HDR Supervision

Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Candidates Procedure

Policy Code: RS1929

Purpose

This Procedure is to:

  • Enable eligible persons acting as supervisors of Higher Degree by Research candidates to meet the requirements for being admitted to, and retained on, the Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisors;
  • Enable Higher Degree by Research candidates to understand the process for appointing and changing supervisors.

Scope

This Procedure applies to all Higher Degree by Research candidates, and all persons with supervisory responsibilities for Higher Degree by Research candidates.

Legislative Context

Regulation 5.1 – Higher Doctorates, The Doctoral Degree (Research), The Doctoral Degree (Professional), and The Masters Degree (Research).

Definitions

Term Definition
Associate Supervisor A person who is an employee of the University and provides support to the student and to the Principal Supervisor.
AQF Australian Qualifications Framework
Candidate A student enrolled in a Higher Degree by Research program.
Co Supervisor A person who provides support to the student and to the Principal Supervisor but is external to the University and is not an employee of the University.
HDR Higher Degree by Research
Principal Supervisor A person who is an employee of the University and has prime responsibility for guiding the progress of a designated higher degree by research student.
Probationary Candidate A candidate enrolled in a Higher Degree by Research program who has not yet completed Confirmation of Candidature.
Provisional Principal Supervisor A person who, under the direction of an appropriately experienced mentor, has responsibility for guiding the progress of a designated higher degree by research candidate.
RHDSC - Research Higher Degrees Sub- Committee A Sub-committee of Research Committee, handles all operational matters requiring Committee approval that relate to HDR students. 
Supervisory Panel A panel consisting of at least two members (including the Principal Supervisor and at least one associate supervisor) which oversees the planning and execution of the project and preparation and submission of the thesis.
HESF Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, Higher Education Standards Framework

Actions

 

Supervisor Registration

All applications for admission to the Register of Higher Degree Research Supervisors will be made on the prescribed form. Registration is for a period of four years. Eligibility, categories and requirements of supervision are outlined in the Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Candidates Policy.

Supervisors may be registered in one of the following categories:

  • Principal Supervisor (eligible to supervise PhD and Masters candidates as the lead supervisor)
  • Provisional Principal Supervisor (eligible to supervise PhD and Masters candidates overseen by a mentor)
  • Associate Supervisor (eligible to supervisor only as part of a team lead by a Principal Supervisor)
  • Co-supervisor (in the case of an external supervisor)

In some instances depending on experience and qualifications, applicants may be approved to be Principal or Associate supervisor to Masters level students only.

  Step Who is responsible Comment
1. Staff member completes Application for Admission to Register of Higher Degree by Research Supervisors Staff member The staff member must be aware of the requirements for each category of supervision which must be met to be listed on the register. The staff member must provide all information required, including details of training undertaken.
2. The application is forwarded to the Executive Dean or nominee Staff member  
3. The Executive Dean or nominee approves the categories of supervision for which the staff member is nominated Executive Dean

The Executive Dean should be satisfied that the staff member nominated has the appropriate expertise, experience and level of research activity to meet the requirements for registration.

Where a staff member is nominated as a Provisional Principal Supervisor an appropriately experienced mentor must be nominated.

4. The application is forwarded to DVC(RI) or nominee for approval Faculty  
5. DVC(RI) assesses application for appropriate supervision category (i.e. Principal Supervisor, Associate etc) DVC (RI)

The DVC(RI) will assess the supervisor application and assign an appropriate supervision category(ies) based on the information provided in the application. Supervision categories will be assigned as:

  • Principal Supervisor (eligible to supervise PhD and Masters candidates as Principal supervisor)
  • Provisional Principal Supervisor (eligible to supervise PhD and Masters candidates overseen by a mentor)
  • Associate Supervisor (eligible to supervise only as an Associate)
  • Co-supervisor (in the case of an external supervisor)

Some Supervisor categories may only be approved to supervise Masters level students.

6. DVC(RI) forwards supervision recommendation to RHDSC DVC(RI) or nominee RHDSC will accept / reject the recommendation and advise Research Services.
7. DVC(RI) advises applicant of application outcome DVC(RI) or nominee The DVC(RI) or approved nominee will contact the supervisor advising them of their registration status.
8. The register is updated and the staff member’s details added RS Notification will be emailed to the applicant advising that they have been added to the register.

The term of appointment for honorary, adjunct and fixed term staff applying for admission to the Register of Supervisors as Principal of Associate supervisors must be at least equivalent to the duration of candidature as outlined in Regulation 5.1.

Principal and Associate Supervisors who cease paid employment with the University and successfully gain an honorary appointment may be approved by the Executive Dean and DVC(RI) to continue with their supervision duties.

Supervisors who cease their employment or honorary appointment may apply to continue to be a member of supervisory panels as an External Co-supervisor.

Continuation, Renewal and Revocation of Registration

Re-registration is not automatic, and must be approved by reapplication. University staff including honorary and adjunct staff members who are registered to supervise will continue to be registered for a four year period unless one of the following conditions applies:

a)     staff cease employment (paid or honorary appointment) with the University; supervisors who cease their employment or honorary appointments may apply to continue to be a member of supervisory panels as an External Co-supervisor;

b)    staff no longer actively participate in original research;

c)     staff have their registration revoked.

The Executive Dean (or nominee), of the Faculty is responsible for ensuring that registered supervisors within their Faculty continue to meet the supervisor registration requirements.  Three months prior to the end of the fourth year of registration, the DVC(RI) or approved nominee will request that the supervisor's Executive Dean (or nominee) evaluate the supervisor's performance over the previous four years and recommend whether the supervisor's registration should be continued for a further four years. The DVC(RI) may undertake a review of supervision registration at any time. The Executive Dean may independently request a review before the end of the fourth year. In making a recommendation to the DVC(RI) for registration continuation/removal the Executive Dean shall have regard to the extent to which the supervisor continues to meet the conditions for registration.

Re-registration

The equivalent of four hours of refresher or update training or development (internal or external training, and/or relevant/equivalent experience) is a requirement for re-registration of all supervisors in addition to an evaluation/recommendation by the Executive Dean.

Timeline: Three months prior to their registration expiration date Supervisors will be provided with notice in writing to their staff email address. The Faculty must submit the application, complete with Executive Dean recommendation to Research Services at least four weeks prior to the registration expiration date. DVC(RI) (or nominee) will assess the application and advise the applicant of the outcome prior to the expiration date.

 

Standard review process:

  Step Who is responsible Comment
1. Supervisor advised that registration due to expire Research Services Research Services will advise supervisors when their registration is to expire at least three months prior to the expiration date.
2. Supervisor re-applies for continued registration Supervisor Using the Re-registration application form, the supervisor applies to continue registration
3. Application is forwarded to the Executive Dean or nominee for approval Supervisor  
4. Executive Dean assesses application and makes a recommendation Executive Dean or nominee

The Executive Dean, or nominee, of the supervisor is responsible for ensuring that registered supervisors within their Faculty continue to meet the supervisor registration requirements. 

Executive Dean or nominee evaluates the supervisor's performance over the previous four years and recommends whether the supervisor's registration should be continued for a further four years.

The Executive Dean may recommend to the DVC(RI) or approved nominee that registration be:

  • Continued in the same category;
  • Continued in the same category but with conditions;
  • Continued in a different category; or,
  • Discontinued (revoked or not renewed).
5. Application forwarded to DVC(RI) or nominee for approval Executive Dean  
6. DVC(RI) assesses application and makes a recommendation DVC(RI) or nominee The DVC(RI) or approved nominee may accept or decline the Executive Dean’s recommendation
7. DVC(RI) forwards supervision application to RHDSC DVC(RI) or nominee  
8. RHDSC accepts or rejects recommendation RHDSC RHDSC will accept / reject the recommendation and advise Research Services.
9. Supervisor advised of renewal / non-renewal of supervisor status DVC(RI) or nominee The DVC(RI) or approved nominee will contact the supervisor advising them of their registration status. Continuation of registration might be conditional on meeting particular professional development requirements.

Review by request from Executive Dean or DVC(RI):

In instances where the Executive Dean has requests a review of a supervisors supervision status.

       
1. Executive Dean reviews supervisor and candidate information against Revocation and non-renewal circumstances, as per Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Candidates Policy Executive Dean Executive Dean may request information from Research Services regarding supervisors and their candidates.
2. Executive Dean meets with supervisor to discuss circumstances Executive Dean / Supervisor Executive Dean may meet with past or current candidates to discuss their supervision
3. Executive Dean makes recommendation to DVC(RI) or nominee on the continuation of supervision status Executive Dean

The Executive Dean may make one of the following recommendations:

  • No further action required;
  • Continued supervision with mediation between the supervisor and candidate(s);
  • Continued supervision with the addition of a performance development plan, including mentoring, and a Faculty-approved supervisory plan for current candidates;
  • A change in the category of supervision with the addition of a performance development plan, including mentoring, and a Faculty-approved supervisory plan for current candidates;
  • A temporary freeze on supervision of new candidates with the addition of a performance development plan;
  • Temporary suspension of supervision of current candidates with the addition of a performance development plan, and a Faculty-approved supervisory plan for current candidates;
  • Discontinuation of registration with appropriate intervention which may include putting in place a performance development plan or other measures, and a Faculty-approved supervisory plan for current candidates.
4. DVC(RI) reviews case and makes a recommendation to RHDSC DVC(RI) or nominee The DVC(RI) or nominee will review the case and relevant information and recommend that RHDSC accept or reject the case
5. RHDSC assesses the application and accepts or rejects the DVC(RI) recommendations RHDSC RHDSC will provide a recommendation and actions for the Faculty
6. Executive Dean undertakes actions resulting from the RHDSC recommendation RHDSC / Executive Dean  
7. Research Services updates Register of Supervisors, where required Research Services  

Supervision Load

The normal maximum supervision load that may be carried by supervisors in different categories presented below.  In exceptional circumstances these loads may be subject to adjustment. Such adjustment requires the approval of the Executive Dean or nominee.

Principal Supervisor: Where other duties are not reduced, normally not more than 6 equivalent full-time candidates; where the principal supervisor is a full time researcher, normally not more than 12 equivalent full-time candidates.
Provisional Principal Supervisor: Where other duties are not reduced, normally not more than 4 equivalent full-time candidates.
Associate Supervisor: Where other duties are not reduced, normally more than 4 supervisory panels.
Co Supervisor: Normally a member of not more than 4 supervisory panels.

When allocating and approving the nomination of academic staff as supervisors and members of supervisory panels the following factors should be considered:

  • University and faculty workload models,
  • Workload balance between teaching, research and administrative responsibilities,
  • The completion rate of candidates previously supervised by the nominated staff member,
  • The frequency of candidate complaints relating to the nominated staff member,
  • The composition of the panel(s) and verification that the panel(s) are duly constituted according to this procedure.

Appointing a supervisory panel

Each approved supervisory panel will, where possible, include at least one new (less experienced or trainee) Associate Supervisor.   This ensures that new members of staff and developing supervisors have the opportunity to become Associate Supervisors. Exceptions to this may occur in some disciplines under exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the DVC (RI).   Formal mentoring for Associate Supervisors is a requisite part of joining a supervisory panel.

  Step Who is responsible Comment
1.       Application for Enrolment as a Probationary Candidate sent to Faculty Research Services  
2.       Supervision section completed and signed by nominated supervisors Nominated principal supervisor Following discussion with the applicant, Principal and associate supervisors are nominated.  The nominated Principal supervisor provides details of arrangements for supervision if the Principal supervisor’s appointment is not renewed.
3.       ADR section completed and signed by ADR or HDR Coordinator ADR/HDR Coordinator

Faculty confirms that nominated supervisors are research active, and have appropriate expertise and experience.

Completed application form signed by Principal and Associate Supervisors and ADR or nominee should be returned to Research Services

4.       Application form returned to Research Services Faculty  
5.       Application form along with supervisory panel nominations sent to RHDSC for approval Research Services / RHDSC RHDSC approves / rejects supervisory panel along with Probationary Candidate Application
6.       Confirmation of registration of nominated supervisors and entry into Research Management System Research Services  

 

Change of Supervisor

Requests for changes to a candidate’s supervisory panel should be made using the appropriate form.

The student or supervisor may request a change in supervisory arrangements at any time during the period of candidature. The RHDSC approves changes to supervision arrangements.

Candidate-initiated supervisor change

       
1. Candidate discusses change of supervisor with current supervisor or ADR or nominee Candidate Where the candidate is unable to discuss the change of supervision with their current supervisor, the candidate should discuss their request to change supervisors with the ADR or Nominee.
2. Candidate completes appropriate form and submits to Supervisor or Executive Dean or nominee Candidate The form may be submitted directly to the ADR or Nominee where it is impractical for the current supervisor to sign.
3. Executive Dean forwards to DVC(RI) or nominee for approval Executive Dean or Nominee  
4. DVC(RI) approves new panel membership and forwards to RHDSC DVC(RI) or nominee DVC(RI) or nominee endorses new supervisory panel membership
5. DVC(RI) forwards to RHDSC for approval DVC(RI) or nominee  
6. RHDSC approves new panel membership RHDSC RHDSC notes the new supervisory arrangements for the candidate
7. Research Services records the change in supervisory arrangements in Research Management System Research Services Research Services updates the panel membership and removes previous panel members.

Supervisor-initiated

Timeline: Supervisors must allow adequate time for replacement supervision to be secured. When a supervisor is no longer authorised or is unable to continue in the role, the relevant ADR or HDRC initiates procedures to appoint a replacement within 10 working days

       
1. Supervisor discusses change of supervisory panel with ADR or nominee Supervisor Where the current supervisor is leaving the University or not re-applying for supervision status, the current supervisor is responsible for discussing this with their candidates and providing suitable supervision suggestions to the candidates and ADR or nominee.
2. Supervisor discusses change in panel with candidate Supervisor Supervisors should discuss any change in panel membership with the candidate prior to completing and submitting the appropriate form
3. Supervisor completes appropriate form and submits it to Executive Dean or nominee Supervisor  
4. Executive Dean forwards to DVC(RI) or nominee for approval Executive Dean or Nominee  
5. DVC(RI) approves new panel membership and forwards to RHDSC DVC(RI) or nominee DVC(RI) or nominee endorses new supervisory panel membership
6. RHDSC approves new panel membership RHDSC RHDSC notes the new supervisory arrangements for the candidate
7. Research Services records the change in supervisory arrangements in Research Management System Research Services Research Services updates the panel membership and removes previous panel members.

Supporting Documents

  • Australian Qualifications Framework.
  • TEQSA Higher Education Standards Framework.
  • Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Candidate Policy.
  • Code of Practice for Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Candidates Procedure.
  • Application form for Admission to the Register of Higher Degree by Research Supervisors.
  • Federation University Australia Responsibilities for the Provision of Research Higher Degrees (these details are included in the Higher Degrees by Research Roles and Responsibilities Procedure).
  • Federation University Australia - Joint NHMRC /AVCC Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (these details are included in the Higher Degrees by Research Roles and Responsibilities Procedure).
  • Attributes Expected Of Higher Degree by Research Graduates of Federation University Australia.

Responsibility

Candidate

Change of Supervisor

  • Discus requests for change in supervision with appropriate staff
  • Submit form to Research Services for change in supervision

Supervisors

Registration of supervisors

  • Complete Application for Admission to Research Higher Degree Supervisors
  • Provide up-to-date CV and supporting documents with application

Continuation of Registration

  • Submit re-application for continued registration to ADR

Appointment of a supervisory panel

  • Complete the supervisor section Application for Enrolment as a Probationary Candidate

Change of Supervisor

  • Discuss any changes to the supervision team with the candidate
  • When leaving a supervisory panel, discuss any suitable replacements with ADR or nominee and Executive Dean or nominee

ADR or Nominee

Appointment of a supervisory panel

  • Complete the ADR section of the Application for Enrolment as a Probationary Candidate, endorsing the capacity of the Faculty and Supervisor to support the candidate

Change of Supervisor

  • Discuss any change of supervisor requests with candidates and supervisors
  • Discuss suitable replacements with supervisors and candidates
  • Complete appropriate form when requesting change
  • Approve requests for changes in supervision by candidate

Executive Dean or Nominee

Registration of supervisors

  • Assess applications for Admission to Research Higher Degree Supervisors, ensuring that expertise, experience and level of research activity meet the requirements for registration

Continuation of Registration

  • Executive Dean assesses applications for re-registration and recommends re-registration, discontinuation or registration with conditions.

Change of Supervisor

  • Approves change in supervision arrangements

DVC(RI) or Nominee

Registration of supervisors

  • Assesses applications for Admission to Research Higher Degree Supervisors and approves a supervision level on the basis of research activity and previous experience
  • Advises applicant of the outcome of their application

Continuation of Registration

  • Accepts or declines the recommendation of the Executive Dean
  • Review supervision registration, where required

Change of Supervisor

  • Approves changes to supervision arrangements

RHDSC

  • Approves registration of and changes in supervision

Research Services

Registration of supervisors

  • Records supervisor applications and nominated levels of supervision on the Register

Continuation of Registration

  • Sends supervisors reminder emails prior to their lapse in registration

Appointing a supervisory panel

  • Ensures all nominated staff are on the Register of Supervisors

Change of Supervisor

  • Records any changes in supervision on the Research Management System

Promulgation

The HDR Supervision Procedure will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice under ‘FedNews’ website and through the University Policy - ‘Recently Approved Documents’ webpage to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. inclusion on the University Policy, Procedure and Forms website; and/or
  3. distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff; and/or
  4. documentation distribution, eg. posters, brochures.
  5. Other - please describe

Implementation

The HDR Supervision Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. Information Sessions; and/or
  2. Training Sessions; and/or
  3. Other - please describe

Records Management

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Application form for admission to the Register of Higher Degree Research Supervisors Research Services. Director, Research Services Temporary - retain 12 months after application decision

Application forms for appointment as:

Director of Provisional Principal Supervisors &

Provisional Principal Supervisor.

Research Services

Director, Research Services Temporary - retain 12 months after application decision
Register of Higher Degree Research Supervisors Research Services Director, Research Services Permanent