Graduate Supervision

The Teaching Support Centre (TSC) and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) have developed workshops, courses and resources to assist faculty supervisors and graduate chairs who mentor and support graduate students and to enhance graduate supervision and raise its profile and importance across campus.

Supervision Conversations Series

Join us to discuss the challenges of supervising graduate students and explore opportunities for mentoring young scholars of your discipline.  "Supervision Conversations" is an informal monthly brown-bag lunch series: participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and share supervision strategies during each session and will receive resources related to the theme of the month.

More information

Western Publications

Western Guide to Graduate SupervisionWestern Guide to Graduate Supervision
Elizabeth Skarakis-Doyle
Gayle McIntyre

Based on the experiences of Western's graduate supervisors, this 30 page guide (PDF) addresses the supervision of graduate students and focuses on best practices in mentoring, promoting student progress and clarifying expectations in the supervisor-student relationship.

 

 

Western Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures Western Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures
Nanda Dimitrov

The Western Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures is a handbook for graduate supervisors who work with students from cultures around the world. The guide addresses the most frequently occurring challenges in supervision across cultures and includes concrete mentoring strategies and case studies to help supervisors promote independence and initiative in their mentees, bridge power differences in the relationship, set boundaries, communicate effectively and support their students in the transition to Canadian academia.

 

See also:

Online Resources for Faculty


Guiding Principles for Graduate Student Supervision (PDF) - Canadian Association for Graduate Studies

  • A list of 12 guiding principles which can apply to all graduate students, supervisors, and administrators of graduate programs across Canada

Mentoring: How to Mentor Graduate Students - A Guide for Faculty (PDF) - University of Washington

  • Includes practical strategies for nurturing rewarding relationships, and provide five freely available worksheets that cover assessing expectations, getting initial meetings started, and planning for professional development

Nature's guide for mentors

Handbook of Graduate Supervision – University of British Columbia

  • Provides “in-depth advice on roles and responsibilities, communications, learning styles, time management, and many other issues” and is useful for both supervisors and students

Eleven Practices of Effective Postgraduate Supervisors (PDF) - University of Melbourne

  • Covers the role of the supervisor and the quality of supervision, and focuses on approaches, strategies, and trouble-spots

Supervising Graduate Students - McMaster University

  • Answers frequently asked questions from new faculty about supervision
  • See also the 2006 version

Supervisor Development Workbook (PDF) - RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

  • A series of worksheets designed for supervisors who wish to enhance supervisory skills and facilitate timely completions
  • Supervisors develop knowledge and techniques for effective supervision, engage in critical reflection and improve practice

Supervising a Doctorate - vitae (formerly The UK GRAD Programme)

  • Offers tools for the supervisory process, and a newsletter for supervisors

Re-envisioning the Ph.D.

  • A University of Washington initiative with an extensive list of resources on issues in graduate education and a database of promising practices at other institutions for implementing change and innovation in doctoral education

Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering

  • A publication by the National Academy Press “attempts to summarize features that are common to successful mentoring relationships.”  Contains sections for mentoring undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduates

Survey on Doctoral Education and Career Preparation
Results from a survey conducted in 1999-2000 of 4000 students from 27 U.S. universities.  Focused on the following questions:

  • Why are doctoral students pursuing the Ph.D.?
  • How effective are doctoral programs at preparing students for the wide range of careers they pursue, both in and out of the academy?
  • Do students understand what doctoral study entails before they enroll and once they begin their studies?
  • Are the day-to-day processes of doctoral programs sufficiently clear so that student can concentrate on developing knowledge and skills?

Supervisor & Student Relations – University of Victoria

  • Information to guide students and supervisors at UVic.  The Research on Critical Aspects of Graduate Education is particularly useful for considering aspects of effective supervision.

Best Practices in Graduate Education - Pennsylvania State University

  • Includes articles on the thesis defence, recruiting challenges, graduate student mentoring, and how to conduct professional meetings

Faculty-Student Relationships: Promoting Mutual Accountability

  • Discussion summaries from workshops on resolving common scenarios of problems between advisors and students

Educational Resources for Postgraduate Research – Pat Cryer

  • Advice for supervisors and advisors on promptly and effectively solving dilemmas related to supervision from the author of The Research Student's Guide to Success.

Quality in Postgraduate Research conferences website (Australian Universities)

  • Contains conference papers and abstracts on several issues in graduate education including research on good practices for supervisors.

Social Science PhDs—Five+ Years Out [2007-2008]

  • A series of reports from the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education that provides tools for program evaluation, comparison benchmarks, and objective information on PhD career outcomes

Print Resources

Supervising the Doctorate: A guide to success. 2nd edition. (2005) by Sara Delamont, Paul Atkinson, and Odette Parry. Society for Research into Higher Education. Available in the Teaching Support Centre.

  • Provides advice for the novice supervisor and ideas on improving practice for experienced supervisors

The Good Supervisor: Supervising Postgraduate and Undergraduate Research for Doctoral Theses and Dissertations (2005) by Gina Wisker.  Available in the Teaching Support Centre

  • Covers: supervision differences, supervisor development programmes, establishing and maintaining good supervisory practices, how to assist students in research practice and writing, working with and supporting students, non-traditional supervision, completing the research process and beyond

A Handbook for Doctoral Supervisors (2005). By Stan Taylor and Nigel Beasley.  Available in the Teaching Support centre.

  • Examines changing contexts of supervision, recruitment and selection of students, how to support the research project and examinations, working with diverse candidates, and the evaluation of good practice

How to get a PhD: a handbook for students and their supervisors, Third Edition (2000), by Estelle M.Phillips and Derek S. Pugh. Available in library: EDU LB2386.P47 2000  

  • British (Open University), but generally applicable.
  • Particularly addresses how to overcome communication difficulties between supervisors and students, and “how to survive in a predominantly British, white, male, full-time academic environment” for students of different backgrounds

Supervising Postgraduates from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds (1999), edited by Yoni Ryan, Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt. Available in library:  DBW LB2343.S86

  • Provides insight, guidance, and suggests strategies for universities and individual supervisors in effectively supervising non-English speaking students

Postgraduate Research Supervision: Transforming (R)elations.(2001), edited by Alison Bartlett and Gina Mercer.

  • Focuses on one-to-one British model, 26 chapters by different contributors
  • Theoretical perspectives: feminism, poststructuralism, deconstruction, Foucault, Jung, discourse analysis, psychoanalysis, but mostly draws on practice and critical reflection
  • Attempts to go beyond “Best Practices”, get at the “dirtiness” of the power relations of supervisor-student

Resources for Graduate Students

Relations with Supervisors - A Guide for Graduate Students (UWO Office of the Ombudsperson)

Websites for Graduate Students (UWO Student Development Services)

Books for Graduate Students (UWO Student Development Services)

Student-Supervisor Relationships (University of Alberta)

Mentoring: How to Obtain the Mentoring You Need - A Graduate Student Guide
(University of Washington)

Mentoring and Networking: how to make it work (Nature Immunology)