Supervisory renewal - Frequently Asked Questions

I believe that my Supervisory History Report contains some errors. What can I do to resolve this issue? 

There are two things that supervisors should be aware of when determining if there are errors in their Supervisory History report. 

  1. Supervisory arrangements for course-based students who complete a capstone project or major research paper are not normally recorded in PeopleSoft. As a result, students who you supervised in this capacity are not normally included on your Supervisory History Report. 
  2. Students who you supervised at any point will remain as part of your supervisory history, even if they had a change of supervisor or you no longer serve as a member of their supervisory committee. 

If you identify an issue that doesn’t fall into either of these situations, contact the Graduate Program Staff (Administrator, Advisor, Coordinator, etc.) for the program that the student was registered in, and they should be able to assist you with resolving this issue. 

One of the renewal questions asks me to comment on supervisory development activities I have undertaken in the past 5 years. What type of activities qualify as supervisory development? 

Any activities that help you to develop or improve in any aspect of supervision could be considered supervisory development activities. These activities do not need to be specifically targeted towards supervisors. Some examples of supervisory development activities could include: 

  • New supervisor workshop offered by FGS 
  • Any supervisor workshops or training offered by FGS, your teaching faculty or graduate program 
  • Mentorship from a more experienced supervisor 
  • Workshops offered by Research Services 
  • Taking advantage of resources offered through the UCalgary Mental Health Strategy or learning how to support students in distress 
  • Training related to communication or giving feedback 
  • Training modules offered by the Taylor Institute 
  • Learning about challenges for international students and how to best support them 

Several questions for supervisors seeking to renew supervisory privileges refer to the past 5 years. How does FGS define "the past 5 years"? 

Normally, this refers to the five years prior to the expiry date of your supervisory privileges. For example, if your supervisory privileges are set to expire on December 31, 2023, you would consider the past 5 years as being January 1, 2019-December 31, 2023. 

If your supervisory privileges expired before you had an opportunity to complete the renewal process, you may consider the past 5 years as the 5 years prior to January 1st of the year you complete the renewal form. For example, if your supervisory privileges expired on December 31, 2021, and you are completing the form in October 2023, you would consider the past 5 years as January 1, 2018-December 31, 2022. 

If you were on a leave in which you were unable to supervise graduate students at any time during the most recent 5-year period, please note this in your renewal. 

I’m struggling to answer the three renewal questions.  Do you have examples I can follow? 

  • QUESTION 1 : List and discuss any supervisory development activities you have undertaken in the past 5 years. 
    • EXAMPLE 1: I participated in two Women Leadership workshops offered by NSERC-Prairies in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology. 
    • EXAMPLE 2: I have attended several leadership workshops offered by the University of Calgary, too many to list. I have participated and been a guest on panels that discuss student supervision in technical theatre and design. In this 5-year reporting cycle, I was nominated for a Great Supervisor Award. 
  • QUESTION 2: Comment briefly on outcomes (completions, withdrawals, etc.) for students in the past 5 years. 
    • EXAMPLE 1: In the past 5 years, I have supervised the following students to completion: 
      • Name, degree, year of graduation (major awards held) – current position

      • NAME withdrew due to medical reasons in YEAR, after taking a leave of absence. 

      • In the past five years, I have also served on # supervisory committees.
      • I am currently supervising # of students (# MA, # PhD), and am on # additional supervisory committees. 
    • EXAMPLE 2: 
      • I’ve had # Masters students complete in the last five years. # of these took longer than normal due to life course delays (returning to work, having a baby). I currently supervise # PhD students, and co-supervise # more. All are on schedule, except for one that is delayed by a few months due to family circumstances. 
  • QUESTION 3: Discuss your approach to graduate supervision. 

    • EXAMPLE 1: 
      • My approach to graduate supervision:  
        • is individualized: Students and I have regular (i.e., weekly) one-on-one meetings that ensure that our plans and expectations are aligned.  
        • involves both guidance and dialogue: There are times when I provide students with clear advice and when we explore and learn together.  
        • ensures that I can act as a role model for my students: I model conscientious scholarship, informed teaching, committed service and a healthy lifestyle.  
        • involves open communication: I am available and responsive to students and communicate respectfully. 
    • EXAMPLE 2: 
      • My approach to graduate supervision is based on three principles: provide ample advice to help students think and make up their own minds, but give assistance when they are stuck; help students be prepared for change in the direction of their research (eg., data collection plans); and meet frequently enough to know that students have ongoing tasks that engage them in productive activities leading to outputs (e.g., conference presentations, papers, datasets). I also think it is importation that students keep in mind that their research needs to have social value. That is, the output(s) of their research need to benefit society in some way, and they need to be able to explain that in non-technical terms. 
    • EXAMPLE 3: 
      • I consider supervision an important priority. My optimal group size is X Doctoral and X Masters students. Key components of the student experience in my laboratory are the exposure to real clinical problems, as well as collaborations with other researchers, both nationally and internationally. We have regular laboratory meetings twice/month, and I meet individually with all the students at least twice/month. I also regularly provide opportunities for mentorship and discussions with our clinical collaborators and other experts. Given the highly inter-disciplinary nature of our research, I find that regular interactions with researchers in other areas and clinicians bring great benefit.
    • EXAMPLE 4: 
      • In the past, I had tended to operate on the principle that graduate students were able to work independently, with meetings as necessary, though I always encourage supervisees to talk to me about any issue at any time. More recently, I have come to realize that current students need active supervision more than past students have needed it. Consequently, I have modified by approach to supervision so that I meet more often with students, to ask for progress reports and drafts or partial drafts on a regular basis. Since this seems to be effective, I will continue to do this in the future.