A Supervision Plan is an agreement between a Higher Degree by Research student , their supervisors and the Graduate Research School about the strategies that will be used to ensure that the student's progress is maintained during periods when one or more supervisors or the student are absent from UWA. Provision of an appropriate Supervision Plan is mandatory for students applying for external enrolment.
Maintenance of contact during extended periods of absence is the mutual responsibility of the student and supervisors. Similarly, the student and supervisors are jointly responsible for developing and monitoring the Supervision Plan.
It is not acceptable for a student to have their candidature disrupted by the absence of a supervisor. If supervisors are intending to be away from UWA for extended periods of time they should inform their student(s) at least one month in advance of their intended departure date. Arrangements must be made to re-distribute the duties of the supervision team, appoint an additional supervisor, supervise remotely, or some combination of these.
Prior to a supervisor's departure from UWA the supervisory team and student should establish clear guidelines and expectations as to the mode, frequency and proposed regularity of contact, the extent and style of the supervisor's input into the student's work during the supervisor's absence, and what is expected of each party with respect to turnaround times for work and feedback. The student should also formulate a plan for the completion of work to be undertaken during the supervisor's absence.
Arranging alternative supervision
All HDR students are required to have at least two supervisors who have the necessary knowledge, time, commitment and access to resources to undertake the supervision. Supervisors should be familiar with the student's research and have the expertise to guide the student.
Normally, when a supervisor is absent the supervisor/s remaining on campus will assume primary responsibility for supervision.
If the supervisor who is absent from UWA is the Coordinating Supervisor, another supervisor should take on the role of Coordinating Supervisor so that the administrative requirements relating to the candidature continue to be fulfilled promptly and satisfactorily.
Supervisors intending to supervise students remotely should discuss and document how, and how often, they intend to communicate with their students. Email is one possibility, but there are other useful modes of computer-mediated communication such as Skype.
Above all, supervisors intending to supervise their students remotely must continue to accept the candidate's work and provide feedback, in line with UWA’s expectations.
A contingency plan should be developed in case something goes wrong, for example if one or other party stops responding to messages or fails to meet commitments or appointments.
The Supervision Plan
The Supervision Plan is an agreement between the student and the supervisors which details the conditions of supervision. It provides evidence that the parties have discussed and developed strategies and actions to ensure that the student's research progress is maintained and communication remains open.
Key points to note when compiling a Supervision Plan include:
- Clear indication of the dates of periods of absence
- Clarification of appropriate modes of contact
- Agreement on frequency and proposed regularity of contact
- Negotiation of a schedule for regular submission of the student's written work
- Negotiation of a schedule for written feedback on the student's work according to a mutually agreed turnaround period
- Identification of any strategies that will be employed to overcome unexpected delays or interruptions in contact between the two parties