A reoccurring theme of workshops to discuss the dilemmas of HDR supervision is that motivated, high achieving, self-managing students tend to manage the relationship themselves; and that the tools and experiences collated in this resource book are really about focusing supervisors on the complexity of managing HDR students where they fail to take charge of their study and personal development.
While it is privilege to be able to support and mentor students at this level of learning to discover new knowledge, managing candidate performance is one of the primary supervisory responsibilities. While supervisors should be critical friends they are also process protectors. This means guiding the candidate through the institutional maze, but also ensuring that the resources of candidature are being well spent and risk managing the eventual return on resources. One supervisor voiced the dilemmas of managing process as knowing ‘when to stop being nice’.
During the research project, there is a constant need to monitor the candidate's progress and confirm that they are on track as per the schedule that had been outlined in the original contract. This is done through regular formal meetings and managing confirmation of candidature. The supervisor must take note of any warning signs that the candidate may be veering off course or else may be encountering difficulties that would cause the project to extend beyond the original allocated time.
The tools to support ‘Managing Progress’ are contained in this section of the toolkit.