A short report on our first edition of the 'Challenges for supervisors' workshops
On December 6, the dean of EGSH met online with 15 PhD supervisors in the school to talk about the outcomes of the EUR PhD survey. They focused on issues around supervision and progress, and about PhDs well being.
The conversation produced two important observations.
The first one is that PhD candidates and supervisors may have diverging expectations about the PhD-trajectory and what supervision should be. The Training- and Supervision Plan is a great place to discuss these expectations and tailor them to the needs of both the PhD and the supervisors. Moreover, it is the place where candidates can make the project their own. Therefore, some supervisors have taken longer than 3 months to really work on the TSP and make sure it meets all different needs, and gives the candidate ownership of the research.
The second observation concerned the well being of the PhD candidates and the outcome of the survey that almost half of the PhD candidates report that the PhD negatively affects their mental health. It was noticed that there is an overall discourse of the PhD as being difficult and stressful and strenuous, and that it is part of the job. When PhD candidates are part of a research group there are various ways to channel stress, but also share the joys and celebrate success. Supervisors have a responsibility to (try and) make individual candidates part of a group where they can share experiences with peers. Examples that were mentioned are Young ESHPM and the ESHCC PhD Club.