Changing Students, Changing PhD & Challenging Supervision

Join us as we launch the HDR Community of Practice, and hear from Professor Alistair McColloch, a leading researcher in supervision.

The HDR Supervision Community of Practice – also known as the ‘HDR CoP’ – is a community of academic staff who are or have been engaged in the supervision of research students at MPhil or PhD level. The community also welcomes members engaged in other forms of research supervision (e.g. Honours or Postgraduate Coursework research projects) and professional staff who work within these fields.

You are invited to attend this event to hear from Co-Facilitators Professor Natalie Edwards and Associate Professor Tania Crotti, about their goals for this CoP in 2021 and beyond.

This launch event will feature guest speaker Professor Alistair McColloch as he discusses Changing Students, Changing PhD & Challenging Supervision.


Doctoral education has changed in the 25 years since the UK Council for Graduate Education could accurately describe it as ‘a cottage industry’. Not only has the number of research degree students expanded significantly across the globe, but the characteristics of the students have changed and they have become more diverse. Additionally, the nature of the doctorate itself has changed and there has been an increasing focus on doctoral quality. This against a backdrop of increasing academic performativity and university resource constraint. Today’s supervisor faces a very different situation to that faced by our colleagues in the recent past. This presentation will explore the questions arising from these changes.

The event is free to attend and all are welcome.  We are asking for registrations due to COVID room restrictions.

About the Presenter

Professor Alistair McCulloch has worked at UniSA (and in Australia) for over a decade, having previously been Professor and Dean of Research and Knowledge Transfer at Edge Hill University (near Liverpool in the UK) for over 12 years. During his time at Edge Hill he was responsible for the quality and development of the University’s research degree programs and for preparing the institution for an application for the power to award its own research degrees, powers which were granted in 2008. He was also responsible for institutional research policy and its implementation, and also for the University's submissions to the periodic Research Assessment Exercises through the period to 2008.

His interest in doctoral education and supervision in particular is long-standing. In 1999, he developed at Edge Hill the UK’s first Masters-level qualification in research degree supervision (a PG Cert in Research Degree Supervision), and also led the development in 2006 of an MA in Academic Practice designed to provide accredited training for both doctoral students and also academic staff. Whilst at Edge Hill, he was engaged in the national debates over the development of British doctoral education being a member of the group that in 2004 revised the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) Code of Practice for Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) between 2004 - 2009 and a joint-coordinator of the Society for Research into Higher Education’s (SRHE) Postgraduate Issues Network (PIN) over the same period.

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