Supervision in Doctoral Education

It is commonly agreed that supervision of doctoral candidates is a key element in doctoral education, and one which crucially influences the successful completion of the PhD degree. The role of supervision has been a recurrent topic in discussions around measures to increase quality standards in doctoral education. Structural changes in doctoral education, but also growth and diversification of the PhD population, have affected doctoral supervision and greatly extended the role of supervisors. Today, supervision goes beyond the pure scientific guidance of doctoral candidates and includes personal mentoring, the support of professional, academic as well as non-academic development, career coaching and many other aspects.

Observing international developments in doctoral education, traditional one-to-one supervision is gradually being complemented by team supervision, including e.g. advisory boards as additional instruments for quality assurance. With the growing implementation of Doctoral Schools and centralized support structures further actors evolve that contribute either in different forms or at different stages of the PhD process to the supervision of doctoral candidates.

While the significance of good supervision is generally unquestioned, there is less consensus on a definition of good supervision, and in particular, on the kind of support universities can provide in order to improve it.

The 7th Annual Conference of the Center for Doctoral Studies of the University of Vienna invites university leaders and researchers from all disciplines to reflect on the various dimensions of supervision and how we can progress the discussion within our institutions. The opening panel reflects on the topic from a more general perspective: why is it important to discuss supervisory standards on an institutional level, what needs to be changed and what can we learn from international examples? The second panel shifts the attention to the multiple roles of supervisors, their tasks and responsibilities, whereas the third panel discusses what type of measures are helpful to encourage dialogue and exchange about supervision and good supervisory practices within institutions. The conference concludes with a panel discussion reflecting on how policy makers and university management can contribute to the quality of supervision, what type of incentives are needed and what we can conclude from the previous discussions.

After the conference we cordially invite all participants to our summer party.

The conference is follwed by a one-day workshop about Good Supervision. Please find more information about the workshop here