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1997 – Trial programme started – Inaugural 2.5 day First Year Skills Workshops (FYSW) 2000 - University of Liverpool institutes compulsory training programme.

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Presentation on theme: "1997 – Trial programme started – Inaugural 2.5 day First Year Skills Workshops (FYSW) 2000 - University of Liverpool institutes compulsory training programme."— Presentation transcript:

1 1997 – Trial programme started – Inaugural 2.5 day First Year Skills Workshops (FYSW) University of Liverpool institutes compulsory training programme for all research students The Impact of Compulsory Development Programmes Enshrined in ordinance 90: to undertake successfully the Research Training Programme or obtain exemption on the grounds of suitable prior experience of accreditation.

2 Main proposal of this paper: That the structured pursuit of personal and professional development is considered as integral to the doctorate as the viva and the thesis: P rofessional h olistic D evelopment ‘Fully integrating appropriate skills development activities within research degree programmes, so that they are not viewed and treated as an add-on or a separate stream which can be ignored, is a major challenge in most institutions.’* *Chris Park, 2007, p.33

3 Thesis Personal and professional development Viva

4 ‘Personal and professional development for research students positively associated with submission of thesis within 4 years’ (Humphrey, et al 2012). Interdisciplinary Awareness, Enterprise and Transferable skills Deep Disciplinary Skills and Expertise Leonard-Barton, 1995 The T Shaped Researcher

5 ‘It is now widely recognised by employers, professional bodies and research funding agencies that specialist expertise alone is not sufficient preparation either for research or a subsequent career. With this in mind, the University of Hull requires all its postgraduate research students to follow a research training programme relating both to their particular field of study and to generic skills; for example, information technology and communication skills.’ University of Hull PGTS 2010 ‘It is becoming increasingly necessary for postgraduate research students to be trained in skills that extend beyond those essential to pursue their academic discipline. This reflects changing employment patterns and the closer relationships between universities and employers to train students who are able to meet the nation’s needs. Notable among these skills are: the facility to use information technologies; the ability to use time effectively and productively; the capacity to work in teams; an understanding of business principles; and the skills to present ideas effectively.’ University of Liverpool Handbook 2002 Persuasive text…

6 PGR Training policies within the sector: Often: ‘Recommended but optional.’ More commonly: incorporated formally into M.Res programmes, CDTs etc University of Nottingham: Each Faculty has differing requirements for recommended training All Graduate School training and Faculty Training programmes carry training points Participants can automatically access a certificate confirming their attendance and points after the course

7 BLOCK A (ENG/SCI/MED/VET/DENT) BLOCK B (ENG/SCI/MED/VET/DENT) W/C 7/1/02 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday 9.00 to 9.30WRITTEN COMMUNICATION (Janet) WRITTEN COMMUNICATION (Janet) 9.30 to EPISTEMOLOGY (Janet) to EPISTEMOLOGY (Janet) to to to to to 1.00ORAL BRIEFING Richard) ORAL BRIEFING (Richard) 1.00 to to 2.00 ORAL COMM. WORKSHOP (Trish with M, J and Debbie) ORAL COMM. WORKSHOP (Janet with Trish, Rich and Martin) 2.00 to 2.30TIME AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT (Janet) TIME AND PROJECT MAN. (Richard) 2.30 to to to to to day First Year Workshop

8 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday Sign In: 9.30am Review Introductions, Hopes and Concerns, Learning contract. The Programme as a whole Thinking skillsEthical Concerns in Research for the Arts Working with others – managing the supervisory Relationship Presentations Break Skills audit Originality in research Managing the Ph.D process- Project management Working with Others – role-set analysis Presentations Social lunch Lunch Feedback skills Presentation skills Writing Skills Journal Writing Taking notes Presentation Practice Self management Thinking, learning, working styles Review action plan Break Presentation skills practice Writing skills (continued) Networks: Creating, discovering, using the resources around you Self-management Stress, anxiety, Time management Review 5-day First Year Skills Workshop 2002/3

9 Research Skills Workshops – Aims: 2006 To increase the awareness of the skills, strategies and processes which are required in order to successfully complete a research degree. To provide a catalyst and a resource for the transformative learning essential to the doctoral process Provide an experience that will enable research students to assess, practice and demonstrate the skills required to successfully develop within the research environment.

10 2010 – 2014:Three Day Workshop Structure

11 ‘Performance failure’ theory Recent studyRecent study by Manu Kapur & Katerine Bielaczyc outlines notion of performance failure: Three conditions that promote a ‘beneficial struggle’: 1.Choose problems to work on that ‘challenge but do not frustrate.’ 2.Provide learners with opportunities to explain and elaborate on what they’re doing. 3.Give learners the chance to compare and contrast good and bad solutions to the problems. Self-generated ideas for research projects Frequent opportunities for presentations plus chairs meeting, abstract construction and informal peer to peer discussion Peer review, audience questions, competitive spirit of team based workshop Manu Kapur & Katerine Bielaczyc, ‘Designing for Productive Failure,’ Journal of the Learning Sciences, Volume 21, Issue 1, 2012

12 How Performance Failure in the FYDW ‘works’ Teams given open ended problem to solve Unable to complete or solve problem correctly Provokes Idea generation about the nature of problem and what potential solutions look like Teams understand deeper structure of problem not simply correct solution Team members transfer knowledge more effectively than passive recipients of someone else’s expertise. Competent in next test within research environment Chuck them in the deep end Make sure they don’t drown Congratulate them (or not) on being able to swim badly Older, unsupported learning model…

13 FYDW 2013/14 Overall Evaluation: How useful was this workshop? (1 not very useful, 10 very useful) % of PGRs scored the workshop 6-10 (useful to very useful), up 4% from last year Of those, 72% scored the workshops between % scored the workshop as 10, up 10% from last year - despite increase of 42 additional participants

14 Overall aim 2014: Move participants from student mind-set to becoming a research colleague.

15 = 180 credits 60 units available from central training 90 units available for Personal Development Record (PDR) Now called Portfolio of Activity At least 30 units from Department or Faculty Training Compulsory Programmes require policing! The Training Credit Unit 1 credit = 1 hour of training 2002 – 2004 = 90 credits

16 2008 – Present. ‘Credit’ re-affirmed as purely an attendance indicator for the following programme: Annual Progression 1. The Record of Supervisory meetings, to regularly record formal meetings with supervisors 2. The PGR Portfolio of activity to record professional development First Year Development Choice of workshops on campus and online option for those unable to attend the Liverpool workshops Poster day Annual event in Liverpool and online option Career Development Range of options - online course, workshops, enterprise competitions or self-selected voluntary activities or work experience. Subject Specific Training Training and requirements set by school or institute At least 6 weeks of activity over a three year period

17 In the new Annual Monitoring Report Form the supervisor has a tick box to confirm that they have seen their student’s PDR! Yearly Completion of the Personal Development Record is confirmed through the Annual Monitoring Report Form… It’s alright Patty! Year 04/05 is just a trial period. 05/06 is when it’s going to be for real Oh Thank God! Difficulties with the training requirement…

18 Arguments for the Compulsory Training of research students: That’s what a PhD means at the University of Liverpool It will make the research councils take notice of us as an institution It will enable changes in the culture of the institution It will help to maintain and improve completion rates It will improve the skills base of all research students It will improve their employability Stakeholders suggest very strongly that we should do it…

19 Pedagogic arguments for compulsory training Doctoral candidature has changed – there is more to understand The research environment has changed – it’s an interconnected world The expectations of stakeholders have changed – their demands impact on the research and those that conduct it Not just technical knowledge but: ‘Know how’ and ‘can do’ Personal practice and practical activities The ability to network Sense of strategy – a ‘big picture’ Shift from skills to behaviour, attributes and application

20 Cumming’s argument (2010) for a ‘holistic conception of doctoral education.’ ‘…a broader and more holistic conception of doctoral education.’ ‘Premise [is] that doctoral experience can no longer be depicted narrowly, (apprenticeship, induction or Socialisation).’ ‘Doctoral candidates interact with a diverse range of individuals from within and beyond the academy, engage in creative mixes of education, training, research, work and career development.’ Rather than view these activities as discrete ‘silos’ – where established boundaries, epistemologies and cultures are maintained – the term ‘doctoral interface’ is used to capture the multifaceted nature of doctoral work and to highlight points of intersection.

21 Individuals are embedded in a socio-cultural-historical context [not…] independent actors positioned in relation to a contextual backdrop. Consequently, practice – as distinct from individuals or their environments – becomes the primary unit of analysis. holistic conception of doctoral education - integrative model of doctoral enterprise. doctoral practices and arrangements deemed mutually constituted and continuously evolving.* Applying Cumming’s Holistic Perspective Jim Cumming, Doctoral enterprise: a holistic conception of evolving practices and arrangements: Studies in Higher Education, Vol. 35, No. 1, February 2010, 25–39. Society for Research into Higher Education

22 If rigid boundaries between education, training, research, work and career development at doctoral level maintained, ‘then fragmentation, duplication and overlap are likely result.’ Doctoral environment (PGRs and supervisors) now subject to – continuous professional learning and KE activity ‘…[M]ain argument [is] that a broader and more holistic perspective increases capacity for new thinking and acting in this field.’* *Cumming p. 37. Cummings Main Argument

23 Integrated training programmes set the agenda for Professional Holistic Development. Requires colleagues to full take on board employment destinations for doctoral researchers:

24 Need for a Holistic Approach – Principle drop-out reasons (Thesis Whisperer*): Most often mentioned: Bullying or disinterested supervisors Loss of interest in the research / Lack of internal motivation (essentially drift) Don’t want to be an academic anymore - no point in continuing. Worry that PhD might make them ‘unemployable’. Mentioned less often were: Being asked to do extra work to make the project ‘submittable’ (sometimes tied to lack of good formative feedback along the way, but not always). Mounting debt (interestingly, in the two institutions I have worked, this is the most often stated reason for leaving a research degree, perhaps because it’s the most impersonal). Not family / relationship / carer responsibility friendly Desire to change disciplines/ topic, but difficulty in doing so Failed lab work Stress / exhaustion / mental health issues – like depression *Thesis whisperer:

25 Summary U of Liverpool model is light touch compulsory non-certificated – integral part of the PhD adaptable for different subject areas light on its feet (also cheap) Emphasises community learner and development approach – sharing of problems and solutions – attacks ‘pluralistic ignorance’ Social infrastructure formation – creates community Incorporates holistic understanding of PGR environment and doctoral interfaces – what a PhD ‘means’

26 Summary (continued) Holistic approach addresses stakeholder concerns and employer needs Re-envisions the doctorate for collaborative, externally focussed research ventures Changed expectations – PGRs and supervisors Agent for cultural change

27 Conclusions Difficult for PGRs and supervisors to unconsciously avoid the ‘training prerogative.’ All institutions pay attention to the training agenda but for some it’s lip service For others it is a compulsory activity – if not across institutions then within CDTs etc Liverpool Programme seen as contributing to PGR retention and good completion rates – Last week I genuinely thought about dropping out, am now much more motivated to see this through. Thanks :) BUT – training programmes and Graduate Schools must engage with the complexity and holistic conception of ‘what it means to do a PhD.’


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