Professional Development of Research Supervisors: A Capacity-Building, Participatory Framework.

The professional development of supervisors of higher degree research students is growing in importance and undergoing change, based on the demand for timely completion of higher degrees and the Australian federal government’s quality agenda driving improvement of practice. Research has informed the design of research supervision frameworks within large universities (Carton & Kelly, 2014; Luca et al., 2013) but smaller institutions face different issues, including the challenge of developing an active research culture.
This paper reports on the outcomes of an institution-wide project that was conducted in a small, private higher education institution involving the development and implementation of a framework for research supervision. The theoretical framework of the project drew on the pedagogical principles of research education (Kiley, 2009; Kiley & Wisker, 2009; Willison, 2010) and the project's methodological design adopted a utilisation-focused evaluation approach. By using a participatory research methodology, the perspectives of academic and administration staff, and higher degree students were gathered. Guidance was also sought from national and international experts in research supervision.
This paper outlines the research approach used and the framework that was developed, and reports on the issues raised during the initiative including insights into the success factors in changing culture.