This information should be used to outline the plan for supervision during periods when either the HDR candidate or their supervisor is away from UWA.

In cases where either the supervisor or student is absent for an extended period (more than four consecutive weeks) a formal Supervision Plan should be developed.

The Supervision Plan is essentially an agreement between the candidate and the supervisor(s). It provides evidence that the parties have agreed upon strategies and actions to ensure that a student's research progress is maintained during periods when either the supervisor or the student is absent from UWA.

Maintaining contact during extended periods of absence is considered to be a mutual responsibility. Both supervisor and student are jointly responsible for ensuring proper planning for supervisory arrangements is undertaken during extended periods when either party is away from UWA.

Students have the responsibility to ensure they have adequate supervision arrangements in place while undertaking research-related travel. Plans must me made to maintain regular contact so that the supervisor can monitor the candidate's research progress during their period of absence.

It is not acceptable for a candidate to have their candidature disrupted by supervisor absence. If academic staff with supervisory responsibilities are intending to be away from UWA for extended periods of time, they should inform their students at least one month in advance of their intended departure date.

During such periods, a supervisor may choose to either nominate a replacement supervisor, supervise a candidate remotely, or a combination of both.

Arranging alternative supervision during extend periods of absence

Supervisors intending an absence from UWA and who are unable to adequately supervise their student(s) remotely, should ensure that during their absence appropriate alternative supervisory arrangements are put in place.

In instances where a student has more than one supervisor, the supervisor remaining on campus when the other is absent will normally assume primary responsibility for supervision.

When a sole supervisor goes on extended leave for more than four consecutive weeks, an acting supervisor from within the University must be nominated. The acting supervisor should have the necessary knowledge, time, commitment and access to resources to undertake the supervision. They should be familiar with the student's research and have the expertise to guide the student.

If the supervisor who is absent from UWA is also the coordinating supervisor, the acting supervisor should take on the role of coordinating supervisor such that the administrative requirements relating to the candidature continue to be fulfilled promptly and satisfactorily.

Prior to the supervisor's departure from UWA, the nominated acting supervisor and candidate should establish clear guidelines and expectations pertaining 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 candidate should also formulate a plan for the completion of work to be undertaken during the period of the supervisor's absence.

Remote Supervision

Supervisors intending an absence from UWA and who wish to supervise their student(s) remotely, should carefully plan how, and how often, they are going to communicate with their student. Electronic mail is one possibility, but there are other useful modes of computer mediated communication such as skype. The frequency of contact should also be negotiated prior to the supervisor's departure.

Above all, supervisors intending to supervise their students remotely should be prepared to continue to accept the candidate's work and provide feedback in line with UWA's policy on frequency of contact and feedback which can be found at HTTP://www.postgraduate.uwa.edu.au/supervisors/policies/supervisors

In cases where remote supervision has been decided upon, a contingency plan should be set in place if anything goes wrong. For instance, should the supervisor stop responding to emails and appropriate member of the school's academic staff who is present in the discipline group should be asked to act as an alternative supervisor.

The Supervision Plan

The Graduate Research School requests that a Supervision Plan be developed in instances when either the supervisor or student is absent from UWA for an extended period (i.e. for more than one month).

The Supervision Plan is an agreement between the candidate and the supervisor(s) which details either the conditions of remote supervision, or the alternative supervisory arrangements that will be put into place when either party is absent from UWA. It provides evidence that the parties have discussed and developed strategies and actions to ensure that the candidate's research progress is maintained.

Key points to note when compiling a Supervision Plan include:

  • Clear indication of departure and return dates
  • Clarification of appropriate mode of contact where remote supervision has been decided
  • Agreement on frequency and proposed regularity of contact where remote supervision has been decided
  • Negotiation of a schedule for regular submission of the student's written work
  • Negotiation of a schedule for written feedback on a 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 remote contact between the two parties
Supervision Plan [PDF, 94.1 KB]
Updated 11 Oct 2013


Supervision Plan [RTF, 66.9 KB]
Updated 11 Oct 2013