TRAINING SUPER SUPERVISORS: THE RETURN OF MARGARET KILEY
By Noritah Omar
Dr. Margaret Kiley, a renowned educational expert in postgraduate supervision from Australia National University, is no stranger to UPM. A visiting scholar with the School of Graduate Studies, she has been working closely with SGS in developing a support programme for supervisors.
Dr. Kiley’s enthusiasm for her subject matter is infectious. “Being a supervisor is not necessarily a natural transition for many lecturers,” she said. “Without formal training on being a supervisor, most lecturers end up simply repeating their own postgraduate experience, which may not have been very constructive.”
It is this belief in the importance of helping new lecturers in the transition from supervisee to supervisor that has led SGS to develop and launch the UPM Research Supervisor Support and Development programme in November 2014. Since 2014, over 500 lecturers have attended the Supervisory Support Programme at SGS.
The Dean of SGS, Professor Bujang B.K. Huat, explained that the programme is a mark of UPM’s continuous support and commitment to quality supervision and supervisor development. “We are bringing Margaret back based on the positive response to the previous workshop, and as a mark of the university’s awareness of the importance of professionalism in staff and candidates,” he said. “The programme does not only cater to new research supervisors, but also experienced ones who want to refresh and improve their supervision skills,” he continued.
The competitive nature of the doctoral curriculum also meant that postgraduate students expect more from their postgraduate experience. Dr. Kiley, in leading the efforts to transform supervisory practice at UPM, has left no stone unturned. The comprehensive programme requires new lecturers to attend three workshops: Introduction to Research Supervision, Preparing Your Student for Examination, and Examining the Written Thesis and the Viva.
In addition to these three workshops, 10 other courses are included in the programme, namely: Mentoring Less Experienced Co-Supervisors, Providing Quality Feedback, Chairing the Viva at UPM, Setting and Monitoring Milestones, Managing Expectations with Candidates and Co-Supervisors, Supervising in Cross-Cultural Situations, Ethics Approval and Candidate Research, Supporting Students in Their Research Journey, Supporting Students with Their Writing, and Selecting Examiners.
This year, Dr Kiley will continue with the workshops to help more lecturers at UPM. For new lecturers, she will be offering the Introduction to Research Supervision and Preparing Your Students for Examination workshops. New and experienced lecturers can also attend four other workshops: Mentoring Less Experienced Co-Supervisors, Supervising in Cross-Cultural Situations, Setting and Monitoring Milestones, and Chairing the Viva. Dr Kiley will also conduct research seminars on Interdisplinary PhD progammes: Advantages and challenges, and Developing A Positive Research Culture. These workshops and seminars, organised by the Putra Sarjana Secretariat, will run from February 16 to February 18, 2016.
Dr. Kiley is also returning to UPM this year to conduct a session on the Training of Trainers. The session, on February 19, will train selected UPM’s supervisors to become trainers themselves. This will help UPM build the programme further, and prepare UPM staff to continue develop the supervisory support programme.