Working closely with a supervisor in the development of a research project, thesis, or dissertation is an integral part of most graduate degrees. At Queen's, we recognize the importance of a positive and productive relationship between students and supervisors. To support a strong culture of graduate supervision, the SGSPA has developed a suite of resources for both students and graduate faculty as they navigate the supervision relationship. Underpinning all supervision activities and resources at Queen's is the Queen’s Graduate Supervision Policy.
As a foundation for effective graduate supervision at Queen’s, the SGSPA endorses the following principles for graduate supervision:
- Mutual Respect: Maintain a positive learning and research environment through respect, exercising understanding in times of difficulty and support for the achievement of milestones.
- Open Communication: Early and ongoing communication is essential.
- Goal-directed Learning and Progress Monitoring: Discuss and establish learning and research goals.
- Responsive and Timely Feedback: Be reasonably accessible by providing descriptive, actionable, and timely feedback.
- Leveraging Resources for Wellbeing and Success: Leveraging university-wide resources can support both students and supervisors in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities.
Supervision Policy, Handbook, and Resources
Clear understanding of expectations can help maintain the productivity of this essential relationship. To ensure both faculty and students understand their roles and responsibilities, the SGSPA has developed a Senate-approved Graduate Supervision Policy. The policy includes:
- Queen's commitment to graduate supervision
- Roles and responsibilities for graduate students, graduate supervisors, graduate programs and the SGSPA
- Description of leave procedures
- Description of conflict resolution procedure
The following graduate supervision resources are available to support productive supervision relationships.
- Graduate Supervision Handbook (20 MB): This handbook outlines key resources, opportunities, and policies related to graduate education and supervision at Queen’s.
- Setting Expectations: A Resource Guidebook for Graduate Students and Supervisors (6.7 MB): This guide helps establish shared expectations and is a useful tool to use at the beginning of each academic year. Thematically organized, with sections offering questions and prompts to encourage discussion across foundational aspects of the supervisory relationship (communication, feedback, progression, publication, funding, etc.), the guide also contains a Goal Setting Plan and a Program Planning Guide.
- Productive Supervisory Relationships: Making Assumptions Explicit (a one-page conversation guide) (962 KB): This 1-pager helps initiate conversations about key tasks and responsibilities for students and supervisors.
- Navigating Graduate Student Concerns: A Resource Guide for Graduate Students (1.8 MB): This guide helps students navigate challenges they might encounter throughout their graduate education and provides tailored resources for each challenge.
- Editor Listing for Graduate Students (439 KB): A listing of fee-based editors who can support graduate academic writing through editing services.
- National Centre for Faculty Development and Diversity Website
The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) provides on-demand, online access to mentoring, tools and support to help individuals grow and be successful in academia.
Through Queen's institutional membership with NCFDD, we are committed to supporting faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students progress through their academic career by developing and honing skills including research, writing, strategic planning, networking building and finding work-life balance.
The Graduate Supervision Policy stipulates that new faculty members should participate in graduate supervision orientation and training offered by the SGSPA, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, or equivalent, normally within one year of appointment to the University. The SGSPA has the following training opportunities available to faculty members. All faculty members – new and continuing – are welcome and encouraged to take the course and attend our retreats.
Foundations for Effective Graduate Supervision Course for Faculty Members
- New Online Course on Foundations for Effective Graduate Supervision. Self-register for our online, self-paced course on the foundations for effective graduate supervision.
Faculty Retreats on Graduate Supervision
Fall Faculty Supervision Retreat – November 10th from 1:00-5:00pm
- Theme: Foundations for Effective Graduate Supervision
- Location: Donald Gordon Conference Centre
- RSVP: Register Here
Spring Faculty Supervision Retreat – May 18, 2023, from 9:30-4:00
- Theme: Navigating the Complexities of Graduate Supervision
- Location: Donald Gordon Conference Centre
- Registration Details: TBA
As students and supervisors discuss a research project, they may wish to refer to the Thesis and Dissertation Showcase page, which features examples of dissertations produced following a range of formats and styles. The SGSPA is committed to supporting high-quality research that advances diverse fields of inquiry. We further support diverse forms of knowledge creation and representation.