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Managing Supervisor/Candidature Conflict

Managing Supervisor/Candidature Conflict

From time to time, conflicts may arise between HDR candidates and their supervisors.  Such conflicts may relate to concerns about research progress or concerns about the particular style of research supervision.  The University has developed a framework to facilitate resolution of these issues.  Early resolution of these issues can help promote a more open and trusting atmosphere and assist in early problem solving of particular concerns if they later arise again.  Sometimes a candidate or supervisor may not be aware that an issue exists until it is bought directly to their attention, so it is important to address concerns as soon as possible - before they escalate.

The university's rules and policies state that each Department should work to ensure that conflicts which arise between a supervisor and candidate are quickly resolved, and the advice and grievance resolution structure indicated as follows is recommended as an ideal tool.

Candidates and supervisors should firstly discuss any issues of concern with each other.  If there is no resolution, then discussion with either the departmental higher degree research academic co-ordinator or the Head of Department should follow.  If further intervention is required, then assistance from the Associate Dean Higher Degree Research can be sought.  If necessary, the dispute or grievance can then be referred to the Dean of Faculty.

If the matter is unable to be resolved within the Faculty, then the Dean Higher Degree Research (Professor Nick Mansfield) and the Director of the Higher Degree Research Office are available for further consultation.  In a few exceptional cases, the matter may require further consideration and at this point, it can be referred to the DVC Research and the Higher Degree Research Committee for resolution.

For candidates whose supervisor has a formal appointment as part of this resolution process and with whom there is a dispute, the Department or Faculty should appoint an alternate representative.

Managing Conflict Diagram


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