Using the Good Supervisory Practice Framework to Support Supervisor Development

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During this online workshop, held on May 15th 2024, Dr Jennie Golding and Dr Heather Sears presented examples of how they are using UKCGE’s Good Supervisory Practice Framework (GSPF) in a global context.

Firstly, Dr Golding (Associate Professor, Institute of Education — Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment, University College London) introduced a project in which the GSPF has been successfully implemented in universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sustainability, affordability and collaboration are the qualities we particularly value about this project,” she remarked. As she explained, the project went through several iterations; the first – at University College London – proved to be very successful, with one of the participants remarking that it was the best professional development I’ve had in 17 years at the Institute of Education”.

After this first iteration, Dr Golding asked two critical friends” to give feedback – one from Egypt and one from South Africa – and as a result, she was able to take the workshops to Southern Africa. This resulted in 12 successful UKCGE supervisor recognitions. There followed a third iteration at UCL and a fourth in Sub-Saharan Africa (involving universities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe). Many positive results came from these initiatives, including the book Doctoral Supervision in Southern Africa: From Theory to Practice (Springer, 2023).

Following Dr Golding’s presentation, Dr Heather Sears (Head of Researcher Capability and Development, Coventry University) outlined an equally ambitious project to implement the GSPF in Pakistan. She explained that there are strict rules about supervision in Pakistan, but there was little continuing professional development available. She added that there was a need to implement a capacity-building programme for PhD students, so she worked on a model whereby the initial trainees would become master trainers, who could continue to roll the programme out via peer-to-peer learning.

Dr Sears explained that the model Coventry University uses is similar to University College London’s, in that supervisors learn via reflection and case-studies. She said that she created topic blocks which mapped directly onto the GSPF and was careful to schedule in time for reflection, to avoid overwhelming participants. 

She also explained that she did not personally visit Pakistan but designed the course and then sent out pairs of experienced supervisors, who made things their own”. She added that they ensured the sustainability of the project by asking participants to develop implementation plans for embedding supervisor development into their own institutions.

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