HDR Supervisor Toolkit

HDR Supervisor Toolkit

HDR Governance         Prospective & Commencing Candidates Candidature Management     Completing Candidates              Termination & Appeals Toolkit Research End-User Engagement

HDR Governance

All persons involved in Higher Degree Research (HDR) are responsible for fostering research integrity according to national standards and the University’s Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, other related University policies and procedures, and the University’s commitment to cultural safety in research that involves Indigenous peoples.

Listed below are the relevant policies and/or procedures for conducting research at Macquarie University.  Supervisors should ensure that their candidates have reviewed these documents and are conducting their research in accordance with them.

IMPORTANT: Advice to all HDR supervisors on supporting candidates during COVID-19

What should I be doing as a supervisor?

  • Contact all your candidates to assure them that despite the challenges of the current situation, the University seeks to support them through to the successful completion of their project and that they will not be penalised for events beyond their control. Also assure them that the OHDRTP has developed a range of measures to support candidates whose work is impacted by COVID-19.
  • Check on the welfare of each candidate and make sure they are aware of counselling and other support services through Campus Wellbeing. Many of our candidates, especially our international candidates, will be feeling stress at this time and their welfare is of paramount importance.
  • Remind candidates that working remotely should not mean being socially remote and that they should make efforts to keep themselves connected with you, their fellow candidates and other parts of the university – including with our Support & Development team which has a growing range of online resources to support candidates’ professional development and connectedness. Please make them aware of on-line video conferencing tools such as zoom or skype as avenues to keep connected.
  • It is recommended that all supervisory meetings are transitioned to an online platform, maintaining regular contact with individuals and, in areas where this is practiced, with teams and groups. Please refer to our Distance Supervision information and access tools through our iLearn module.

How can supervisors assist in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on candidates’ research and progress?

  • Candidates in different fields and at different stages of candidature will experience the impact of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the closure of the university facilities differently.
  • Candidates will need active assistance from supervisors in cases where research scope or design needs to be adjusted to allow for the new conditions. Candidates will also need advice and guidance on activities which they might pursue to remain as productive as possible where access to facilities is an issue. Where changes to research design or project timelines are required, this should be recorded as this will provide an important reference point in the future. Use of the candidate management action plan (CMAP) will facilitate this important discussion. It is important that candidates document the work that they have been conducting, or any difficulties they have in conducting their research, during this time.
  • It is important to work with candidates to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on their candidature. However, for some candidates, delays to the progress of research may be unavoidable and where this is the case, OHDRTP aims to accommodate requests for extensions. Please contact the OHDRTP for more advice on applications for extensions during this time.
  • Supervisors should be assisting candidates to develop programs of productive work which can be done remotely, and this might be:
    • Investigating alternative sources of data, including existing data sets and collecting data by virtual means rather than face to face;
    • Continuing or finalising literature reviews;
    • Writing and revising chapter drafts;
    • Developing papers for publication;
    • Undertaking professional development.
  • There may be some candidates for whom work is stalled such that the best approach will be for the candidate to take a form of leave that is available, including Annual Leave or a Leave of Absence (LOA), and if they are a scholarship holder they may be able to take this on a paid basis, or suspend their award. Please be sure to discuss the appropriate leave and leave possibilities, as needed, with your ADHDRs and HDR Managers.
  • Candidates who are unable to recommence their research due to COVID-19 should contact the OHDRTP for advice.

For FAQs on COVID-19 in the HDR Supervision and Candidature space, please access here.

Our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Macquarie University is committed to creating our future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders. Through Walanga Muru, the Office of Indigenous Strategy, our University provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with tailored, individual services and a culturally safe place to excel in their learning journey and complete their chosen degree.

In partnership with our Indigenous community, a number of strategies and initiatives have been developed to provide the foundation to take Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education at the university to a new and exciting level. Details about these strategies and initiatives can be found on the University website.

Research policies and procedures
  • The Animal Use for Scientific Purposes Policy establishes the principles that underpin the University’s approach concerning responsibilities relating to the ethical and humane use of animals for scientific purposes. The implementation of this policy and its related procedures and guidelines will facilitate compliance with relevant legislation, minimising risk to the University while promoting high quality research and teaching.
  • The Human Research Ethics Policy establishes how Macquarie University fulfils its responsibilities for ensuring compliance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018).
  • The Biosafety and Biosecurity Policy establishes the safety framework for research and teaching involving microorganisms and biohazardous materials. Implementation of this policy facilitates Macquarie University compliance with relevant legislation, promotes high-quality research and teaching, and minimises risks to human and animal health, and the environment.
  • The Export Controls and Sanctions Policy establishes the University’s commitment to comply with export controls and sanctions laws, and will assist the University’s (including its Controlled Entities’) researchers, academics, other relevant personnel, and students to comply with these obligations.
  • The Health and Safety Policy establishes the University’s commitment to the principles and practices of workplace health and safety (WHS) in order to protect the health and safety of the University Community and environment. Supervisors (including HDR supervisors) within academic and professional units are responsible for health and safety matters within their area of management.
  • The Intellectual Property Policy establishes how the University intends to identify, claim and manage the Intellectual Property (“IP”) of the University, its employees, students and third parties.
HDR rules, policies and procedures

All supervisors, regardless of type of appointment, are required to comply with the Higher Degree Research Rules and any University Policy, Procedures or Codes relating to HDR supervision and candidature.

  • The Higher Degree Research Variations to Candidature Policy specifies the University’s requirements for HDR (Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy and Master of Research) candidates who are seeking a variation to their candidature as a result of changing attendance, taking a period of leave, requiring an extension, or not having submitted their thesis for examination within the standard period of candidature.
  • The Higher Degree Research Transfer Policy establishes the conditions under which HDR candidates enrolled at Macquarie University may transfer their degree between either Departments and Faculties or between different types of HDR degrees.
  • The Higher Degree Research Offsite Research (Continuing) Procedure establishes the steps required to ensure approval is obtained for any Offsite Research (OSR) for a continuing HDR candidate, specifically where a candidate intends to undertake research such as fieldwork, data collection or conference attendance Offsite; and continuing research Offsite.

A full list of University policies and procedures is available in Policy Central.

Respectful Supervisory Relationships

Principles for Respectful Supervisory Relationships     

Universities Australia, the National Tertiary Education Union, the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations and the Australian Council of Graduate Research have jointly developed a set of principles to underpin the relationship between postgraduate research students and their academic supervisors. They are designed to protect and promote the safety and wellbeing of students and staff.

Macquarie University is committed to supporting these principles.

The Principles are:

  1. A sexual or romantic relationship between a supervisor and their student is never appropriate
  2. Universities recognise there is a power imbalance in the supervisor-student relationship and that the greater power rests with the supervisor
  3. The professional relationship between a supervisor and their student is characterised by mutual respect and trust
  4. Expectations, roles and responsibilities of students and their supervisors are clear
  5. Safeguards are used to protect students from situations of risk and unwanted advances from their supervisors
  6. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are unacceptable
  7. The safety and wellbeing of anyone who reports sexual assault or sexual harassment are promoted and protected by the University
  8. Disclosures or formal reports of sexual assault or sexual harassment are met with support and compassion

Read the Principles for Respectful Supervisor Relationships in full.

University policies

Macquarie University has a number of codes, policies and procedures to support the Principles for Respectful Supervisory Relationships.

  • The Staff Code of Conduct (Code) confirms that commitment and outlines the expectations that can be made of all staff at Macquarie University. As a member of the Macquarie University community, all staff are expected to perform their duties and conduct the academic and business activities of the University with efficiency, fairness, impartiality, integrity, honesty and compassion.
  • The Student Code of Conduct provides Macquarie University students with notice of general conduct which is prohibited.  It is not an exhaustive list of misconduct.  For example, University by-laws, rules, policies and other codes of conduct published by the University may specify other behaviour which will be misconduct.
  • The Student Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy sets out:
    • behaviours which are not accepted by Macquarie University;
    • what consent means in relation to those behaviours;
    • how reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment concerning Macquarie University students can be made to the University; and
    • how the University will respond to a report about sexual assault or sexual harassment committed by a student.

The Policy is supported by the Student Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Procedure and Guide.

Supervising candidates from diverse backgrounds

Our HDR candidates come from a wide range of different education and language backgrounds, ethnic and religious groups, and countries. This diversity - which extends to an acknowledgment of people's individual preferences for living and abilities - is an attribute that gives our University a unique flavor.

As a supervisor, you will need to:

  • be mindful and respectful of difference and seek to understand how that variety can lead to strong research and learning synergies;
  • help your candidate to adjust to the new academic, cultural and research environment;
  • treat your candidate with compassion and empathy, and explore their individual learning and research needs with the aim of smoothing their transition into a research culture;
  • be mindful of specific cultural practices that need to be accommodated.

Read more about MQs commitment to workplace equity, diversity and inclusion and our programs and initiatives.

Supervisor roles

Your role as a supervisor will vary depending on your style of supervision. Each candidate has one primary supervisor and at least one other. The different types of supervisors are:

  • Principal Supervisor (Doctoral/ M Phil)
  • Associate Supervisor (Doctoral/M Phil)
  • Research Masters Supervisor
  • Associate Supervisor (Research Masters)
  • Higher Degree Research Cultural Advisor
  • Adjunct Higher Degree Research Supervisor
  • Higher Degree Research Advisor
  • Higher Degree Research Supervisor (End-User Partnership).

Full details of your responsibilities are outlined in the Higher Degree Supervision Policy and Procedure.

To be appointed as a supervisor, you must have completed the mandatory Foundations in Supervision and meet the minimum standards for appointment to respective roles outlined in the Higher Degree Supervision Policy.

HDR academic advisors

For information about your faculty's Associate Dean HDR, Heads of Departments, and PhD/MRes Directors and Advisors, see HDR Academic Advice.

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