This section examines various aspects of a candidate’s relationship with their supervisor and others.

Building productive working relationships

The workshop ‘Building Productive Working Relationships’ helps research candidates and their supervisors begin discussions about key supervision issues. The focus of this workshop is the communication strategies used, not what is actually to be discussed.

The Balancing Act: the supervisor-student relationship

These stories, from three full-time students, three part-time students and three supervisors, explore the balance of the supervisor-student relationship. The initial stories were developed from a research project investigating women academics’ experiences of balancing work, study and life. A number of stories were gathered later via word of mouth (people seeing the earlier work and wanting to contribute their stories) and it just happens that these additional stories have also been authored by women.

Developing an understanding with  students

It is the premise of this resource that there should be a facilitated discussion about the expectations of supervision at various points in the supervision process, but particularly so at the beginning. This resource also proposes that, as with many other professional relationships, writing down the essence of the agreement is important – both to enable a revisiting of what was agreed upon at some later point, and also because the drafting of the document is a way of facilitating a discussion of issues.

Student-supervisor alignment toolkit

Supervisors and their students often assume that they are ‘on the same wavelength’ when, in fact, at times they have very different perceptions of the same events. The student-supervisor alignment tool allows both the candidate and supervisor to independently express their views of current student needs and supervisor style.

Beyond the student-supervisor relationship

In a study of the experiences of doctoral students, Cumming (2008) identifies the constellation of individuals, other than candidates and supervisors, who are potentially engaged in the activities of a doctoral candidate. These include a range of academics within and outside the department and university, professionals, business and industry contacts, community members, online contacts, peers, technicians, librarians, industry researchers, other candidates, and postdoctoral researchers; in addition to the network of associates, friends, partners and family. This is a resource to discuss supervisory roles in this context.

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