Welcome supervisors, pillars in Academia.
Generally, supervisors are expected to be the guiding hand and inspiration towards their more junior colleagues. This asks for behavior on different levels: academic, professional, organisational and, most of all, relational. By honing their skills on these levels, supervisors improve their ability to lead scholars to high-levels of abstract thinking, to developing a critical and analytical mind and to an inquiring approach.
Superheroes: academic performance
Being an excellent mentor, whatever your assigned role in supervision (advisor, promoter, daily supervisor, graduation tutor, etc.), implies that you must provide your learning community with a more detailed and in-depth focus in work, while maintaining the overview of the whole journey. Usually, this twofold character between content and process allows you to foster the development in others, while at the same time enhancing your own academic growth – a “superhero” task in itself. More and more, academic performance is being funneled to efforts of valorisation and organisation. However, or arguably, scholarly performance should not be just measured in terms of research output (e.g., funding, impact factor, citations, publications, graduations). First and foremost, most supervision performance should ground itself on the academic input you trigger or encourage in others – the superpower of helping others to perform well.
Critical academic mind: the inquisitive researcher
Reasoning and supporting arguments, elaborating informed judgments, the art of question-asking, offering constructive feedback and promoting scientific reflection are some of the competences you are expected to both promote in others and possess yourself through leading by example. Provoking, and at the same time pushing forward or stepping back, is quite a difficult balance as a supervisor. You need to assess entry levels, knowledge foundations and research maturity. Each case is a case, but individually your supervision needs to build up on this notion of ‘the academic mindset’, the inquisitive mind, finding ways to reach the inner cogs of the reflective ‘what if’ or curious ‘why’.
The role of reflection: the academic attitude
Based on this superpower premise, our training curriculum lies on co-developing courses/workshops and/or discussion fora with you in order to construct new perspectives on the complex task of supervision. You bring your experience and meaning to specific academic challenges, and we will create a safe and provocative setting to trigger new processes of reflection. There are several frameworks for supervision you can tap into, but together we want to build upon what challenges you most. Sometimes even: co-creating new strategies on how to stimulate academic authority in your cohort. You can browse some of our past decade projects within your learning and teaching community, and join us for new connections for the future.
Questions we often address with supervisors:
- How do I promote collaboration, individually or in my doctoral team of candidates?
- Helping them to become knowledgeable independent researchers is the mission, but how do I build up their confidence?
- I want my PhD candidates to learn, but how do I keep learning myself?
- How do I manage expectations and adapt to my surroundings: working with academically mature candidates and guiding newcomers to excel too.
Things we do
The role of supervisor can be one of the most rewarding and challenging roles academic life has to offer: how to find the perfect balance in the educational triangle? What is the theory of ‘constructive alignment’? What are the boundaries, roles and tasks of a teacher/supervisor? How to deal with motivational factors, individual differences and learning styles? How do I inspire a new generation to be the best researchers they can be?
We train and coach supervisors to further develop their skills and reflect upon their supervisory role. To the right you can find a small selection of courses that we regularly facilitate, but we are also used to creating courses or training sessions for specific needs, ranging from halfday discussion facilitation to multimonth development programmes. So do get in touch if you’re interested in a tailormade programme!
- Start-up course for new PhD supervisors – on finding your style of PhD supervision and honing elementary supervision skills like setting expectations, personal qualities, expanding the PhD’s network, academic responsibility.
- Academic happiness – on the fact that the challenges PhD candidates face often also have a strong emotional impact, that you as a supervisor should be able to relate to.
- Intercultural supervision – on how to supervise within a highly culturally diverse context: respecting and adapting to PhD candidates from culturally different backgrounds without losing yours.
- The inspired researcher – on fostering creativity and innovation in supervision didactics
- Coaching individual students – on different individual coaching methods within the academic context