On being accountable: Risk-consciousness and the doctoral supervisor

Year: 2004

Author: McWilliam, Erica

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper analyses the imperative to greater accountability for doctoral supervisors as the effect of a regime of truth (Foucault, 1980) that we call risk management. It draws on new sociological theorising of risk to argue that risk management works as a moral climate that offers academics new ways of being properly professional by being more risk-conscious. Risk-conscious academics are increasingly on guard against student failure, declining standards and waste of resources. Thus they come to regulate themselves and their students in ways that are closely aligned to the ethos of the post-millennial university as a risk-conscious organisation. The paper considers the implications of this greater accountability for doctoral supervisors.