Supervising research higher degree (RHD) candidates is a form of intensive teaching where the interpersonal relationship between supervisors and students is particularly critical to students’ experience and study outcomes.
As experienced supervisors are aware, although pursuing an RHD is generally an extremely rewarding experience, many graduate researchers struggle at times with feelings of isolation, and a lack of ‘connectedness’ to their peers, their departments and the institution. Some students also come to question the outcomes and value of a research higher degree. It is therefore common for many graduate researchers, at some point in their candidature, to become de-motivated, fall in a slump and experience periods of psychological distress.
What can academic supervisors do to support the wellbeing of graduate researchers?