This post is by Pip Bruce Ferguson, Teaching Developer at The University of Waikato. Hamilton, New Zealand”
Two weeks back I facilitated a workshop that was advertised to a combination of PhD students plus staff at this University, where I work as a Teaching Developer. While my unit doesn’t work directly with PhD students nor supervise them, we do offer ‘Supervisory Conversations’ in conjunction with our Pro Vice Chancellor (Postgraduate), and have done for a couple of years now. These have been an effective way of supporting our supervisors, but have rarely included PhD students. We offer them in a beautiful location on campus, away from main teaching rooms, and provide a finger-food lunch.
Hospitality is important in New Zealand, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of ‘normal’ work and having time to discuss and reflect is very important to our supervisors, who can participate in cross-disciplinary discussion at these events.
Because of the pressure for staff to publish under our Performance-Based Research Fund (the New Zealand equivalent of the U.K.’s Research Assessment Exercise, but funded by rating individuals rather than units) we decided to offer a workshop on how to get published. This was also advertised to PhD students, and the workshop attracted a significant cohort of these, mainly international students. As with the conversations mentioned above, we offered morning tea, some resources such as hardbound notebooks and highlighters to help with the inevitable handouts (!) and an environment where people could ‘come apart’ from their normal workplace. Read more