Developing PhD supervisors

Professor Anne Lee in charge of the course “Developing doctoral supervision”. Photo
Professor Anne Lee in charge of the course “Developing doctoral supervision”, which will be held for 28 selected PhD supervisors at USN.

For the first time, USN is offering a common course aimed at PhD supervisors, across disciplines.


Text and photo: Knut J. Meland

With over 150 PhD students, USN has recognized the importance of ensuring the supervision of these PhD students holds to the highest standards. Therefore, USN has established a PhD supervisor training programme and recently completed the first gathering with 28 of our PhD supervisors participating. The first gathering and workshop for the participants was held on November 21 and 22 at our Drammen campus. Representatives from disciplines relating to our eight PhD programmes and all of our campuses were represented.

The goal of this programme is to give new and experienced supervisors tools and inspiration to do an even better job.

High quality training

“It is important that the quality of the training of our research fellows maintain high standards. It is also important that all of our PhD students--regardless of programme, campus, or research group--gets the same level of attention, and receive equal professional support”, says vice rector for research and development at USN, Pål Augestad. “In order to maintain high standards in our PhD programmes, we need to make sure that our students are integrated into the academic community, and that they are invited into the international research networks”.

Augestad also stresses the importance of maintaining high quality training of the PhD students is required if we are to succeed as an academic institution.

Pål Augestad og Anne Lee. Foto

About Anne Lee

Professor Anne Lee, a highly regarded professor, is responsible for the course, which has been named "Developing doctoral supervision".

Lee has made her mark internationally as a researcher in counseling and has published a multitude of articles and published several books in the field.

She has held similar courses at the University of Agder, University of Stavanger and Nord University as well as a number of international institutions.

Read more about Anne Lees work

Creating awareness

The participants conducted research in groups across disciplines. The participants showed great enthusiasm, many expressing that such a programme is crucial in order to share experiences and to learn from each other, but also to network with research peers and to build culture across institutions and disciplines.

“It was a pleasure to participate in the workshop with Anne Lee. It was actually evolving in the sense that I became aware of areas linked to supervision that I have been less conscious of in the past,” said Professor Rob Bongaardt, who conducts research on mental health.

Rob Bongaardt, Anne Lee og Rigmor Baraas. Foto

Equal conditions for research fellows

The course consists of three modules where the students get together in 2016 and 2017. They discussed issues that are relevant to both relatively new and experienced supervisors across disciplines.

The course initiative came from the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and coordinated by the Division of Research and Innovation. Dean Heidi Kapstad is among the initiators of the course, which has been planned since early 2016.

“We expect that the PhD supervisor course will strengthen the quality and throughput of our PhD programs. At the same time it will help to ensure equal conditions for our research fellows, with highly qualified coaches who know the PhD program and the associated regulations,” said Kapstad.

Significant interest

USN will continue collaborating with Professor Anne Lee going forward, and the next gathering will be held in January and October 2017.

The Research Section responsible for the course are hoping to offer more courses with Anne Lee in the future. That way all of the 44 who showed an interest for the course will be offered a spot.

“The great interest in this course shows that there is an urgent need to prioritize the development of supervisors”, said Augestad.

Interested in attending upcoming PhD supervisor courses?

Please contact Åsne Håndlykken-Luz , Department of Research and Internationalisation