Enhancing postgraduate supervision through a process of conversational inquiry

Dorothy Spiller, Giselle Byrnes, Pip Bruce Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper argues for, outlines and begins to evaluate a process of building a critical and reflective community of postgraduate supervisors who can develop their supervision practice through reflective conversations, with the sharing of best practice and reference to research-based evidence. In 2009, the initiative of the Postgraduate Supervisors' Conversations was set up through the collaboration of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Postgraduate) and the Teaching Development Unit at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. This initiative was designed to complement the compulsory workshops for postgraduate supervisors that are intended to provide foundation skills. We aimed to create a professional development opportunity that could meet institutional requirements as well as enhance supervisors' capacity to manage the ongoing interpersonal and academic complexity of the supervision process and its dynamic character. This paper outlines the rationale for the Postgraduate Supervisors' Conversations, describes its implementation and discusses the implications of an initial evaluative focus-group discussion with attendees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-845
Number of pages13
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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