Too Close for Comfort? Providing Doctoral Supervision for Colleagues

Year: 2016

Author: Kerby, Martin, Baguley, Margaret, Barton, Georgina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Academics in the field of education often come into the profession with substantial teaching experience yet are still expected to qualify this through doctoral studies. Often these studies are carried out at the institution in which the new academic is already teaching as a full-time or part-time staff member, and being supervised by colleagues at the same institution. Much research notes the importance of a strong and productive relationship between supervisor and doctoral candidate and points to where this relationship can fail. There is limited research however, that explores the supervisor/supervisee relationships between colleagues, that is where both participants work together in the area of teaching and service. This seems uncanny given it can be one of the most complex doctoral supervision arrangements (Denicolo, 2004; Barnett, 1999). This presentation therefore investigates a range of relationships that exist or have existed in the supervisory space between colleagues by drawing on seven case studies via interview data. Evidence suggests that many challenges arise when either supervising colleagues or being supervised by a colleague. Issues such as lack of understanding of roles, communication break-down, and politics in the workplace can all impact on the success of this relationship. The presentation will conclude by offering a number of recommendations for improved practice. The following recommendations have particular relevance to university leaders including Deans and Heads of School responsible for managing and fostering the research pathways of staff at their respective institutions and include: * Recommendation 1: The doctoral supervision of colleagues is undertaken by experienced supervisors who are not direct line managers of the candidate* Recommendation 2: The implementation of internal processes should recognise the complexities of doctoral supervision of colleagues* Recommendation 3: Institutional recognition should be provided for the doctoral supervisor of a colleague * Recommendation 4: Further support should be provided to both supervisor and doctoral candidate by an external critical friend