Policy

Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors - Policy

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1.0    Purpose and Scope

This policy outlines the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of higher degree by research (HDR) advisors at The University of Queensland (UQ or the University). This policy applies to all advisors of UQ HDR candidates.

2.0    Principles and Key Requirements

The appointment of appropriate advisors for HDR candidates is crucial for the successful completion of their program and underpins their research education and training. This policy sets out the criteria and conditions for the appointment of HDR advisors.

2.1    Advisory Arrangements

2.1.1 An HDR candidate advisory team, consisting of at least two advisors, one of whom is the principal advisor, must be appointed upon admission.

2.1.2 All principal advisors must be registered on the UQ principal advisor registry (Further detail on the UQ Principal Advisor Registry can be found in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Procedure.

2.1.3 Principal advisors take primary academic responsibility for the HDR candidate.

2.1.4 Advisors are appointed and continue in their role with the endorsement of the Head of the Academic Organisational Unit (AOU) and approval of the Dean, UQ Graduate School.

2.2    Conflicts of Interest

All staff members are required to avoid potential, perceived and actual conflicts of interest. Where potential, perceived or actual conflicts of interest do arise, HDR advisors are required to declare and manage those conflicts appropriately in accordance with the University's Conflict of Interest Policy and Code of Conduct.

2.3    Advisor Eligibility

2.3.1    Principal advisor

2.3.1.1 A person will be eligible to be appointed as a principal advisor when the following criteria are met:

  1. they are continuing or fixed-term academic staff at UQ or hold an honorary position, including an Academic Title Holder;

  2. they are able to undertake the roles and responsibilities as described in Section 11 of the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Procedure;

  3. they hold a PhD, Doctoral degree of AQF level 10 or have research experience that is deemed appropriate;

  4. they are research active and have sufficient time and resources to be an effective advisor for a candidate;

  5. they agree, in all matters relating to the candidature, to:

    1. be responsible to the enrolling AOU (through the Director, HDR) and to UQ (through the Dean of the Graduate School), and

    2. comply with all relevant UQ rules, policies and procedures.

2.3.2    Associate advisors

2.3.2.1 Associate advisors provide additional expertise related to the candidate's research and be available to provide advice throughout their candidature.

2.3.2.2 A person is eligible to be appointed as an Associate Advisor when the following criteria are met:

  1. has relevant expertise and experience appropriate to the candidate's research topic;

  2. agrees, in all matters relating to the candidature, to:

    1. be responsible to the enrolling AOU (through the Director HDR) and to UQ (through the Dean of the Graduate School),

    2. comply with all relevant UQ rules, policies and procedures; and

  3. is not a currently enrolled HDR candidate.

Any departure from the above criteria will only be permitted with the approval of the Dean, Graduate School.

2.3.2.3 An associate advisor is usually required to have completed a degree of a level equivalent to the one the candidate is undertaking but they can be appointed if they have:

  1. a record of demonstrated research ability and performance; and

  2. expertise that can enhance the quality of the advisory team’s support for the HDR candidate, for example through connections to Industry.

2.4    Advisory Loads

2.4.1 The total HDR advisory load for a staff member should be considered in conjunction with workload responsibilities, their ability to provide sufficient resources to support candidates and their record in supporting HDR candidate progression and development. An advisor is normally permitted to have a Principal advisory load of not more than 8 HDR candidates in total, which should be discussed in the academic annual performance and development process. For an advisor to supervise more than 8 HDR candidates, a recommendation must be made by the Head of AOU for the Dean’s approval.

2.4.2 It is the responsibility of the Director HDR to consider an advisor's overall HDR advisory load and, if necessary, consult the Head of AOU regarding academic workload before recommending the appointment of that person as an advisor of a candidate.

2.4.3 The distribution of advisory workload between members of the advisory team must be agreed upon between the team and the candidate, endorsed by the Director HDR and approved by the Dean.

2.4.4 The AOU must report any change to advisory load or appointment details of the advisor within one month of the change taking place.

3.0    Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

3.1    Dean of the UQ Graduate School

The Dean of the UQ Graduate School (or their delegate) is responsible for the governance of the HDR programs at UQ, including appropriate enrolment conditions for HDR candidates.

3.2    Head of AOU

The Head of the enrolling AOU (Head of School, Institute Director, or equivalent), responsible for ensuring appropriate HDR resourcing, AOU research culture and environment and quality of HDR Advisor performance.

3.3    Director HDR

The Director HDR makes HDR program decisions on behalf of the Head of AOU, including decisions on the nomination of Principal and Associate Advisors.

3.4    Principal Advisors

Principal Advisors are approved UQ staff members who take primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for principal advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

3.5    Associate Advisors

Advisors are suitably qualified persons who provide expertise related to the candidate’s research and are available to provide advice throughout candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

4.0    Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Review of, and compliance with, this policy is overseen by the Dean of the UQ Graduate School, and the University Higher Degree by Research Committee.

5.0    Recording and Reporting

All HDR application and program enrolment transactions and activities are recorded within UQ systems, including Advisory team members and advisory registry status.

All student records including final outcome, applications and University decisions are filed in the student’s personal record in UQ’s digital record system.

6.0    Definitions, Terms, and Acronyms

AQF - Australian Qualifications Framework.

Dean - Dean of the UQ Graduate School or delegate.

Enrolling AOU - an Academic Organisational Unit of UQ that directly enrols HDR candidates.

FTE - Full-time equivalent.

HDR - Higher Degree by Research.

MPhil - Master of Philosophy.

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy.

Professional Doctorate (research) (PDRes) - a professional doctorate administered by the UQ Graduate School where at least two thirds of the program is research.

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School Professor Helen Klaebe

Procedures

Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors – Procedures

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1.0    Purpose and Scope

This procedure outlines the processes for the registration, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of advisors to higher degree by research (HDR) candidates at The University of Queensland (UQ or the University). The procedure enacts the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

2.0    Process and key controls

This procedure applies to all staff eligible to act as a principal or associate advisor to HDR candidates at UQ.

3.0    Key requirements

UQ works towards developing an inclusive framework for appointing and supporting HDR advisors that is informed by Australian Council of Graduate Research Guidelines for Quality Graduate Research Supervision, and Supervision: A guide to supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Such a framework will provide clarity around the role and expectations of principal and associate advisors as well as confidence in the quality of supervision. These expectations are also articulated in the ‘Supervision and Researcher Development’ domain of the Annual Performance and Development (APD) for Academic Staff.

The supervision of HDR candidates at UQ is undertaken by an advisory team, led by the principal advisor. The principal advisor must be registered on the UQ Principal Advisor Registry, which is an up-to-date record of all who are eligible to act as principal advisors to HDR candidates at UQ. The registry ensures that UQ is compliant with the Higher Education Standards that are assessed by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), that academic staff have the skills and knowledge to supervise students throughout their HDR candidature, ensuring that they develop as researchers and future knowledge leaders.

3.1    Advisory Roles and Responsibilities

3.1.1 All advisors are responsible for:

  1. provision of advice to candidates on the design and execution of a research project that can produce an examinable thesis within the normal period of candidature;

  2. provision of advice to candidates and monitoring of the scope, quality, and presentation of work required;

  3. supporting candidates to produce a thesis that constitutes original and a significant contribution to research in their field, and meets expectations of the degree;

  4. supporting the timely completion of a candidate’s HDR Program (within 4 years FTE for PhD and 2 years FTE for M Phil);

  5. supporting the development of transferable and professional skills of the HDR candidate through structured discussion and advice; and

  6. maintaining an advisory load of a minimum of 10%.

3.1.2 The Principal Advisor:

  1. guides and facilitates the research work of the candidate;

  2. provides the principal intellectual engagement with the candidate's research topic and its development;

  3. ensures that they maintain regular contact and communication with the candidate and that the mechanisms for doing so are agreed upon by all parties;

  4. is responsible for notifying the Graduate School immediately of any changes affecting the student’s candidature, including absences;

  5. ensures the candidate understands their rights and obligations of and complies with all discipline specific and relevant UQ research policy including all Researcher Conduct policies, the Responsible Research Management Framework and the Intellectual Property Policy;

  6. ensures the candidate understands their obligations and complies with all relevant UQ Workplace Health and Safety policies and Supervision: A guide to supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research;

  7. ensures that the candidate meets all academic and administrative requirements of the program; and ensures that the Dean, Graduate School, the enrolling Academic Organisational Unit (AOU), and all other members of the advisory team are kept informed of the candidate’s academic progress, via the milestone process, and of any relevant personal, academic, technical, or resource-related issues that may affect their progress;

  8. where the principal advisor will be absent for a period of 4 or more weeks, the Director HDR must be advised and a plan for supervisory arrangements must be made;

  9. where the principal advisor will be absent for a period of 6 or more months a new advisory team must be appointed, upon recommendation by the Director HDR to the Dean, Graduate School;

  10. provides nominations of suitable examiners and certification that a thesis is ready for examination to the Dean, Graduate School, in accordance with the Higher Degree by Research Examination Policy; and

  11. provides a plan for the ongoing supervision of their HDR candidates to the Head of AOU and the Dean prior to leaving the University (or not being eligible to continue as a principal advisor for any other reason).

3.1.3 The Associate Advisor:

  1. engages with and supports the candidate in the their progress towards the successful completion of their HDR;

  2. provides continuity of support during periods of absence by the principal advisor; and

  3. provides input into discussions regarding candidate progression and development.

3.2    Eligibility

3.2.1 New applications to the Principal Advisor Registry must be recommended by the applicant’s Head of AOU and endorsed by the Dean, UQ Graduate School.

3.2.2 Continuing or fixed-term academic staff at UQ; or those holding a visiting or honorary position, are an Academic Title Holder will be eligible for registration if:

  1. they meet the criteria for principal advisors set out in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy;

  2. they are currently a principal advisor of an HDR candidate at another university; and

  3. they have completed the mandatory HDR Advisor Development modules required for registration and have accepted the appointment on the advisory team.

3.2.3 An advisory team must comprise an experienced Associate Advisor if the Principal Advisor is relatively new to HDR supervision (has not completed a HDR candidate as an Advisor or holds less than 4 years supervisory experience).

3.2.4 All advisory team members must complete the first two online modules of Cultural Awareness training and also the Indigenous HDR Candidate Advisory training module.

3.3    Maintaining Registration

3.3.1 The UQ Graduate School will maintain the UQ Principal Advisor Registry.

3.3.2 University staff who are registered as principal advisors will continue to be registered unless one of the following conditions apply:

  1. they cease employment with the University and there is no subsequent adjunct or honorary title, academic title or industry fellow appointment

  2. they are no longer research active as assessed by a Head of AOU

  3. they do not renew their registration

  4. they have had their principal advisor privileges revoked.

3.3.3 Adjunct and honorary title holders, academic title holders and industry fellow appointments who are registered as principal advisors will continue to be registered unless one of the following conditions apply:

  1. they cease their appointment with the University

  2. they are no longer research active

  3. they do not renew their registration

  4. they have had their principal advisor privileges revoked.

3.3.4 Principal advisors who no longer meet the requirements for registration may continue to act as associate advisors for current HDR candidates. Associate advisors do not require registration.

3.4    Renewing Registration

3.4.1 To renew registration, principal advisors will need to confirm that they are up-to-date with policies regarding research training and supervision at UQ by completing the mandatory Advisor Development Program.

3.4.2 The Graduate School will maintain an Essentials Manual for HDR Supervision, which may be a point of reference for principal advisors.

3.4.3 Registration is to be renewed every five years and should be renewed within 12 months of expiry.

3.5    Managing advisor performance

3.5.1 The Dean, Graduate School and the Head of the AOU of the principal advisor, are responsible for ensuring that principal advisors within the University meet the registration requirements, including the use of the Supervision and Research Development section of the academic annual performance and development process.

3.5.2 For University staff members:

  1. The Head of AOU will discuss any concerns with the principal advisor and, where required, implement a development plan and provide the principal advisor guidance and set a timeframe to rectify the concerns, which may include the factors detailed in 3.5.5 or subsequent to a grievance or misconduct matter relating to academic performance expectations.

  2. The Dean, Graduate School will be consulted during the preparation of the development plan.

  3. If the problems have not been satisfactorily resolved following the time period set, the registration may be revoked. 

3.5.3 The Dean, Graduate School is the decision-maker regarding principal advisor de-registration following discussion and advice from the Head of AOU.

3.5.4 Recommendations for de-registration must be made to the Dean, UQ Graduate School along with a supervisory plan for the principal advisor’s current candidates.

3.5.5 Factors that may justify revoking registration include but are not limited to:

  1. no longer research active;

  2. a record of candidates impacted due to poor supervision, as substantiated by the Head of the AOU and the Dean, UQ Graduate School;

  3. evidence of multiple requests to change the principal advisor by candidates where the standard of supervision is substantiated as a factor in the change request and evidence of a pattern of non-compliance with research training policies, procedures and guidelines;

  4. substantiated research misconduct as per the Research Misconduct - Higher Degree by Research Students Procedure; or

  5. formal complaints regarding supervisory practices which have been substantiated after investigation in accordance with Misconduct/Serious Misconduct clauses as outlined in the Enterprise Agreement.

3.5.6 The Dean, Graduate School, in consultation with the relevant Faculty Executive Dean or Institute Director will issue a notice of de-registration, and where appropriate a period of time is given before re-registration would be considered, and the steps required to re-register.

3.5.7 For adjunct and honorary title holders, academic title holders and industry fellow appointments:

  1. The Dean, UQ Graduate School will refer concerns regarding HDR supervision to the Head of AOU.

  2. If the Head of AOU, in consultation with the Dean, UQ Graduate School determines that advisor development is required, they will consult with the principal advisor and their non-University employer and give the principal advisor a reasonable amount of time to rectify any problems.

  3. If after having given the principal advisor time to rectify any problems, the Head of AOU believes that the problems have not been satisfactorily resolved, they may recommend to the Dean, UQ Graduate School that registration be revoked.

3.5.8 Any matters related to alleged misconduct will be dealt with in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement.

3.5.9 Subject to the University’s reporting obligations, matters of de-registration are confidential to the University.

3.6    Re-registration

3.6.1 A principal advisor previously de-registered under clauses 3.3 or 3.5 may apply to the Dean, UQ Graduate School to be re-registered.

3.6.2 The application must:

  1. demonstrate that the conditions that lead to the principal advisor being deregistered have been resolved and any training requirements have been met;

  2. include a formal performance management plan where the registration had lapsed owing to poor performance as a principal advisor; and

  3. be endorsed by the Head of AOU.

4.0    Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

4.1    Dean of the UQ Graduate School

The Dean of the UQ Graduate School (or their delegate) is responsible for the governance and procedures of the HDR programs at UQ, including appropriate enrolment conditions HDR candidates.

4.2    Head of AOU

The Head of the enrolling AOU (Head of School, Institute Director, or equivalent), responsible for ensuring appropriate HDR resourcing, AOU research culture and environment and quality of HDR Advisor performance.

4.3    Director HDR

The Director HDR makes HDR program decisions on behalf of the Head of AOU, including decisions on the nomination of Principal and Associate Advisors.

4.4    Principal Advisors

Principal Advisors are approved UQ staff members who take primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for principal advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

4.5    Advisors

Advisors are suitably qualified persons who provide expertise related to the candidate’s research and are available to provide advice throughout candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

5.0    Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Review of, and compliance with, this procedure is overseen by the Dean, UQ Graduate School and the Academic Board's Higher Degree by Research Committee.

6.0    Recording and Reporting

All HDR application and program enrolment transactions and activities are recorded within UQ’s student application and administrative systems (Si-net and TRIM), including Advisory team members and advisory registry status. All student records including final outcome, applications and University decisions are filed in the student’s personal record in UQ’s digital student application, admission and record systems (UQ Online Applications System, Si-net, TRIM).

7.0    Definitions, terms, and acronyms

AQF - Australian Qualifications Framework.

Dean - Dean of the UQ Graduate School or delegate.

Enrolling AOU - an Academic Organisational Unit of UQ that directly enrols HDR candidates.

HDR - Higher Degree by Research.

MPhil - Master of Philosophy.

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy.

Professional Doctorate (research) (PDRes) - a professional doctorate administered by the UQ Graduate School where at least two thirds of the program is research.

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School Professor Helen Klaebe
Custodians
Dean, Graduate School Professor Helen Klaebe