Thursday, October 10, 2013

Getting Started - Developing Strong Supervisory Relationships

This week, I got to sit down with new faculty colleagues for a conversation about Graduate Programs in Education and Graduate Supervision.  In preparation for that meeting, I assembled a few "must have" documents that every New Graduate Supervisor in Education should have in their toolkit in order to study and prepare to be a Great Graduate Supervisor.

1. Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar - Online , PDF and Hardcopy

Grab the Calendar and your highlighter and prepare to learn these sections:
  • Academic Schedule - vital for your course-based teaching and for deadlines
  • Awards and Financial Assistance - helps you advise students on funding
  • Fees and expenses - become aware of what students pay to be here
  • Academic regulations - grades, progress reports, time limits, appeals, principles of conduct, integrity in scholarly activity - you must read all of this
  • Handbook of Supervision and Examination - Online and PDF
  • A vital section of the Graduate Studies Calendar is the Handbook of Supervision and Examination, found on pages 35 - 48. Do not pass go, and do not undertake supervision without reading and understanding every section in the Handbook. 
  • Everything you need to know about examinations can be found here, and also on the Graduate Programs in Education Website (see below for specifics). Every graduate supervisor has the responsibility to know the rules and regulations surrounding supervision of graduate students and for the scheduling and conduct of exams. There is a specific section on the Role and Responsibilities of the Graduate Supervisor, p. 47-48, which every supervisor should know by heart. There are also sections on Faculty, Program and Student roles and responsibilities, that should be read and understood as part of our collective commitment to student experience and success.
  • Graduate Programs in Education (GPE) Program Descriptions, p 62 - 73
  • Read and understand and memorize the requirements for the programs in which you supervise students. It is not "nice to know", it is "Must Know" information. 
2. Graduate Supervision - FGS Web
  • Checklist of Expectations for Graduate Student and Supervision
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies Intellectual Property Awareness
Graduate Supervisors work closely with masters and doctoral students during the entire thesis-based program, from admission to orientation to graduation. One tool that supports clear communication is the Student-Supervisor Checklist. During the early weeks / months of a working with a graduate student, be sure to discuss expectations and goals using the checklist, establish a regular meeting schedule, establish a timeline with the student for major program goals, review the intellectual property checklist, and discuss other issues that are relevant to your discipline and your work together.

In Graduate Programs in Education, we expect all Graduate Supervisors and Graduate Students to review an discuss all elements of the Student-Supervisor Checklist together, and to put a co-signed copy on file once all topics on the checklist have been discussed. 

3. Graduate Course-based Teaching

Graduate Program Timelines and Dues Dates have been established for textbook orders, course outline approvals and the posting of the course outlines for each Semester. Study these due dates so that you submit your Graduate Course outlines and textbook orders ON TIME, so that Graduate Programs in Education can get these out to students as soon as possible in preparation for the semester.
  • Textbook Orders: Apr 15 for Fall; Oct 15 for Winter; Jan 31 for Spring/Summer
  • Course Outline to EDSA Chair:  Aug 1 - Fall; Nov 15 - Winter; Apr 1 - Sp / Jun 1 - Sum
It has been rumored that the Associate Dean takes people who are consistently early or on time with their course outlines to lunch. You heard it here first, folks.

4. Graduate Programs in Education (GPE) - Policy and Processes

The Faculty of Education offers several masters programs; it is important that you study each of these in preparing to advise your students:
Our Faculty is unique in that we offer two doctoral program pathways:
It is important that you understand that both of our Doctoral programs require doctoral students to complete coursework, to prepare a research proposal, to successfully complete a candidacy oral exam based on the research proposal, and to write a dissertation that is examined by committee in the dissertation oral exam.  Study the websites to better understand the distinctions between the Research PhD and the Professional EdD. You will find the following documents on the GPE Website, and it is expected that you will read, study and become familiar with the expectations for examinations in order to advise your students well and to successfully mentor them in achieving success.
In conclusion, this is only a starting list, but one with vital resources to support you in your goal of advising students well and becoming a great graduate supervisor.

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