Opinion: Dr. Don Houston
Identifying excellence in doctoral supervision: how will we do?
The recent article by McCulloch et al (2016) provides a review of national regulatory and professional perspectives on supervisory excellence from four countries. Their conclusions are that none really engage with the ‘contested issue of excellence’ (p74) and ‘the decision-making process around national and university Learning and Teaching awards in the area of research degree supervision is likely to remain more of an art than a science.’
Flinders is about to enter the fray and perhaps lead the way.
Grad News, the OGR blog on 20/10/16 carried the following announcement:
The inaugural Flinders University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision will commence in 2016 for award in 2017.
The award recipient is acknowledged for their outstanding achievements across the various dimensions of excellence in supervision: the extent and range of their supervision activities; the positive outcomes for their candidates; their respect and support for candidates as individuals; their support for candidates’ career development; and their broader contribution to the development of supervisory practice within their faculties or across the University.
It will be interesting to see if the Flinders criteria provide a workable framework for distinguishing excellence from competence in this vitally important, specialist form of teaching.
Full article can be found:
Excellence in doctoral supervision: an examination of authoritative sources across four countries in search of performance higher than competence │ Quality in Higher Education (2016)
By McCulloch et al.