Sent: 28 May 2012 15:29
Subject: New report available online: Postgraduate Researcher Symposium: Conversations about the doctoral experience
A report of proceedings and recommendations from the Postgraduate Researcher Symposium held at the British Library on 1 November 2011.
The UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE), the British Library, Vitae and the National Union of Students (NUS) brought together doctoral researchers, supervisors and academic staff, staff supporting researchers and librarians for a one-day Postgraduate Researcher Symposium to discuss the doctoral experience. It is rare indeed for the various stakeholders to communicate with each other to generate shared ideas. This report, Postgraduate Researcher Symposium: Conversations about the Doctoral Experience documents the proceedings of the event and the recommendations that emerged for how the doctoral experience could be improved for all the stakeholders involved.
The idea of bringing together a range of stakeholders in the doctorate was originally conceived in conversations between UKCGE, the British Library and NUS. We recognised that each of us regularly holds conferences and events at which we discuss the doctoral experience of doctoral researchers, supervisors and staff supporting researchers. But it is rare indeed for the various stakeholders to communicate with each other to generate shared ideas and rarer still for doctoral researchers to be part of the conversation.
We believed that between us we could put together an event that would draw from each of our usual audiences to bring a range of different individuals involved with doctoral study from all kinds of institutions, including doctoral researchers, into one place for a day.
Over time this germ of an idea became a reality as Vitae joined the group and we developed the idea of facilitated conversation among supervisors, doctoral researchers, librarians and staff supporting researchers that would lead to specific recommendations of what needs to change to improve the doctoral experience for everyone involved.
What appealed to us about this format was that it created space for everyone to have their say and negotiate through potentially thorny issues in a safe environment. We also felt that the event should have clear and specific outcomes in order to add value, rather than merely replicating existing forms of provision.
This report documents how we approached the day, the themes and issues that emerged and the subsequent recommendations for improvements to the doctoral experience. We invite all those who have a stake in the doctoral experience to consider how these might be taken forward in our different institutions.
We have also considered that the symposium format could work at institutional or regional level as well, and so we have appended a guide outlining how this might be brought about to support staff and/or researchers who might wish to deliver an event of this nature.
To download a copy of this report, please click here.
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