Policy and Procedures for the Accreditation of Research Supervisors

  1. Background Information
  2. Purpose of Accreditation
  3. Criteria for Accreditation of Principal Supervisors, Co-Supervisors, and Assistant
    Supervisors
  4. The Accreditation Process
  5. Supervisory Statement
  6. Maintaining Accreditation
  7. Accreditation Removal
  8. Roles and Responsibilities
  9. Review of the Policy and Procedures

1. Background

This policy and related procedures have been developed to address the accreditation of supervisors of higher degree by research (HDR) candidates at Australian Catholic University (ACU). This policy sets out the requirements and process to achieve accreditation as an HDR supervisor at ACU. Once accredited, a supervisor is eligible to be appointed as a principal supervisor, a co-supervisor, or an assistant supervisor. Accreditation requirements apply to all supervisors of ACU HDR candidates, including, where applicable, non-members of University staff and supervisors employed under contract.

2. Purpose of Accreditation

Accreditation is designed to provide quality assurance for research supervision at the University by:

a. ensuring that HDR supervisors are research active;

b. ensuring effective supervisory practice within the University;

c. mentoring staff with little supervisory experience; and

d. providing supervisory development for academic staff.

The accreditation process described below:

a. strives to achieve best practice and also meet the professional development needs of new and existing supervisors;

b. is based on the staff member's current and future professional development needs with regards to supervision as determined in consultation with the Associate Dean Research;

c. acknowledges the varying backgrounds and experience of research supervisors and values the prior experience and competence of successful supervisors;

d. is integrated with the principles of the University's research training programs for research candidates within the wider higher education policy context; and

e. is designed to improve the research education experience of HDR candidates at ACU.

3. Criteria for Accreditation of Principal Supervisors, Co-Supervisors, and Assistant
Supervisors

The primary criterion for the accreditation of supervisors is their research active status. Other factors may also be taken into account when allocating supervisory status to a staff member. The criteria for each level of accreditation are included below.

3.1 Accreditation as a Principal Supervisor

To be accredited as a principal supervisor a staff member will meet all of the following criteria:

a. Have an appointment of at least .4 FTE at the university; and

b. Demonstrate evidence of an appropriate qualification as described in the Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations; and

c. Meet the ACU criteria for being classified as research active with evidence of high quality publications; and

d. Demonstrate a track record of effective supervision of higher degree by HDR candidates as confirmed by HDR completions at ACU or elsewhere and illustrated by a statement of supervisory practice; and

e. Have completed the ACU supervisor training program or a similar program at another higher education institution; or

f. Other combinations of experience and qualifications as deemed appropriate by the Dean of Research.

3.2 Accreditation as a Co-Supervisor

To be accredited as a co-supervisor a staff member will meet all of the criteria listed above with the exception that they are currently enrolled in the ACU supervisor training program or a similar program at another higher education institution.

3.3 Accreditation as an Assistant Supervisor

This category of supervisor registration is reserved for those staff who, on the advice of the Associate Dean Research are transitioning to research active status. For example, they may have high quality research outputs but neither category 1 research funding nor HDR completions to their credit. As a minimum, however, an assistant supervisor should meet the following criteria:

a. Have an appointment of at least .4 FTE; and

b. Demonstrate evidence of an appropriate qualification as described in the Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations; and

c. Show evidence of high quality research outputs; and

d. Demonstrate a commitment to effective supervision of higher degree by research students as illustrated by a statement of supervisory practice; and

e. Be in the process of completing (or have completed) the ACU supervisor training program or a similar program at another higher education institution; or

f. Other combinations of experience and qualifications as deemed appropriate by the Dean of Research.

3.4 Honorary and Adjunct Appointments

Honorary and Adjunct appointments may be accredited as supervisors at ACU on the recommendation of the Faculty Associate Dean Research and the approval of the Dean of Research.

4. The Accreditation Process

Staff members who wish to apply for accreditation may do so using the Research Expertise Register (REXR) database available on the University Research Website. Staff should discuss their potential application for supervisor status with the Associate Dean Research of their Faculty. Staff should discuss their potential application for supervisor status with the Associate Dean Research of their faculty.

5. Supervisory Statement

A 1 page supervisory statement is a requirement for all categories of supervision and provides an opportunity to reflect on supervisory practice.

The statement should outline:

a. the individual's approach to supervision and the rationale for this approach (e.g. roles played as a supervisor, means/methods of supervision, ways to resolve issues and dilemmas, etc.);

b. an outline of effective supervisory practice from the individual's supervisory experience or identified best practice;

c. insights gained from reflections of current or proposed supervisory practice (e.g. feedback from students, principal supervisors or mentors, personal reflections).

6. Maintaining Accreditation

Supervisors will be accredited for 3 years. During this time the registration status of a staff member may change (e.g., from co- to principal supervisor, or assistant to principal supervisor) depending the research active status of that person or on other changes to his/her track record or professional development. To maintain accreditation after the three- year period, supervisors will be required to:

a. maintain the research track record requirements as approved by the university;

b. fulfil their responsibilities as a supervisor;

c. see students through to completion;

d. maintain a satisfactory record of timely research degree completions by the research candidates they supervise;

e. ensure that their profile on RexR is updated annually;

f. Participate in ethics training seminars and refresher courses;

g. participate in advanced training on supervisory practice at ACU or elsewhere;

h. participate in student confirmations, work-in-progress, and pre-submission seminars as outlined in the HDR regulations and where requested by the Faculty ADR;

i. satisfy the Associate Dean Research of their Faculty that there are no valid reasons for exclusion as a supervisor.

As part of their career development and planning cycle accredited supervisors will be asked to report on their supervisory activities and achievements during the year including professional development activities.

7. Accreditation Removal

A person may be removed from the accreditation register when the Office of the DVC Research is informed that the person has ceased to meet the requirements noted for maintaining accreditation or has not complied with the National Code for the Conduct of Research.

8. Roles and Responsibilities

a. The Academic Board is responsible for maintaining and reviewing this supervisor accreditation policy and procedures.

b. Within the guidelines below, accreditation is approved by the Dean of Research on behalf of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

c. The Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (ODVCR) is responsible for advising Human Resources of staff who have completed the supervisor training program at ACU and of staff who have been approved as accredited research supervisors.

d. ODVCR is responsible for the provision of lists of accredited supervisors to each Faculty and to the first meetings of the URC and the RTSC respectively each year.

e. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), in consultation with the University Research Committee is expected to review the accreditation framework at least every five years to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of candidates, supervisors and the University in a changing higher education context.

9. Review of the Policy and Procedures

The University may make changes to this policy and procedures from time to time to improve the effectiveness of its operation. Review of the policy will be initiated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or nominee within a five-year period.

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Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols

Code of Practice: Research Supervision

Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations

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