The supervisor’s role is to facilitate your research and provide ongoing advice and guidance. They will also challenge you to achieve research and personal goals.
When applying to undertake a Masters by Research, PhD or Professional Doctorate degree you will need to meet with the Postgraduate Coordinator to discuss your chosen area of research. They will assist in selection of an appropriate supervisor.
Your supervisors will be chosen on the basis of their ability to contribute specialised assistance to you. You should discuss your specific needs and the availability of possible supervisors with the Postgraduate Coordinator prior to submission of an Application for Admission form.
While the final appointment of supervisors rests with the appropriate committee, you are encouraged to contribute towards the nomination process in conjunction with the Postgraduate Course Coordinator. Principal supervisors must be ECU staff members, however, under some circumstances associate supervisors may be external to the University.
The role of the supervisor at this stage should include:
Complaints regarding supervision should be resolved as early as possible during candidature and in accordance with Part VI Rule 49 (A) of the Edith Cowan University Rules (Admission, Enrolment and Academic Progress).
Following submission of the thesis or project for examination, you may appeal against aspects of the examination process or outcome of the examination but not against aspects of supervision.
The duties and responsibilities of supervisors will vary according the field of study being undertaken and the level of degree. For general guidelines, see the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
The duties and responsibilities are outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
In addition to these responsibilities, you should also:
Your supervisor should advise you on conference presentations and publications that might be produced from the research activities and the completed thesis or project.
It is normal practice within many research disciplines that supervisors who work with postgraduate research students in the preparation of publications become co-authors of those publications. Issues of publication and ownership of authorship should be discussed by students and supervisors early in the research project to avoid misunderstandings.
Where there is likely to be important intellectual property arising from postgraduate research, you and your supervisor should refer to the University Intellectual Property Policy and, where appropriate, sign an intellectual property license so that your interests are protected.
Where the research project requires access to a community or organisation for data collection or other research purposes, you and your supervisor need to consider issues of intellectual property and confidentiality.
Occasionally, communities or organisations may ask you to sign an agreement before you conduct the research. In all instances the agreement should be referred to the Director, Research and Innovation in the Research Services to find out if legal advice is necessary, if the agreement should be changed and whether you should sign.
At the end of each semester we require your supervisors to provide a report on the progress of your research to the Board of Examiners (via the Student Services Centre).
It is important to discuss with your supervisor any matter which could impede the progress or affect the quality of your research. If these matters are of a personal nature, trained counsellors are available on a confidential basis.
Progress reports are sent directly to the principal supervisor by Research Assessments, Student Services Centre. The reports are completed by both supervisor and candidate. Academic progress is graded as Satisfactory Progress, Marginal Progress or Fail.
These reports must be completed and signed by both the supervisor and you and returned to Research Assessments, Student Services Centre so that a grade can be presented to the Board of Examiners.
The progress report grading system is outlined below:
Illness, leave, appointment to another institution or other events may result in the unavailability of a supervisor. Alternatively, the relationship between a student and supervisor could prove to be unsatisfactory. If one of these situations arises, you should discuss the matter with your supervisor to make an alternative arrangement.
If you feel unable to talk directly with your supervisor, you can discuss the matter with the Postgraduate Coordinator or Dean of School or Graduate Research School.
If you are experiencing difficulties with supervision you should initially try to resolve the problem through discussion with your supervisor. If this is unsatisfactory, or not possible, you should discuss the matter with your Postgraduate Coordinator. If the problem cannot be resolved through discussion at these levels, you can lodge a written complaint with the Graduate Research School. Following the investigation of the matter by the Graduate Research School, if you are still dissatisfied with the decision, you may appeal against that ruling to the Committee of Review.
Following submission of the thesis for examination, the candidate may appeal against aspects of the examination process or outcome of the examination but not against aspects of supervision.
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