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Doctoral programmes and Graduate Schools in the UK: A case study of Nottingham Trent University UNICA, Dubrovnik September 23 rd 2009 Dr Matt Henn, Head.

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Presentation on theme: "Doctoral programmes and Graduate Schools in the UK: A case study of Nottingham Trent University UNICA, Dubrovnik September 23 rd 2009 Dr Matt Henn, Head."— Presentation transcript:

1 Doctoral programmes and Graduate Schools in the UK: A case study of Nottingham Trent University UNICA, Dubrovnik September 23 rd 2009 Dr Matt Henn, Head of Research Degrees and Research Training Graduate School College of Business, Law and Social Sciences Nottingham Trent University Burton Street Nottingham NG1 4BU Great Britain Tel: (0115) 848 8156; Fax: (0115) 848 8700; Email: matt.henn@ntu.ac.uk

2 29-May-142 Doctoral programmes and Graduate Schools in the UK: A case study of Nottingham Trent University Changes to the UK PhD over the last 20 years Key external forces shaping PhDs Introduction of Graduate Schools Overview of the structured approach to PhDs How NTU organises our PhD programmes Overview of our PhD Programme of Supporting Studies

3 29-May-143 Nottingham Trent University College of Science College of Art and Design and Built Environment College of Arts, Humanities and Education College of Business, Law and Social Sciences Central Graduate School School of Social Sciences Nottingham Business School Nottingham Law School Graduate School BLSS

4 29-May-144 What do UK PhDs look like? The traditional PhD - 80,000 word thesis PhD by published work: published work, artefact or performance that is accompanied by a written commentary placing it within its academic context resulting in an independent and original contribution to knowledge Professional doctorate (e.g., Doctor in Business Administration, Doctor of Social Professions etc) - for practising managers and professionals: 4 research papers, personal reflection of the PhD process 30,000 thesis

5 29-May-145 A personal view of changes in the organisation of UK PhDs over 20 years In the past: The traditional apprentice model, in which the research student sat at the feet of the supervisor who was the Fountain of Knowledge Very personal and individualised relationship No support outside of that relationship (subject, methodological, pastoral) Now: There is now much support outside of that relationship –a team of supervisors –School Research Degree Co-ordinators –Head of Research Degrees –Graduate School –and of course, the other students!

6 29-May-146 A personal view of changes in the organisation of UK PhDs over 20 years In the past: Single discipline-orientation Now: Mix of core disciplines and interdisciplinary orientation -Supervisors -PhD Programme of Supporting Studies -Research environment The Councils Strategic Plan also places a strong emphasis on innovation in research and training, and on the need to foster purposeful interdisciplinarity to address what are increasingly complex, and multi-faceted research questions (Economic and Social Research Council 2009, ESRC Postgraduate Training and Development Guidelines, p.3)

7 29-May-147 A personal view of changes in the organisation of UK PhDs over 20 years In the past: Little contact with other research students Now: Part of a Graduate School - and subsequently of thriving graduate and research communities –Gathered together in a single open-plan workspace –Workshops every two weeks (research training, transferable skills, teacher training) –Graduate School Conferences twice each year –Subject research seminars open to all

8 29-May-148 A personal view of changes in the organisation of UK PhDs over 20 years In the past: Little regard for ethical issues, or for health & safety matters in the research project Now: All prospective PhD research degrees projects are required to gain approval from the College Research Ethics Committee Workshops and comprehensive guidance notes – Ethics; Health and safety

9 29-May-149 A personal view of changes in the organisation of UK PhDs over 20 years In the past: Very low completion rates 1970s and 80s - the Winfield Report revealed that only 20% of UK social scientists completed within 4 years ( Taylor, S. 2007. Improving retention rates and completion rates. UK Council for Graduate Education, Goodenough College, London UK, March 2007) Now: Research councils set target completion rates – (60% in 4 years) UK 1996-97 PhD research student cohort - 36% completed within 4 years; 57% within 5 years (Higher Education Funding Council for England, 2007. PhD research degrees update: Entry and completion. Bristol: Higher Education Funding Council for England)

10 29-May-1410 What is a Graduate School, and what are its benefits - Bologna Create organisational structures for: Research training to prepare people for careers outside of the HE sectors across Europe to strengthen research capacities and meet needs of wider employment market Promote interdisciplinarity in terms of skills training, and also in the research environment Professional skills development and training of academic staff Increasing mobility across Europe for research students, and international collaboration between universities and other partners

11 29-May-1411 Graduate Schools - The UK context Harris Review 1996 Harris, M., (1996). Review of Postgraduate Education, M 14/96. Higher Education Funding Council for England, Bristol. Accessed on 11 September 2009 from. Roberts Review 2002 Roberts, G., (2002). SET for success: The supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. The Report of Sir Gareth Roberts Review. HM Treasury, London. Accessed on 11 September 2009 from.

12 29-May-1412 Graduate Schools - The UK context QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) 2004 Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education - http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/codeOfPractice/section 1/ http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/codeOfPractice/section 1/ The Research Councils: –ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) - http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/opportunities/postgraduate/ pgtrainingpolicy/ http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/opportunities/postgraduate/ pgtrainingpolicy/ VITAE - http://www.vitae.ac.uk/http://www.vitae.ac.uk/

13 29-May-1413 The Graduate School at Nottingham Trent University Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences Graduate School formed 1997 ; University Graduate School formed 2004 Operating purposes: Co-ordinate institutional ambition for high-quality provision for research students Interdisciplinarity Bring students together to create a critical mass and a stimulating knowledge environment Centre for methods and general research skills training

14 29-May-1414 How we ensure quality 1: Recruitment through to examination Recruitment and applications process – the Graduate School is the key point of initial contact with all prospective students Project approval Monitoring arrangements (twice yearly) –Annual monitoring of student as a condition of progress to subsequent year of study. It includes a review meeting with the student, the supervisory team, and an independent assessor Ethical approval Transfer (MPhil-PhD upgrade) stage Independent assessors The viva

15 29-May-1415 How we ensure quality 2: Supervisory support Our principles: Supervisor/ student relations are very important - but the supervisory team is accountable to the university for the successful conduct of supervision Supervision teams – minimum qualifications (2 completions) Economic and Social Research Council has a limit of 4 students per supervisor PhD students are entitled to regular, accurate and constructive feedback about their progress The university has an obligation to ensure that the student receives the support, training and advice needed for success in the PhD and in their future career Supervisors need support, training and advice too!

16 29-May-1416 How we ensure quality 3: The student experience Student training – Programme of Supporting Studies (workshops, conferences) We will consider this in a moment… High level research environment with exposure to alternative paradigms and approaches Student evaluation and feedback

17 29-May-1417 PhD programme of supporting studies (PSS) What is the Programme of Supporting Studies? Programme of research training designed to: –Support PhD research –Provide skills and competencies training for later careers Process for development of the Programme of Supporting Studies Active participation in, and full completion of, the PSS is specified in the research students research plan – their initial Project Approval application

18 29-May-1418 PhD Programme of Supporting Studies Graduate School Conferences (December & May) Graduate School workshops Research training Modules Individually Identified Specialist Advanced Research Training Programme of Supporting Studies Research groups Annual seminar series

19 29-May-1419 The outcome? Initially – culture of resistance… especially amongst supervisors Now – a more realistic appreciation that such a supporting programme equips the student with the skills to approach their PhD research degree with confidence

20 29-May-1420 The future of PhDs, and major challenges Interdisciplinarity Collaboration (nationally and internationally) Culture of resistance Training the supervisors

21 29-May-1421 Thank you for listening. Any questions?


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