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From collegiality to culture: lessons from 10 years of embedding a doctoral training programme Dr Colin Macduff & Professor Linda Lawton UKGCE Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "From collegiality to culture: lessons from 10 years of embedding a doctoral training programme Dr Colin Macduff & Professor Linda Lawton UKGCE Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 From collegiality to culture: lessons from 10 years of embedding a doctoral training programme Dr Colin Macduff & Professor Linda Lawton UKGCE Conference Dublin 3 rd July 2014

2 Overview of presentation Course management team and other teaching contributors Context: national and local Course content and format Challenges/opportunities Evaluations Key lessons Cultural integration

3 Course management team and other teaching contributors Present CMT Past CMT members Dr Ines Arana Dr John Baldachinno Dr Winfred EbohProf Ian Bryden Dr David JonesDr Charles Juwah Dr Sampath KannangaraDr David Lal Dr Rachel KnottDr Stephanie Rigby Prof Linda LawtonDr Bernice West Dr Cathy McCullagh Prof Seonaidh McDonald Dr Colin Macduff Dr Catherine Ogilvie Prof Dorothy Williams Postgrad Programme Co-ordinator: Dorothy McDonald Research office: Martin Simpson and Rosie Mearns External examiner: Dr John Hamer (present) Prof Ian Haines (former) VP: Professor Peter Robertson Other teaching contributors Graham Carter Dr Sarah Christie Victoria Farmer Prof John McCall Colin MacLean Prof Julian Malins Anne Nichol Dr Alan Owen Prof Sarah Pedersen Dr Rob Smith Prof Derek Stewart Dr Paul Swinton Steve Thomson Dr Hector Williams Alex Wilson Supervisors and students: too numerous to mention!

4 National context During the past decade doctoral training and supervision have come under more critical scrutiny (McCallin and Nayar 2012) Growing support for more formalised educational preparation for students and supervisors alike Limitations of the master-apprentice model have been highlighted previously, particularly in scientific disciplines with the tradition of the lone scholar (Deem and Brehony 2000) Useful to reflect on lessons learned from a doctoral training programme that has been running for over ten years

5 Local context Post 1992 university 1992-2002: doctoral preparation very largely within discipline Collegiality but master-apprentice model predominant and lack of structure for interdisciplinary learning 2002: development of PG Cert in Research Methods for generic foundational preparation of all research degree students 2014: currently almost 300 research degree students (usually just over half are part time) Present PG Cert aim: to foster necessary knowledge, skills and capabilities; contribute to scholarly development; and facilitate interdisciplinary understanding of approaches to research

6 Content and format Current PG Cert programme Two modules over 1-2 years: 1)Developing research: principles and practice 2)Research evaluation and critical analysis 5 days attendance at each followed by assignments relating to key stages on research journey e.g. preparation of detailed proposal; preparation for transfer to PhD Key refinements over the years have included reduction in the number of modules and separating off induction elements into a different programme

7 Challenges/opportunities Establishing shared vision, structures and processes Overcoming resistance Brokering buy-in Logistics Mixed cultures: disciplines and countries

8 Evaluations, review and feed forward Student Modular, ongoing End of year questionnaire Programme wide exit questionnaire Research Student Association Input to Research Degree Reviews PRES Staff CMT meetings Supervisory training Graduate School Boards Research Degrees Committee

9 Key lessons (1) Situational analysis of context and cultures Building content around common educational challenges for students and supervisors to optimise relevance Multidisciplinary CMT with credible champions Involving a range of disciplines in the teaching Varying teaching and learning methods Recognising tensions between generic and specific content

10 Key lessons (2) Drawing on national resources e.g. Vitae Fostering shared student identity and cohort creativity Supporting social integration Developing concurrent supervisory training Regular review responding to feedback Separating off induction aspects from main programme

11 Concluding reflexive questions Would this model be viable with larger annual student intakes? How critical is a VLE for success? How best should we engage with pressures from some students (and some supervisors) for APL and/or to undertake an online alternative?

12 The Burn May 2014: Vitae Effective Researcher

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16 Integral culture

17 Research Student Association: Best University Society 2013/2014

18 References Deem, R and Brehony, K (2000) Doctoral Students' Access to Research Cultures-are some more unequal than others? Studies in Higher Education 25 (2) 149- 165 McCallin, A and Nayar, S (2012) Postgraduate research supervision: a critical review of current practice Teaching in Higher Education 17 (1) 63-74


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