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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

8.5.2: Responsibilities of the Supervisory Team

Each member of the supervisory team will:

have relevant expertise, experience and/or have completed initial training for the role. All staff are encouraged to undertake continued professional development sessions as provided by the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development;

be familiar with:

be responsible for keeping fellow team members, and the academic department in which the student is based, appraised of the student's progress.

At the Beginning of the Research Project:

At Induction, the supervisory team are responsible for:

1. ensuring that the student attends central and departmental induction events including, where appropriate, University and departmental sessions on teaching and assessing.

2. completing, at an early supervisor meeting (or meetings), and no later than three months from the start of supervised study, an individual Induction. This induction should include:

If not covered in Departmental Induction:

a. an outline of key departmental contacts (e.g. postgraduate administrator, Director of Postgraduate Research), sources of information (e.g. student handbooks) and feedback processes (e.g. the SSCC);

b. information on University and Departmental health and safety regulations and requirements;

c. information on departmental facilities (lab or study rooms; building access; file storage; IT; pigeon holes) and any policies on their use;

d. information on working arrangements (out-of-hours access; action taken in case of illness; holiday entitlements);

e. departmental and institutional requirements for progress (9 month review etc);

f. draw the student's attention to plagiarism awareness training available within the University, and to the nature, unacceptability and consequences of plagiarism.

For all Students:

g. the supervisory arrangements (e.g. confirming the supervisory team and field of study; the frequency of meetings and the system of their recording);

h. the consideration of the student's generic and subject-specific training needs (including the completion of Training Needs Analysis form, and the discussion of relevant departmental training events, seminars and other postgraduate activities);

i. an agreed initial timetable for the research project with indicative deadlines for completion of distinct stages of the research, and for completion of written work;

j. checking that appropriate financial support, living accommodation and health registration is in place.

3. ensuring that, for part-time and, in particular, students not based in Durham, that the induction includes a further confirmation of the appropriateness of the facilities and training provision available to the student, and of the timing, frequency and format of supervisory meetings.

During the Research Project

Regarding the Research Project, the supervisory team are responsible for:

4. maintaining contact through regular personal supervision and seminar meetings in accordance with departmental policy, and in the light of discussion of arrangements with the student, and be accessible to the student at other times with reasonable notice;

5. giving guidance on matters including: the choice of research topic; the planning of the research programme; appropriate literature and sources; and attendance at classes, events or training related to the field of study;

6. discussing with the student the agreed timetable for the research project (with indicative deadlines for completion of distinct stages of the research and for completion of written work), reviewing and revising it as necessary, to ensure that the thesis is submitted in good time within the period specified by the University and, where possible, by the end of the period of supervised study;

7. requesting written work as appropriate to the project, returning it with constructive criticism within an agreed timeframe.

8. offering the student advice and constructive criticism on the preparation of the research project, and of the resulting thesis. One, or more of the, supervisor(s) will read and comment on the thesis as it develops, without compromising the independence of the candidates work.

Regarding Personal & Skills Development, the supervisory team are responsible for:

9. giving guidance on matters including: the nature of research; the standard expected at the level of study; attendance at generic Doctoral Training Programme or other relevant classes; requisite techniques and methods of work; the presentation of data, footnotes and bibliography; the issue of plagiarism; and other ethical and legal issues as appropriate (e.g. copyright, Data Protection);

10. helping the student identify his or her specific training needs on an ongoing basis, both in relation to research skills and to the development of other transferable skills; Inform the student of the means to develop these skills, and monitor the student's progress in these areas;

11. encouraging the student to present his or her work to staff/graduate seminars, and in other public forums (poster sessions, conference papers etc.), and where possible to put the student in touch with other members of the academic community both inside and outside Durham, who may be able to give helpful advice and assistance;

12. encouraging the student where possible and appropriate, to gain experience necessary for an academic career, such as teaching, publication and conference participation;

13. providing the student with support and guidance in relation to employability and careers more generally or, if necessary, directing the student to the appropriate professional support service;

14. helping the student interact with other researchers by making him or her aware of other research work in the School and University, and by encouraging attendance at conferences. Support the student in seeking funding. Where appropriate supervisors should advise on the submission of conference papers and article to referred journals. Supervisors should obtain the agreement of the student for any publication of work contained in the thesis and the inclusion of the student as co-author;

15. advising the student on matters relating to intellectual property rights and ensure adherence to the University's policy.

16. ensuring that appropriate insurance cover is in place to cover any work undertaken outside the University.

 Reading the Monitoring of Progress, the supervisory team are responsible for:

17. keeping agreed written records of progress and a projection of activity resulting form supervision.

18. completing annual reports on the student's progress as specified within the Code of Practice, and in line with departmental policy;

19. reporting on progress as required by grant awarding bodies and sponsors, and by the Board of Studies and the University, and to ensure that the student also does so.

20. making the student aware of inadequacy in progress or standard of work, in writing and offer constructive advice to correct any such deficiencies;

21. should the student fail to make sufficient progress, and should informal steps fail to bring about the required improvement, invoking the formal Academic Progress Procedure through the Board of Studies.

At the End of the Research Project

Where Students register 'On Continuation', the supervisory team are responsible for:

22. ensuring that the student has completed all research and is prepared to finalise the thesis or, where the supervisory team or student is of the opinion that substantial further research is needed, making a recommendation to the Departmental Board of Studies, and thereafter to the Chair of the appropriate Faculty Education Committee(PG), for a further period of full or part-time supervised study, for which tuition fees will be payable;

23. agreeing with the student a final schedule for completion of the thesis before the end of the continuation period.

As students prepare for Examination, the supervisory team are responsible for:

24. arranging for the department to nominate examiners for the student's thesis at least three months before the student is due to submit, after discussion with the student. The team must ensure that the proposed examiners have not had, and do not have, a significant input into the project, a significant personal, financial or professional relationship with the student, and meet the criteria specified in the Code of Practice. Examiners must be nominated in good time so that the examination can go ahead as soon as possible after submission

25. reading a final draft of the thesis before it is prepared for submission, to offer an opinion to the student and, if appropriate, to advise that modifications are made, making the student aware that the final decision rests with the examiners and that the supervisor's opinion is not part of the examination process;

26. if the supervisor considers that a thesis has serious shortcomings which will jeopardise its likely success, confirming that opinion in writing to the student;

27. supporting the student's preparation for the oral examination and, if necessary, arranging practice in oral examination techniques;

28. if invited by the examiners, attending all or any part of the oral examination;

Following the Examination, the supervisory team are responsible for:

29. advising the student subsequently of the implications of the examiners' recommendations;

30. providing advice and guidance on the examiners' requirements, should the thesis be referred for revision or resubmission, or if minor corrections to it are necessary.