The Graduate School provides opportunities for your professional development, both as a new supervisor and as a more experiences supervisor of doctoral students.  
We run the How To Be an Effective Doctoral Supervisor (see below) workshops which are required for RDC1 submission.  

We also deliver a number of developmental opportunities for more experienced supervisors to meet the requirements to participate in professional development every 2 years.  For experienced supervisors continued engagement in your professional practice is a mandatory requirement.  The university offers a range of different types of opportunities that meet this requirement.  For example:

  • Graduate School workshops
  • Facilitation of a Graduate School workshop
  • Design and deliver
  • Contribution of a blogpost on supervision to the Graduate School blog
  • External professional development related to supervision e.g. from UKCGE or Vitae 
  • Other relevant professional development
  • Please get in touch with the Graduate School if you undertake external training to enable us to update our records. 

Quick links:

Supervisor Training Requirements

The Higher Degrees Committee at GCU advises the following:

New supervisors with no previous completions should attend the How to be an Effective Supervisor series of 4 half-day workshops prior to submission of the student’s RDC1 form. If this is not feasible, supervisors should attend the workshops within 6 months of submission of the RDC1 form. This training series must be completed before submission of the student’s RDC2 form.

Experienced supervisors (with 1 or more completions) should attend a minimum of 1 refresher training session every 2 years. Experienced supervisors can attend any refresher workshop session from the supervisor training courses on offer listed on this webpage.

‌Workshop Series: How to be an Effective Doctoral Supervisor (HBES 1-4)

Would you like to learn useful tips for successful research supervision or hone your skills by sharing the latest ideas on supervision? This four part series of half-day workshops is designed to be taken in any order.

Who is this course for?

1) Supervisors of postgraduate students 

2) Staff who would like to supervise postgraduate students

3) For mentors of new supervisors

Aim:Starting from the basis of assuming that supervisors are doing a good job already, this course does not focus on the basics of supervision; rather it concentrates on activities which will increase the effectiveness of the supervision process for postgraduate researchers.

Please note that new supervisors* must attend all of these workshops at some point this academic year, if they haven’t already completed them, in order to be able to register as a supervisor for a PhD. All four workshops are highly discursive, interactive and allow the opportunity to share experiences, explore the assistance available to first time supervisors and take away practical tools and suggestions.

Workshop 1: Recruiting and inducting your research student

Getting off to a great start with your supervisor relies on:

  • Making the right decisions during the recruitment process
  • Establishing the student well in to the institution: administration and processes, requirements and  opportunities

In this interactive workshop we will explore these issues and hear advice from experience supervisors and professional staff.

By the end of the workshop you will have:

  • Created a recruitment strategy for research student
  • Learnt about the recruitment  and admission process at GCU
  • Discovered the support and opportunities available to research students at GCU
Workshop 2: Establishing roles and working practices

Many of the challenges faced by both staff and supervisors and research students can be avoided by:

  • Carefully setting expectations at the start of the relationship
  • Clearly defining the roles of student and supervisory team
  • Understanding each other's working styles and cultures

In this interactive workshop we will explore these issues and here advice from experienced supervisors

By the end of this workshop you will have:

  • Determined the most important expectations and issues to clarify with the student
  • Understood how working practices and preferences may differ between students and supervisors over time
  • A plan for effective meetings and feedback
Workshop 3: Supervising the research process

PhDs and Professional Doctorates are Projects, and should be planned as such – this can help to give structure and security to the student as well as an easy means for the supervisor and institution to ensure that progress is being made. 

A project management approach will help both supervisor and student to manage risks, and create a plan of action, schedule milestones and engage effectively with stakeholders.

By the end of the workshop you will:

  • Be able to help and encourage your student to plan their project
  • Understand how your students may differ in their approach to project management
  • Have a plan for your approach to supervising the different phases of the research project
Workshop 4: Supporting, motivating and developing students

Any research student or project will encounter challenges along the way.  As a supervisor, it is important to recognise when these challenges are being encountered, and to have the tools and understanding to be able to help, motivate and support your student through the process.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Be able to describe the skills development needs of the research students over time
  • Know the support and opportunities available within GCU for supporting and developing research students
  • Have some strategies for motivating your student through challenges they may encounter