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Supervisor Siw's story

Siw has supervised a number of post graduate students. She is in her 40s and has had a chair for four years. Siw thinks that to appear as an expert is wrong and that it creates problems in the tutorial situation.

Siw means that it is the student her/himself who should be, and usually after the initial research stage is in fact, an expert in her/his field of research. Siw also points out that there is an academic culture that considers you as a poor or weak supervisor if you say you do not really know. Do you in that case have in-depth knowledge in the field of research? This seems, Siw argue, to be a shame because she thinks that she can do well without being an expert on the field of the doctoral student. Especially the younger ones seem to think she should know "everything" and supervise/manage more concrete so that they can quickly be done with their doctorate.

When meeting the post graduate students Siw sometimes feels she is not trusted as a mentor and also, a couple of her PhD students have chosen to change supervisor to someone who they perceive as more knowledgeable and powerful, although “in reality it is not so” Siw says. Siw considers herself as a highly qualified researcher and argue that she cannot be “an expert in all fields, and that she will not either”. Instead Siw wants her students to take responsibility themselves and become self-sustaining, promoting researchers.

In her meetings with graduate students, she tries to convey this message and sometimes it falls out well, but in other cases there are problems and mistrust. In these cases, Siw feel a discomfort with the result as she has spent a lot of time and she find it difficult to set the limits of her work.

As she has many students, she feels that the expectations becomes overpowering which result in working around the clock. Instead, she would like to have the role of a motivator that gives good advice and once again she emphasize that students should be much more responsible and self-sustaining in a creative and open research environment.

Siw has begun to experience obvious symptoms of stress but do not know how she can get out of the current situation and have a professional relationship with a certain distance, mutual respect and greater responsibility from the PhD students point of view.

Contact person for Advice for doctoral supervisors

Margareta Jernås
Phone: +46 (0)31-342 94 33
Send e-mail to Margareta
 


These web pages were created by Silwa Claesson and Gina Wisker.

Page Manager: Olof Siverbo|Last update: 6/13/2016
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