For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been doing a course at the university: being trained in the fine art of Masters supervision. Along with a bunch of other staff members (several pictured above) from different faculties, I’ve spent my Wednesday afternoons analysing and reflecting on how we help our Masters students do independent research and write dissertations.
There’s more to it than you might think, and while the parameters are usually fairly clear, there are lots of things that may pop up along the way to complicate things, and which can potentially derail things if you let them.
To finish the course, there’s a 3,000 word essay in which we think about the things that we’ve learned and analyse the ways in which they might be implemented and understood in our own context. For me, that’d be the two degrees I lead on: the MA in Music Industries – and the MA in Music Radio, which launches in September.
But naturally, the best thing about the course was the opportunity to take time out alongside other colleagues to think and talk about what we do, how we do it and some ways in which we might do it better.
We focused quite a lot today on the idea of building a postgraduate and research culture – which is actually something we do really well in the School of Media at BCU. So we were able to talk about some of our successful strategies (both online and off) and how we try to foster a really collegiate, supportive and social environment for the students, as well as quite a thriving research centre with lots of interesting stuff going on in some quite cutting edge areas. I never fail to be impressed with some of the cool stuff some of my colleagues are working on.
It was the final session and so I took a “class photo” (with a couple of abstentions). Nice bunch, the conversations about what different people do in different disciplines is always interesting… and we got tea and biscuits.