Successful postgraduate supervision? Enhancing HDR students’ quality of life

Presented by Professor Chihiro Thomson

Chihiro Thomson during lecture

Scientia Education Academy Lecture Series

Postgraduate Research students, otherwise known as HDR (Higher Degree Research) students, are here at UNSW to be trained as future researchers and academics.

Unlike undergraduate programs, which have been shaped into systematic and articulated processes with ample support for student campus life, HDR programs are largely dependent on each supervisor, only regulated by the yearly progression review process. This leaves some HDR students at a loss, especially in humanities disciplines in which traditional supervision practices have heavily depended on one-on-one consultation between students and their supervisors.

In this talk, I introduce an alternative supervision practice model of the HDR Study Group, based on the concepts of Communities of Practice (CoP,Wenger 1998), and Boundary Crossing (e.g., Engestrom 2012), using my own practice of hosting a Japanese HDR study group and extending the activities of the group beyond the boundary of my discipline and UNSW. The model has worked well in supporting HDR students in the timely completion of their degrees as well as in offering quality HDR life. This practice has been recognised in the form of the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award in the category of HDR supervision in 2017.

Learn more about Professor Chihiro Thomson

Professor Chihiro Thomson

Chihiro is Professor of Japanese Studies in the School of Humanities and Languages in Arts and Social Sciences. She is an internationally recognised educator and reseacher of Japanese language, having served as President of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia (2009-2011) and the Chair of the Board of the Global Network of Japanese Language Education (2007 - 2009 & 2012 - 2016), an alliance of Japanese language education associations in 11 countries and regions.

For her contribution to Japanese language education and postgraduate supervision in applied and educational Japanese linguistics, she has received a number of awards including, a Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation (2016), a Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence (2013), a Commonwealth Government Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (2012), Arts and Social Sciences Dean's Award for Excellence in Supervision (2014/2015), for Best SOLT Publication (2010) and many others. Read more.