Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Supervision Procedure

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Section 1 - PREAMBLE

(1) This Procedure was approved by Academic Board on 20 November 2012 and includes amendments to 27 November 2015.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Policy and includes the following schedules:

  1. Schedule A: Qualifications and other requirements for HDR Supervision.

Section 2 - PURPOSE

(3) To outline the processes involved for academic staff in the supervision of students for higher degrees by research (HDR) awards.

Section 3 - SCOPE

(4) This Procedure applies to students for HDR, their supervisors, faculties, institutes and University administrators. It does not apply to degrees by coursework or higher doctoral degrees.

Section 4 - POLICY

(5) Refer to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Policy.

Section 5 - PROCEDURE

Supervisors

(6) Heads of Academic Units will ensure that supervisors are suitably qualified to supervise HDR students in accordance with Schedule A: Qualifications and other requirements for HDR supervision and are registered with Deakin Research.

(7) Only members of Deakin academic staff or approved external supervisors who are registered as supervisors may supervise HDR students. The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development and Training) may remove a member of academic staff from a supervision team where they are not registered.

(8) Heads of Academic Units will ensure that all supervisors have the workload capacity to take on the role, and will not exceed the supervision load limits specified in clauses 21-24.

(9) The Head of Academic Unit will ensure that a team of at least two suitably qualified supervisors is established and maintained for all HDR students. Supervision teams will include either a principal or an executive supervisor, and have one of the following compositions:

  1. Principal supervisor plus at least one more supervisor who may be an associate or external supervisor or a research adviser
  2. Two co-supervisors, one of whom will be the executive supervisor, plus possibly one or more associate or external supervisors or research advisers. Where one co-supervisor is external to Deakin, an associate supervisor or research adviser must be included in the team.

(10) All supervisors must complete ongoing professional development activities as described in Schedule A: Qualifications and other requirements for HDR supervision.

(11) Where a principal, executive or co-supervisor has not supervised a student throughout their candidature to successful completion, the Head of Academic Unit will ensure that at least one experienced supervisor is included in the team.

(12) The Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor or Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development and Training) or their nominee will approve the supervision arrangements for each student.

(13) If the Head of Academic Unit is proposed as either a principal, executive or co-supervisor, their line manager will take over the responsibilities normally allocated to the Head of Academic Unit in matters concerning HDR candidature, supervision and examination.

Research advisers

(14) The Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor or Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development and Training) will apply in writing to Deakin Research for permission for a supervisor to be appointed as a research adviser. The application should include:

  1. the grounds for the nomination (e.g. the eminence of the nominee, the demand for their supervision, the strategic value of this role to the nominee's area and to the University)
  2. the nominee's commitments to academic activities other than research and research supervision
  3. how a large number of students will be managed
  4. a description of the nominee's role and how they will interact with the other supervisors
  5. the nominee's track record of timely HDR completions
  6. the strategic value of the nominee's area to the University
  7. the level of support for the proposal.

(15) The information is presented to the Research and Research Training Committee for a decision.

(16) Research adviser status will be reviewed every three years by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development and Training).

Changes to the supervision team

(17) The Head of Academic Unit or nominee may recommend the addition or removal of members of the supervision team at any stage of candidature. Proposed changes must be discussed with the student, agreed to by the new appointee and approved by the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor or Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development and Training) or their nominee. Changes must be made according to the processes stipulated by Deakin Research.

(18) The Head of Academic Unit or nominee can recommend the removal of a person from the supervision team if that person does not meet the requirements of the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Policy or this procedure.

(19) If the principal or executive supervisor is unavailable for more than six weeks, the Head of Academic Unit or nominee must appoint a replacement, either temporarily or permanently, according to the circumstances.

(20) Normally the student is enrolled by Deakin Research in the Academic Unit of which the principal or executive supervisor is a member. If a change in the supervision team results in a new principal or executive supervisor being appointed from a different Academic Unit the student's enrolment will normally be transferred to that Unit.

Supervision load limits

(21) Principal, executive and co-supervisors will be limited to a supervisory load not exceeding seven full-time equivalent HDR students, and not more than ten individual HDR students.

(22) Co-supervisors (including executive supervisors) share the supervision load between them and count 50 per cent toward the supervision load limits specified above. Workload recognition and recognition of successful completions are also shared.

(23) A principal supervisor who has not yet acted in the role of principal, executive or co-supervisor of a student who has successfully completed their HDR will be limited to a supervisory load not exceeding three full-time equivalent HDR students, and not more than five individual HDR students.

(24) In addition to the above limits, an associate supervisor will be limited to six full-time equivalent HDR students, and not more than ten individual HDR students.

(25) Research advisers do not have a supervisory load limit.

Section 6 - DEFINITIONS

(26) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Supervisor active in research: where the supervisor produces an average of at least one research output per year based on their most recent three year research output. A research output is a research publication as defined by the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC).
  2. Supervisor
    1. Principal supervisor: a member of Deakin academic staff who is the leader of an HDR supervision team, and has the responsibility of ensuring that the student receives appropriate guidance in their project and support toward successful completion of their thesis and its examination.
    2. Co-supervisor: a person who shares the main supervisory responsibilities more or less equally with another co-supervisor, one of whom will take the role of executive supervisor.
    3. Executive supervisor: a member of Deakin academic staff member who takes responsibility for ensuring that the student receives appropriate guidance in their project and support toward successful completion of their thesis and its examination.
    4. Associate supervisor: a member of the University's academic staff who plays one or more of the following roles in the supervision team: providing assistance to the other team members in guiding and supporting the student, acting as a back-up in case of absence or non-availability of the principal supervisor, and/or bringing particular research expertise to the team to assist the student.
    5. Support supervisor: a supervisor who is not active in research but who can provide expertise to the student and to other supervisors.
    6. External supervisor: a person who plays a comparable role to an associate supervisor, but is not a member of the University staff.
  3. Research adviser: a supervisor who is an eminent member of the University professoriate who provides high level advice to inform the supervision of a student's project but is not expected to carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of a principal or executive supervisor.
  4. Head of Academic Unit: Head of Academic Units listed in Schedule A: Academic Units of the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Policy.
  5. Head of Academic Unit nominee: a senior member of academic staff who is qualified as a principal supervisor.
  6. Higher degrees by research (HDR): an academic award of the University, as specified in Regulation 5.2(2) - Higher Education Award Courses - General.
  7. HDR coordinator: A member of academic staff who satisfies the qualification to be a principal supervisor, who is not a higher degree by research student and whose role is to support HDR students in their unit.