Applying work motivation theories to articulate the challenges of providing effective doctoral supervision

This source preferred by Sarah Hean

Authors: Hean, S. and Matthews, M.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/3938/

Publisher: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia

Place of Publication: Milperra, New South Wales, Australia

Universities in the United Kingdom face numerous demands regarding provision of quality research education to increasing numbers of doctoral students. One challenge is the recruitment of suitably qualified, skilled academics to take on their supervision and subsequently provide a high quality student experience. Understanding what motivates supervisors is central to facing this challenge. However, little theory underpins the supervision processes and even less pertain specifically to the issues of supervisor motivation.

The paper addresses this short fall by exploring and applying work motivation theories to the higher education postgraduate context. It considers goal setting and social cognitive theory, as used in the wider area of work social-psychology, to lay a new theoretical approach that enables motivation to supervise to be better articulated and assessed.

The content of the paper resides within the theme “Theoretical frameworks of learning and teaching in higher education. In taking this novel approach to understanding supervision in higher education, the paper will inform academic developers facing the current challenges in strategic decision making that relate to research education and student supervision. It will interest to those participants involved in academic supervisor training in terms of programme content and it has relevance for post graduate supervisors, at all levels, in terms of their own performance and career objectives. Finally, it has an application for policy makers as the work fits into the new and emerging political landscape surrounding doctoral/research education in the UK and internationally.

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