Two days ago I posted a tweet thread that has been bouncing around quite a bit and generating much more of a reaction than I expected.
I love how "supervision" is literally never one of the answers proposed for "how can we get PhDs to complete in a more timely way".
— melonie fullick (@qui_oui) May 10, 2017
That comment was provoked by something I was reading at that moment, in which the author mentioned ways of reducing PhD times to completion. But I didn’t want to speak only to that specific article or post it, because my point was about what I see more generally in op-eds and white papers, where “recommendations” never seem to have much to do with supervision (yes, many people pointed out to me –and I was aware – that funding usually isn’t mentioned either; I’ve seen it come up in other areas of discussion, such as critiques of contingent academic labour).
I was surprised this tweet got so much attention – it’s no different from what I’ve been arguing in my blog. Given the response to what I said, I thought I would put up a quick post with some links to other information and to a few things I’ve written about this issue in the past.
Here are a few blog posts I’ve written:
- Re-framing the picture on PhD completion
- War of attrition – Asking why PhD students leave
- ‘Failure’ of graduate education is no joke
Related posts on the lack of data available for Canada:
- Do you have a stat for that?
- See no evil: policy-based evidence in Canadian higher ed
- About those stats…
- The TRaCE Project isn’t the answer to tracking PhD outcomes
A few years ago I also posted a bibliography of research on graduate education, it’s badly in need of an update but it’s a start if you’re interested (the link’s here).
This is really only the tip of the iceberg because it’s only what I happen to have written about; there are (of course!) hundreds of other articles and posts out there. Also, many others responded with stories and good points to add to what I was saying, for example several people raised the issue of supporting, mentoring, and compensating faculty supervisors so they can do better at this work. But I hope some of what I’ve shared here is helpful for those who’ve been asking for more information.