New challenges and new opportunities

Many supervisors are experiencing pressure for more efficient supervision. Fewer hours of supervision for more students in less time. This clearly poses challenges, but also presents opportunities.

Although the framework conditions for supervision differ at bachelor’s, master’s and PhD levels, many of the challenges are the same. A key challenge for supervision is to support students in working  independently and taking ownership, while at the same time ensuring that they submit a product of high quality and on time. This challenge is further exacerbated by the shorter time allowed for supervision, e.g. fewer standard hours for supervisors and less time for students to write their texts. Supervision requires a dedicated effort from supervisors, both with regard to the product (the text) and the process (the working method). Supervision also requires an appropriate balance between control and support, and it requires matching of expectations with regard to roles, relationships and responsibilities. A number of specific strategies and tools are available to support this, for example use of supervisor letters, metacommunication, systematic questioning techniques, criteria-based and instructive feedback on texts, group supervision, etc. These methods can help improve the efficiency of supervision and improve the benefits for students.

The CTL offers courses on PhD supervision and workshops on thesis supervision. We also offer individual counselling for supervisors if they need sparring, for example on a specific case. No issue is too big or too small for us to deal with. We are also happy to provide sparring for directors of studies, subject coordinators and PhD programme committee chairmen if they want to discuss aspects of a more fundamental nature in relation to supervision for specific subjects or programmes.