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Boundaries, Buddies, and Benevolent Dictators within the Ecology of Doctoral Study

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In March we co-delivered a seminar at SRHE based on our complementary research studies into doctoral support, supervision, and relationships. In recognition that very many and varied players contribute to supporting doctoral researchers along the way, we spoke to the idea of the ‘Ecology’ of doctoral study. Through both of our research and practice areas, we raise issues of:

Boundaries, for example: Who is responsible for which aspects of doctoral development? Who is responsible for doctoral wellbeing? What are the rights, the roles and the responsibilities of supervisors and supervisory teams at different times in the doctoral journey? What are the physical and structural barriers to doctoral learning?

Buddies, for example: Does a supervisor have to be a friend to a student to supervise them well? How do we enable supervisors to cultivate trusting partnerships? How do peers and post-docs support and develop doctoral researchers? What is the nature of support outside ‘academic advising’?

And Benevolent Dictators: How do good supervision relationships contribute to researcher independence? How is feedback given and received? Who has the power, and who takes control of doctoral learning?

We combined our thinking around these topics to offer a session that helped participants (doctoral researchers, doctoral supervisors, and researcher education professionals) to think about and discuss both the expanded sites of supervision (the ecology of support) and the relational aspect of supervision; how people react, behave and talk to each other within supervision relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Publication yearApr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

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