The Melbourne School of Graduate Research (MSGR) has introduced annual Advisory Committee meetings for all Research Higher Degree students. The School of Culture and Communication will be holding committee meetings for all PhD students who enrolled from January 2007 and all Masters by Research students who enrolled from June 2010 onwards. These meetings are intended to ensure candidates receive ongoing support towards the successful completion of their thesis, including by having access to a wider range of academic staff for feedback and support. This committee will play an important role at several stages in your candidature, meeting with you to discuss your research progress reports at the key milestones identified in the timeline.
- Improve students' experience by providing a wider range of academic staff committed to a candidate's progress;
- Expand the feedback a candidate receives on the progress of their work
- Increase the breadth of ideas and insight to which candidates are exposed
- Ensure that the candidate has access to academic advice at all times, in particular in the absence of his/her main supervisor
- Provide advice to the candidate about opportunities during or after the degree (including conferences, exchange programs, tutoring, relevant workshops, grant opportunities and publishing)
- Improve completion patterns by providing students with structured planning of their research work
- Disciplinary Research Coordinator or nominee (who will convene and chair the meetings)
- For PhD students: your principal supervisor (who will be responsible for regular supervision) and your associate supervisor (who will take over regular supervision when your principal supervisor is absent for more than two months, and also read a full, final draft of your thesis before it is sent to examiners). Alternatively, some students may have two co-supervisors.
- For Master of Arts students: your supervisor and another academic staff member, usually from the same discipline.
It will be the responsibility of the Chair to schedule the meetings. Committee members will be required to have read the candidate's report prior to the meeting and discuss the candidate's work and issues flagged in the candidate’s submission. The committee is also required to discuss with the candidate the following:
- Ethics (if applicable)
- Any difficulties experienced by the candidate
- PhD timeline for completion
- Candidature milestones or hurdle requirements
- Milestones set for the next period under review
- Research supervision
- Publications, presentations, funding opportunities, tutoring and any relevant workshops or short courses that may assist the candidate.
Advisory committee members who are not supervisors are not expected to read entire drafts, provide reports or provide supervision outside of the committee meetings.
It is expected that Advisory committees will try to reflect gender balance in an appropriate way. It is recommended that, wherever possible, these committees contain at least one female member of staff. Supervision arrangements, the appointment of an associate supervisor for example, should be made with the question of gender balance in mind. If, for female PhD candidates, both supervisors are male and the Research Coordinator is also male, then steps should be taken to ensure that a female member of staff is represented at the Advisory committee meeting as an observing fourth party.
The Advisory committee's comments and recommendations should be clearly recorded in the Annual Progress Report form. Students should make sure they take a copy for reference for their next Advisory committee meeting.