Re-imagining graduate supervision
Keywords:graduate supervision, structured reflection, supervisor/supervisee relationships
Graduate supervision at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus has primarily been fashioned after conventional apprenticeship models. Within this framework, supervisors function as founts of disciplinary knowledge and wisdom, made available to ‘disciples’ in need of hands-on guidance in order to ensure eventual ascension to the guarded ranks of academics. The ‘charismatic authority’ with which supervision has traditionally been conducted was in part the result of controlled disciplinary borders and a sense of sole propriety over the supervisee and the research (Yeatman 1995). Pedagogical advancements and shifts in student ideologies, however, have forced academics to reconceptualise the practice of supervision.
Literature on Supervision best practice highlights the need for a (re)definition of the relationship between supervisor and supervisee as it is believed to underscore what can be loosely described as successful supervision. In this paper we present the reflections of a graduate research supervisor geared toward reflecting on her experiences across various stages of the supervisory relationship as well as improving her students’ supervisory experience. We examine how her interpretation of students’ perspectives and their stated expectations are conceptualised to inform/modify practice. The research is intended to provide an actionable option for graduate student supervision revision, while also providing a framework for continued dialogue aimed at improving graduate supervision at the UWI, St. Augustine.