Supervisor awareness training

It may be of interest to know what Supervisors’ needs are perceived to be (as suggested by the following training sessions for them):

Two ‘Supervisor Awareness’ workshops run by the Faculty in May.


The first will be a half-day workshop on the Supervision Context … The focus of PhD supervision tends to be on completion of the thesis and preparation for viva. However, there is clearly a wider context to supervision – one in which the student must cope with the emotional demands of the PhD and prepare to enter in an increasingly competitive job market. This session will therefore explore the broader remit of PhD supervision by considering the pastoral role of the supervisor and the supervisor’s role in helping the research student to develop the skills necessary for a successful career within academia or beyond.  

The second is a lunchtime session focussing on the Viva … The viva is often the most stressful part of the doctoral process, both for candidates and their supervisors. This comes, at least partly, from the fact that the viva is generally “conducted behind closed doors with a Hogwartsian sense that it is an arcane ritual, a mystery and properly so” (Carter, 2008). Vivas also tend to vary greatly – in length, tone and content – so no two are the same. How should a supervisor help his or her researcher prepare for such a private, individual and important event?

This session is intended to help supervisors to demystify the viva by exploring perceptions, and clarifying the purpose and process of the oral exam. It will also suggest ways in which supervisors can help their students to prepare for this part of the doctoral examination process.