Development of collective academic supervision at the Faculty of Arts at AU

Purpose/research question

The objective of the project was to investigate possible 'returns' of reorganising individual supervision to collective supervision at Arts.


AU's study environment survey from 2011 showed that many students at Arts consider that the academic supervision and feedback are inadequate. The survey concludes that there is a need to prioritise and rethink supervision and the way it is organised, for example in the form of more varied supervision activities and increased use of peer feedback. This project was based directly on this recommendation in that it implemented and further developed a model for collective academic supervision. The model was tested in a pilot development project, which started in the autumn of 2010 at the Danish School of Education under the Faculty of Arts, AU.

Data and methodology

The data material consists of video recordings (a total of 6 hours and 37 minutes) of facilitated collegial network meetings, where five supervisors met three times during one semester to discuss their supervision. The five supervisors had video recorded their collective supervision practice and each had selected a clip on which they received feedback at the meeting. The video material from the meetings was inductively coded and meaning-condensed.

Results and perspectives

The project suggests that supervision resources are used more effectively and students learn more when supervision is practiced collectively. The project has also shown that supervisors are facing a number of challenges with regard to collective supervision. The preparatory phase before the individual supervision meetings is particularly important, and the role as a facilitator during the supervision meetings is considered difficult.

Status: finished


  • Wichmann-Hansen, G., Thomsen, R., & Nordentoft, H.M. (2015) Challenges in Collective Academic Supervision: supervisors' experiences from a Master Programme in Guidance and Counselling. Higher Education, 70(1), 19-33.
  • Nordentoft, H.M., Thomsen, R., & Wichmann-Hansen, G. (2013) Collective academic supervision : a model for participation and learning in higher education. Higher Education, 65(5), 581-593.