Archives for posts with tag: identity

mentoring.pngAcademic work is commonly understood to be a tripartite trifle of research, teaching and admin. Researchers obviously have free and abundant access to doing research as a formalised part of their role, and can find admin work to do by joining formal research staff committees, organising sector conferences, and belonging to institutional special interest groups e.g. Athena Swann.

So what about teaching? Where do researchers learn not just how to ‘do teaching’ but also how to ‘be a teacher’ in a university setting. David Hyatt says that thinking beyond workshop learning and skills development, we need to aid researchers in developing ‘repertoires of practice’ that fit their work environment, doing academic work by a process of inclusion and actually supporting them to get on with the job. And for universities to do this properly we have to look around at the value that research staff offer to our teaching & learning, and supervision strategies.

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SPOON.pngEvery so often someone opens their mouth in a meeting and out tumbles “but we mustn’t ‘spoon-feed’ our PhD students – they have to be independent.” Recently, I’ve been wondering in some detail what’s behind this reaction, and how, in my role, I can interpret what this means for researcher and supervisor development.

So if we say a student should ‘be independent’ – what do we mean? Some ways of interpreting independence are below and I go to the tedious point of copy and pasting the 4 options out of the Oxford English Dictionary because I wonder if the definition might be the first point of expectation-clash over what constitutes PhD supervision… Read the rest of this entry »

signA session of my Leadership Coaching Groups for PhD students is dedicated to getting people together over coffee to facilitate conversations between successful academic staff and current research students who are aspiring future academic leaders. I know what you’re thinking – why would they aspire to that?

Topics of discussion in higher education that are currently flooding blogs, tweets, and editorial are the impacts of stress from research workload management, isolation, employability anxiety or workplace bullying, on mental health in academia. Now, I think these are truly important discussions, and serve to raise awareness of some really difficult issues and generate an evidence base from which to begin to generate support structures, and a culture change.

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