In 2019-20, the Graduate School established a task and finish group to review the recommendations made by the Imperial College Union (ICU) in response to PRES 2019. 

The recommendations made by the ICU were divided into four themes; Creating Effective Student-Supervisor Partnerships, Supervisor Support and Development, Doctoral Student Wellbeing and Poor Supervision and Research Culture and Environment. 

Read on to find out what actions will be implemented by the College in response to your feedback.

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Creating Effective Student-Supervisor Partnerships

1.  Annually, Heads of Department will host a meeting for all research degree supervisors where the Mutual Expectations for the Research Degree Student Supervisor Partnership document will be discussed. 

This will:

  • give the document visibility.
  • be a chance for the document to be discussed and tailored to suit specific departmental needs.
  • be an opportunity to remind supervisors about some of the more practical aspects of their role, such as supporting students whilst away from College.

2.  Departments will monitor that the mutual expectations document has been discussed by students and their supervisors between 0-3 months of the student starting at the College. 

 Departments are free to decide how best to ensure this activity has been completed

3.  The College will monitor that the mutual expectations document has been discussed by supervisors and their students through the ESA milestone.

4.  The mutual expectations document will be a standing agenda item at the first meeting of all PGR Staff Student Committees each year.

5.  Directors of Postgraduate Studies will refer to the mutual expectations document in their inductions for new PGR students

The College will monitor this through its Research Degree Precepts.

6.  The Graduate School and the Union will each highlight the mutual expectations document in their autumn welcome e-newsletter to new PGR students.

Supervisor Support and Development

1.  The Graduate School will lead a College-wide review of supervisor training, development and support. 

The review will:

  • start with student a consultation.
  • explore training provided by other institutions.
  • ensure the College’s provision aligns with any national & international frameworks (UK Concordat, HR Excellence Framework, UK Council for Graduate Education Good Supervisory Practice Framework). 

The student consultation is now open and will close on the 31 July.

Student Consultation Questions.

To contribute to the consultation, click here.

2.  The outcome of the review of supervisor training, development and support will include proposals for how the College can measure the impact of its training programme

3.  Departments will be required to actively monitor the number of students per supervisor. 

  • Departments will be asked to comment on this through their Research Degree Precept Review.

Doctoral Student Wellbeing and Poor Supervision

1.  The Graduate School’s review of supervisor support and development will seek views from staff and students on how best to address cases of poor supervision.

2.  Research Degree Precept 10 will be amended to read as follows:

Departments must make provision for a research students pastoral care network, led and managed by an appropriate member of staff within the Department. The person assigned to each student, should not be involved with the assessment of the student. Departments are free to choose which model to use, but the model should be clearly communicated to students.  Examples may include, cohort building, mentoring or a buddy scheme.

3.  Departmental PGR Staff Student Committees will include discussion of what pastoral care network is in place at the first meeting of each academic session. 

4.  The mutual expectations document will link to the Student Support Zone.

  • to ensure that students know where they can look for support, outside of their home department

5.  Members of staff responsible for the pastoral care of students within departments should receive appropriate training and have access to College networks to support them in their role. 

6.  The Faculties will be asked to contribute a total of £10K each year towards PGR community development. 

  • The amount of funding each Faculty would be asked to contribute would be in proportion to the number of PGR students in each.   
  • The  fund will be managed by the Graduate School
  • The funding would only be awarded if the activity met specific criterion. 
  • The Graduate School in partnership with the GSU and Union will develop this criterion. 

Research Culture and Environment

1.  The Graduate School will review, in consultation with the ICU, the mutual expectations document to ensure that expectations are discussed around working conditions for research students.    

2.  The Graduate School will work with CLCC and the Union to explore further opportunities to collaborate on professional development opportunities for research students.