Effectively Managing Conflict in the Higher Degree Research Student / Supervisor Relationship

Samantha HARDY
James Cook University, Australia


The learning and teaching experience of higher degree research (HDR) students is critical to their learning and research success. The teaching role of the supervisor and their management of the supervisor/student relationship remain areas of tertiary teaching and learning practice that are not well researched and there is very little available data about the experiences of people involved in student-supervisor and supervisor-supervisor conflict. There is no published research specifically on this topic in Australia.

There is a significant need for the issue of poorly managed conflict in the HDR student-supervisor relationship to be addressed in Australian universities. Currently, poorly managed conflict has a negative impact on the quality of learning and teaching in the research education context. There is a need for the development and dissemination of effective mechanisms for the management of conflict in the higher degree research training context in Australian higher education.

This round table will provide a forum for participants to review the results of a recent pilot study into conflict in the HDR student/supervisor relationship at an Australian University, and to share their own experiences and ideas about strategies for improved practice.

Suggested questions for discussion:

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