Policy

Eligibility and Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy outlines the expectations, roles and duties of RHD advisors.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Enrolling AOU - an Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols RHD candidates

RHD - Research Higher Degree

MPhil - Master of Philosophy

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all advisors of UQ RHD students, Heads of School, Postgraduate Coordinators, Associate Deans (Research) and Faculty and Institute Research Higher Degree committees, or equivalent.

4. Policy Statement

The education, mentoring and guidance of RHD candidates are defining characteristics of a research-intensive university. The appointment of appropriate RHD advisors is a crucial facet of the transmission, production and extension of ideas and knowledge. The work of RHD candidates forms a vital part of UQ’s overall research effort, and RHD candidates contribute importantly to UQ’s profile and culture.

5. Advisory Arrangements

5.1 All RHD students must have at least a principal advisor upon admission to the PhD or MPhil.

5.2 All principal advisors must be registered on the UQ principal advisor registry in order for them to act as principal advisors to research higher degree candidates at The University of
Queensland (Further detail on the UQ Principal Advisor Registry can be found in PPL
4.60.01b Eligibility and Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors Procedures).

5.3 An advisory team, consisting of at least two advisors, one of whom is the principal advisor, must be appointed by confirmation of candidature.

5.4 Principal advisors take primary academic responsibility for RHD candidature.

5.5 Advisors are appointed and continue with the approval of the Dean, UQ Graduate School.

6. 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, RHD advisors are required to manage those conflicts appropriately in accordance with the University's PPL 1.50.11 Conflict of Interest and PPL 1.50.01 Code of Conduct.

7. Advisor Eligibility

7.1 Principal advisor

7.1.1 A person will be eligible to be appointed as a principal advisor of a RHD candidate when the following criteria are met:

  1. they are a full-time or fractional full-time academic staff at UQ; or hold a visiting or honorary position, are an Emeritus Professor or are retired and remain research active; or are a full-time or fractional full-time member of staff at an affiliated research or industry institution;
  2. they are able to undertake the roles and responsibilities as described in Section 8;
  3. they hold a degree equivalent to that of the RHD candidate they are advising;
  4. they have research and/or professional expertise appropriate to the candidate's research topic;
  5. they have access to sufficient time and resources to be an effective advisor for the candidate;
  6. they are research active and have ongoing involvement in research; and
  7. they agree, in all matters relating to the candidature, to:
    1. be responsible to the enrolling AOU (through the Postgraduate Coordinator) and to UQ (through the Dean of the Graduate School); and
    2. comply with all relevant UQ rules, policies and procedures

7.1.2 A person will not be eligible to be appointed as a principal advisor if they:

  1. are a PhD candidate; or
  2. hold an appointment that prevents the advisor from effectively supporting the candidate, such as an appointment that does not allow enough time for the provision of effective supervision.

7.1.3 A person who does not meet all of the above criteria may be deemed academically suitable to act as a principal advisor on the advice of the enrolling AOU to the Dean, UQ Graduate School, that they have:

  1. an outstanding record of demonstrated research ability and performance; and
  2. previous advisory experience, either as a principal or as an associate advisor.

7.2 Joint principal advisors

7.2.1 A joint principal advisor may be appointed where the RHD candidate's research project is multi-disciplinary and expertise in different aspects of the project is required. In these instances, each advisor must take equal responsibility for the program of research and direction.

7.2.2 Where joint principal advisors are appointed, the following criteria also apply:

  1. one of the joint principal advisors must be designated as the coordinator of the advisory team to act as signatory on matters requiring the approval of the principal advisor;
  2. at least one of the advisors must meet the criteria set out in Section 7.1;
  3. both advisors agree, in all matters relating to the candidature, to:
  4. be responsible to the enrolling AOU (through the Postgraduate Coordinator) and to UQ (through the Dean of the Graduate School); and
  5. comply with all relevant UQ rules, policies and procedures

7.3 Associate advisors

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

7.3.2 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 candidates research topic;
  2. agrees, in all matters relating to the candidature, to:
    • be responsible to the enrolling AOU (through the Postgraduate Coordinator) and to UQ (through the Dean of the Graduate School); and;
    • comply with all relevant UQ rules, policies and procedures, and
  3. is not a currently enrolled PhD or MPhil cadidate at UQ

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

7.3.3 An associate advisor is not required to have completed a degree of a level equivalent to the one the candidate is undertaking.

8. Advisory Roles and Responsibilities

8.1 All advisors are responsible for:

  1. provision of advice to candidates on the design of a research topic that can give rise to 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. encouraging and assisting candidates to produce a thesis that constitutes original and significant research in the field of study;
  4. provision of support so that candidates can complete their program in an appropriate time and to an appropriate standard;
  5. advising the candidate on any additional skills training they may require;
  6. contribution to the fulfilment of RHD candidate expectations as set out in PPL 4.60.02 Research Higher Degree Candidate Charter.
  7. complying with the supervisor responsibilities as outlined in section 5.3 of PPL 2.10.04 Staff Responsibilities of Occupational Health and Safety.

8.2 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 Postgraduate Coordinator immediately of any absences, including sick leave, by the candidate;
  5. ensures the candidate understands their rights and obligations of and complies with all discipline specific and relevant UQ research policy including all Research Conduct and Integrity policies, and in particular Responsible Conduct of Research, and Intellectual Property for Staff, Students and Visitors;
  6. ensures the candidate understands their obligations and complies with all relevant UQ Workplace Health and Safety policies;
  7. ensures that the candidate meets all academic and administrative requirements of the program; and ensures that the Dean, Graduate School, the enrolling AOU, and all other members of the advisory team are kept informed of the candidate’s current 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 AOU Postgraduate Coordinator must be advised and alternate supervisory arrangements must be made at an AOU level;
  9. where the principal advisor will be absent for a period of 6 or more months a new advisory team must be appointed and the Graduate School notified of the change of advisory team;
  10. provides thesis examiner nominations and certification that a thesis is ready for examination to the Dean, Graduate School, in accordance with the Thesis Examination policy.

8.3 The Associate Advisor:

  1. assists the candidate and the other advisor(s) in the candidate's progress towards the successful completion of their RHD;
  2. provides continuity of advice during periods of absence by the principal advisor;
  3. provides input into the milestone process.

9. Advisory Loads

9.1 An advisor whose other duties are not reduced is normally permitted to have a total advisory load of up to the equivalent of 8 full-time candidates;

9.2 It is the responsibility of the postgraduate coordinator to consider an advisor's overall RHD advisory load and if necessary consult the Head of School regarding academic workload before recommending the appointment of that person as an advisor of a candidate.

9.3 The distribution of advisory workload between members of the advisory team must be agreed upon between the team and the candidate;

9.4 It is the responsibility of the AOU to report the distribution of the advisory load to the Graduate School. Where this information is not received, 100% of the load will be attributed to the principal advisor;

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

9.6 The distribution of EFTSL to AOUs must be negotiated and agreed upon between AOUs at the commencement of candidature. Unless otherwise advised, the Graduate School will attribute 100% of EFTSL to the enrolling AOU.

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School
Professor Alastair McEwan

Procedures

Eligibility and Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors – Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures outline the processes for the registration of principal advisors to research higher degree candidates at The University of Queensland. The procedures enact PPL 4.60.01a Eligibility and Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors – Policy.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Enterprise Agreement - The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 - 2017

Enrolling AOU – an academic organisational unit that directly enrols RHD candidates

Head of Enrolling AOU – a Head of School or Institute Director of an academic organisational unit that directly enrols RHD candidates

PGC – Postgraduate Coordinator of an enrolling AOU

RHD - Research Higher Degree

TEQSA –Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all staff eligible to register as a principal advisor to RHD candidates at The University of Queensland.

4. Procedures Statement

Based on the broad goals of the Final Proposed Higher Education Standards Framework and Graduate Research Good Practice Principles, The University of Queensland (UQ) works towards developing an inclusive framework for supporting RHD candidates and their principal advisors. Such a framework will provide clarity around the role and expectations of principal advisors as well as confidence in the standard to which candidates are supervised at UQ.

The supervision of RHD 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 advisors who are eligible to act as principal advisors to RHD 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 RHD candidature, and that graduate students develop as researchers and future knowledge leaders.

5. Eligibility

5.1 New applications for registration must be recommended by the applicant’s Head of enrolling AOU and endorsed by the Dean, UQ Graduate School.

5.2 University staff members, adjunct and honorary title holders, academic title holders and industry fellow appointments will be eligible for registration if:

a. They meet the criteria for principal advisors set out in PPL 4.60.01a Eligibility and Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors – Policy, and

b. they are currently a principal advisor of an RHD candidate.

or

c. They meet the criteria for principal advisors set out in PPL 4.60.01a Eligibility and Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors – Policy, and

d. within the last seven years at any university, they have been a principal advisor of at least one graduated RHD candidate.

or

e. They meet the criteria for principal advisors set out in PPL 4.60.01a Eligibility and Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors – Policy, and

f. they have completed the Supervising Doctoral Studies online training program facilitated by the university and have accepted the appointment of a registered principal advisor as a member on the advisory team.

or

g. They have other experience considered by the Dean, UQ Graduate School, as sufficient for registration.

5.3 In matters of registration, the PGC may act from time to time as the delegate of the Head of enrolling AOU.

6. Deeming Provision

Principal advisors (both current staff and adjunct and honorary title holders, academic title holders and industry fellow appointments) who have an enrolled candidate(s) under principal supervision at 1 January 2015, or who have successfully graduated a RHD candidate in the last seven years (since 1 January 2008) at any university will be deemed to be registered on the UQ Principal Advisor Registry.

7. Maintaining Registration

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

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

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

b. they are no longer actively participating in original research

c. they do not renew their registration

d. they have their principal advisor privileges revoked as set out below in clause 9.3.

7.3 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:

a. they cease their appointment with the University

b. they are no longer actively participating in original research

c. they do not renew their registration

d. they have their principal advisor privileges revoked as set out below in clause 9.4.

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

8. Renewing Registration

8.1 To renew registration, principal advisors will need to confirm that they are up-to-date with policy regarding research training and supervision at UQ.

8.2 The Graduate School will maintain an online policy log that will provide details of policy and procedural updates, which may be a point of reference for principal advisors when renewing their registration.

8.3 Registration is to be renewed every five years.

9. De-registration

9.1 The Dean, UQ Graduate School and the Head of the enrolling AOU of the principal advisor, are responsible for ensuring that principal advisors within the University meet the registration requirements.

9.2 The Dean, UQ Graduate School is the decision-maker regarding principal advisor de-registration matters.

9.3 For University staff members:

a. Matters related to registration, load and performance will be managed as part of the annual review (see PPL 5.70.15b). The line manager will discuss any concerns with the principal advisor and where required, agree to a development plan and give the principal advisor a reasonable amount of time to rectify any problems.

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

c. If the problems have not been satisfactorily resolved (following a development plan and the principal advisor having time to rectify any problems), the line manager may recommend to the Dean, UQ Graduate School that registration be revoked.

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

a. The Head of the enrolling AOU will review registration, load and performance at least annually, and must discuss any concerns with the principal advisor in the first instance.

b. The Dean, UQ Graduate School will refer concerns regarding RHD supervision to the Head of the enrolling AOU.

c. If the Head of the enrolling AOU in consultation with the Dean, UQ Graduate School determine that skill 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.

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

9.5 The following are possible factors that may be considered in revoking registration:

a. no longer have continuing active participation in original research

b. a record of candidates failing and/or not completing owing to poor supervision, as substantiated by the Head of the enrolling AOU and the Dean, UQ Graduate School

c. failure to renew registration within 12 months of registration expiry

d. 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

e. evidence of a pattern of non-compliance with research training policies, procedures and guidelines

f. substantiated research misconduct as per PPL 4.20.05 Research Misconduct

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

9.6 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.

9.7 In matters of de-registration, at the request of the principal advisor, the Dean, UQ Graduate School will facilitate a meeting between the principal advisor, the Head of the enrolling AOU/line manager and the Dean of the Faculty/Institute Director or their nominee. As part of this meeting process:

a. the Dean of the Faculty/Institute Director or their nominee must consider whether the principles of procedural fairness have been applied and whether the decision to revoke registration is justified.

b. the Dean of the Faculty/Institute Director or their nominee may express his/her view on the matters above and make suggestions to the parties involved.

c. the principal advisor is entitled to have a support person present at the meeting.

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

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

10. Re-registration

10.1 A principal advisor previously de-registered under clause 9.3 or 9.4 may apply to the Dean, UQ Graduate School to be re-registered.

10.2 The application must:

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

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

c. be endorsed by the Head of the enrolling AOU.

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School
Professor Alastair McEwan
Custodians
Dean, Graduate School
Professor Alastair McEwan