Teaching & Learning


New resources for research supervisors created with Faculty Graduate Tutors and students

19 February 2019

Two new guides have been created for new and existing supervisors at UCL.

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As part of our renewed efforts to enhance the professional development of research degree supervisors and to get greater engagement with this process, UCL Arena Centre and UCL Doctoral School are continuing to improve resources and training throughout 2018-19. 

The Good Supervision Guide: for new and experienced supervisors 

Written by Alexandra Bulat, PhD candidate in UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. 

The guide highlights examples of good supervision practice based on interviews with UCL Faculty Graduate Tutors (FGT's) from across UCL.

Examples are organised in themes and provide specific guidance to examples which cut across all disciplines. 

Main themes of the guide include:

  • key principles of good supervision
  • setting expectations
  • listen, reflect and share
  • institutional structures

Download or order your guide today

Appropriate Forms of Supervision: for new and experienced supervisors 

Written by Ben Colvill, Deputy Director in UCL's Doctoral School and exert from UCL's Academic Manual, chapter 5, Research Degrees Framework.

The guide aims to outline the supervisor and other support at key stages during a research degree.

Main themes include:

  • the UCL context 
  • identifying the research question 
  • designing the research project
  • conducting research 
  • presenting thesis results

Download or order your guide today

Creating resources with staff and students

Dr Alex Standen, Associate Director in UCL Arena Centre and leading on support for early career academic and research supervisors, says: 

I’m delighted to see the launch of these new resources for our research supervisors to support them in their role. These guides have been written with FGTs, students and UCL Doctoral School - a fully collaborative effort! We will continue to bolster support for our new and experienced supervisors at UCL, including developing face to face sessions, such as our new Enhancing Supervisory Practice workshop and training in Coaching and Mentoring for Supervisors.

PhD Student, Alexandra Bulat, shares her experience of creating the resource: 

I worked on the project as a PhD student and I had the great privilege to interview Faculty Graduate Tutors about supervision at UCL. I listened to a range of perspectives about what good supervision means in different departments and what are the challenges Faculties experience. I incorporated the FGTs advice for good supervision practice in the course and I also had fun assisting with the short videos, in which FGTs introduce themselves and offer advice to both new and experienced supervisors. It has been a rewarding experience for me and it also improved my research skills, as I applied qualitative methods to a totally different topic and context than my own PhD research 

Ben Colvill, on the increased support to research supervisors:

Commissioned and created as a working collaboration between UCL Arena and the Doctoral School with key input from Faculty and Departmental Graduate Tutors together with a number of UCL students, it provides a strong basis for further enhancement to the programme of professional development for UCL supervisors.

Core and further training for research supervisors

1. Introduction to research supervision

This online course is mandatory for all members of academic staff wishing to be appointed as research supervisors at UCL, including new members of academic staff with experience of research supervision at other institutions. 

Experienced UCL supervisors are also encouraged to work through the course as a refresher and central resource containing information, guidance and links to relevant policies and materials.

How to join the online course: Introduction to research supervision

If you have any trouble accessing the course, email arenacentre@ucl.ac.uk.

2. Developing as a UCL research supervisor

Having completed the online training, those with no prior PhD supervisory experience must attend the follow-up workshop: 'Developing as a UCL research supervisor'.

Issues will be covered in depth such as:

  • supervisory responsibilities
  • developing an effective supervisory relationship
  • factors for successful supervision. 

The session aims to welcome new staff to the role of supervisor at UCL, while experienced supervisors are invited to join to refresh their knowledge of the supervisor’s roles and responsibilities who supervise PhD students.

3. Enhancing your supervisory practice - new training session!

Having completed the online training, new and existing supervisors can attend this workshop.

Issues will be covered in depth such as:

  • different supervisory contexts 
  • your experiences with peers, and;
  • reflection on your practice and consider ways to enhance it 

You will gain a deeper insight into your supervisory role and relationship. There will be lots of opportunity for you to discuss and work in groups to look at common challenges and ways to increase effectiveness as a research supervisor. 

4. Examining research doctorates 

Having completed the online training, new and existing supervisors can attend this workshop.

During this workshop, Professor David Bogle, Head of UCL Doctoral School will: 

  • explain UCL's examining procedures and guidelines
  • prepare you for examination at other institutions 

You will understand UCL policy and procedure for effective examining of doctorates. 

Book training today

For all sessions for research supervisors, visit the UCL Arena events calendar for available training events (tick the 'research supervision' option in the Subject filter).