Letter: Private grillings (2)

April 27, 2001

It was reported that "there are no systematic training schemes for supervisors outside a handful of isolated and unconnected skills workshops" ("New PhD to attract overseas students", THES , April 13). But a few institutions run programmes from certificate to masters level. The most establish is at Leeds Metropolitan University, whereas Edge Hill is in its second year and others are under way.

A number of institutions run accredited schemes, primarily on teaching and learning in higher education, but with a research supervision option. The Staff and Educational Development Association is also devising accreditation procedures to guide staff development programmes on research supervision.

What is noteworthy about the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's training and accreditation programme for postgraduate supervisors (Tapps) is that it is devoted entirely to research supervision, is readily transferable to other organisations and disciplines and carries a "kite-mark" style award.

Tapps is likely to appeal to supervisors who already have an academic qualification in their chosen field but wish to demonstrate that their skill as research supervisors meets the approval of a major research funding body.

Pat Cryer
Convener, Society for Research in Higher Education postgraduate issues network

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