IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: CHES-CDE doctoral seminar - session 3 of 4

30 June 2021, 12:00 pm–1:30 pm

University students studying in the library. Image: Tony Slade for UCL Digital Media

Dr Susan Taylor, Dr Tom Woodin and Dr Nicole Brown will present on the topic of doctoral education in this third research event of the CHES-CDE doctoral seminar series.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES)

This event is part of the Centre for Higher Education Studies-Centre for Doctoral Education (CHES-CDE) seminar series. It will be particularly useful for those interested in doctoral education.


Supervisor pedagogy, relationships and challenges

Speakers: Dr Susan Taylor and Dr Tom Woodin

This research investigates good supervisory practice at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and explores how supervisors develop relationships with their postgraduate research degree students.

It considers challenges reported by supervisors and how they overcome these challenges as well as establishing what, if any, additional support would be beneficial.

To date we have completed some preliminary analysis of ten closed and ten open questions circulated as a survey via Opinio to all listed supervisors at IOE. A response rate of 26% was achieved following three follow-up reminders. Our initial findings will be presented. The survey was piloted through the Departmental Graduate Tutors at IOE and amended accordingly prior to circulation of the full survey.

Our initial research questions were:

  • What approaches to pedagogy do supervisors of doctoral students at IOE report?
  • How do these self-reported pedagogies support or hinder the development of effective supervisor-student relationships?
  • What are the strengths and challenges of doctoral supervision at the IOE and how do these relate to the key issues identified in the literature and recognition framework?
  • How aware are research supervisors of support at UCL and external forms of support to help them overcome challenges identified?
  • What are the implications of the findings for the Good Supervisory Practice Framework?

The presentation will provide an initial discussion of these questions in relation to key issues raised by the survey findings.

Disclosure dances: the experience of PhD students with invisible disabilities in higher education

From statistics we know that disclosure rates amongst postgraduate research students in higher education are much lower than in the general population or amongst undergraduate students. However, there is no evidence that invisible disabilities are less prevalent in higher education. 

In this presentation, Nicole will draw on her research funded by the CDE seedcorn scheme to present her findings from the project outlining the issues and concerns of doctoral students with invisible disabilities.

Nicole will commence with a brief introduction to the Embodied Inquiry employing creative research methods for data collection. She will then discuss how individuals are struggling to reconcile working and studying in what appears to be an inclusive academia with the realities of negotiating structural barriers, attitudinal challenges and managing symptoms of their conditions.

Nicole will conclude with some suggestions on what we can do as individuals to improve practices within academia and thereby support those with disabilities, chronic illnesses and/or neurodivergences. 

CHES-CDE Doctoral Seminar Series

Doctoral education has received increased attention in recent years with concerns expressed about access by minority ethnic groups, preparation for future careers and the appropriateness of institutional structures and support for supervisors. This series will explore these and further issues.


About the Speakers

Dr Sue Taylor

Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Associate Professor of Doctoral Education at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Dr Sue Taylor

Sue has worked at the IOE since 2001. As EdD Programme Leader in the Centre for Doctoral Education, Sue has facilitated a number of changes to the EdD and was involved in restructuring the programme to enhance both student experience and progression.

She has been instrumental in removing barriers to postgraduate research as part of the widening participation agenda. Sue designed and developed a pre-doctoral training programme that paved the way for mature professionals to access the EdD.

Her research focuses on adult professional learning and andragogical approaches to learning, including research into the education and training of professionals. Sue is also interested in the development of spiral curricula to develop generative learning.

More about Dr Sue Taylor

Dr Tom Woodin

Reader in the Social History of Education at IOE

Dr Tom Woodin

Tom is a reader in the social history of education and has written on the history of education over the past two centuries, on working class culture, adult education, mutuality and co-operation and the growth of compulsory education.

His most recent books include:

  • 'The UCL Institute of Education: from Training College to Global Institution' (with Richard Aldrich, UCL 2021)
  • 'Working Class Writing and Publishing in the late Twentieth Century' (Manchester, 2018)
  • 'Co-operation, Learning and Co-operative Values' (ed. Routledge, 2015).

At the IOE, he is currently carrying out research on doctoral supervision, is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy, programme leader of the MPhil/PhD and a departmental graduate tutor.

More about Dr Tom Woodin

Dr Nicole Brown

Director of Social Research & Practice and Education Ltd and Lecturer in Education at the IOE

Dr Nicole Brown

Nicole has edited 'Lived Experiences of Ableism in Academia: Strategies for Inclusion in Higher Education', 'Ableism in Academia: Theorising Experiences of Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses in Higher Education' and co-authored 'Embodied Inquiry: Research Methods, and Making the Most of Your Research Journal'.

Her research interests relate to physical and material representations and metaphors, and, more generally, research methods and approaches to explore identity and body work. She tweets as @AbleismAcademia.

More about Dr Nicole Brown