Graduate Studies Supervisory Policy

Approved: January 11, 2007

This policy is intended to give guidance on supervision of theses and projects. Graduate programs, Supervisors and students are expected to assume responsibilities and commitments that will ensure a successful relationship of mutual respect governed by high standards of professional integrity and ethics. Each participant in a graduate program should undertake their formal roles and informal responsibilities in a supportive and effective manner, which includes the following:

Graduate Coordinator/Graduate Program Committee

  • Act in the best interest of the student to facilitate a successful intellectual experience
  • Facilitate the establishment and approval of appropriate supervision for the student's thesis or project
  • Assist the Supervisor and Supervisory Committee in understanding and meeting all policies and regulations of the academic unit and the Faculty of Graduate Studies associated with thesis/dissertation, research project, cognate paper or portfolio deadlines, procedures and requirements
  • Ensure that the student understands the expectations of progress in the program, including formal requirements and deadlines
  • Establish a mechanism for evaluating student progress through the program, including use of the annual Progress Report Form. Review the annual Progress Report Form from the Supervisor and Supervisory Committee and submit a copy to the Faculty of Graduate Studies
  • Facilitate resolution of conflicts that may arise between the Supervisor, student and/or members of the Supervisory Committee
  • Establish a means of ensuring continuous supervision for the student in cases where a Supervisor or Supervisory Committee member is unable to fulfill his or her responsibilities on a temporary or permanent basis
  • Approve any major changes to a student's program

Supervisor

  • Act in the best interest of the student to facilitate a successful intellectual experience
  • Advise the Graduate Coordinator/Graduate Program Committee if unable to fulfill responsibilities as a Supervisor and/or of any extended period of absence or the potential of such absence
  • Assist the student in understanding and meeting all policies and regulations of the academic unit and the Faculty of Graduate Studies associated with thesis/dissertation, research project, cognate paper or portfolio deadlines, procedures and requirements
  • Ensure that the student understands the expectations of progress in the program, including formal requirements and deadlines
  • With the student, develop a work plan with time lines to assist the student to meet all program requirements within the published Period of Study
  • Ensure that the student follows the appropriate process for research topic approval
  • Ensure that approval for research involving human subjects and non-human vertebrates is obtained respectively from the Research Ethics Board or the University Animal Care Committee, before the research begins
  • Ensure that students receive appropriate training in compliance with all Health and Safety policies of the academic unit and the University, in order to carry out their research
  • Be accessible and communicate regularly with the student and the Supervisory Committee members to review progress and normally, meet with the student at least once per term Accessibility includes scheduled meetings, phone calls and email returned in a timely manner, adequate meeting time for discussion and reasonable turnaround time for comments on the student's written work. The frequency and timing of meetings will depend on the nature of the research being undertaken and the stage of the student's program. Meetings should be of sufficient frequency that the Supervisor can make an adequate assessment of the student's progress each term and the student receives timely feedback on work being done and where improvement is needed. Individual meetings should be scheduled for a time convenient to all, allowing time for discussion. Email can also be a means for communication and questions
  • Examine thoroughly all written material relevant to the thesis/dissertation, research project, cognate paper or portfolio by the student and provide constructive suggestions, preferably in writing, for improving the work when necessary. Normally, comments should be provided within ten days of receipt of the submitted materials
  • With the student and the Supervisory Committee, evaluate the student's progress every term and report the progress to the Graduate Coordinator/Graduate Program Committee. The student should assist the Supervisor in preparing the annual Progress Report Form which will be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies through the Graduate Coordinator
  • Attend all formal presentations or other events required of the student by the program
  • Ensure that suitable arrangements are in place in a timely manner regarding the internal and external examination of a thesis/dissertation
  • Ensure that all necessary documentation has been completed and submitted regarding graduation and final submission of the thesis/dissertation
  • Encourage publication of the student's research results according to the standards in their field

Supervisory Committee

  • Act in the best interest of the student to facilitate a successful intellectual experience
  • Assist the student in meeting all formal requirements and deadlines of the program
  • Examine thoroughly all written material relevant to the thesis/dissertation, research project, cognate paper or portfolio by his/her student and provide constructive suggestions, preferably in writing, for improving the work when necessary. Normally, comments should be provided within ten days of receipt of the submitted materials
  • Be reasonably available for consultation with the student, the Supervisor and other members of the Supervisory Committee
  • Attend all formal presentations or other events required of the student by the program
  • Be prepared to take on the role of Supervisor if that individual is temporarily or permanently unable to fulfill those responsibilities
  • With the student, the Supervisor and other members of the Supervisory Committee, evaluate the student's progress every term and report the progress to the Graduate Coordinator/Graduate Program Committee. The annual Progress Report Form will be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies through the Graduate Coordinator
  • Advise the Graduate Coordinator if unable to fulfill responsibilities as a committee member and/or of any extended period of absence or the potential of such absence

Student

  • Understand and meet all policies and regulations of the academic unit and the Faculty of Graduate Studies associated with thesis/dissertation, research project, cognate paper or portfolio deadlines, procedures and requirements
  • Understand the expectations of progress in the program, including formal requirements and deadlines
  • With the Supervisor, develop a work plan with time lines to assist in meeting all program requirements within the published Period of Study
  • With the Supervisor, follow the appropriate procedure for research topic approval
  • With the Supervisor, ensure that approval for research involving human subjects and non-human vertebrates is obtained respectively from the Research Ethics Board or the University Animal Care Committee, before the research begins
  • Using the applicable training provided by the program, carry out their research in accordance with all Health and Safety policies of the academic unit and the University
  • Be accessible and communicate regularly with the Supervisor and the Supervisory Committee members to review progress and normally, meet with the Supervisor at least once per term. Accessibility includes scheduled meetings, phone calls and email returned in a timely manner, adequate meeting time for discussion and reasonable turnaround time for comments. The frequency and timing of meetings will depend on the nature of the research being undertaken and the stage of the program. Meetings should be of sufficient frequency that the Supervisor can make an adequate assessment of the student's progress each semester and the student receives timely feedback on work being done and where improvement is needed. Individual meetings should be scheduled for a time convenient to all, allowing time for discussion. Email can also be a means for communication and questions
  • To evaluate the program progress every semester, the student should assist the Supervisor in preparing the annual Progress Report Form which will be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies through the Graduate Coordinator
  • Ensure that all necessary documentation has been completed and submitted regarding graduation and final submission of the thesis/dissertation
  • Attend all formal presentations or other events required by the program
  • Present a thesis of his/her own work that reflects a capacity for independent scholarship and research in their field that meets generally accepted standards of quality and style embodying the results of their research
  • A Master's thesis must reveal the student's ability to work in a scholarly manner and is acquainted with the principal works published on the subject of the thesis. A Doctoral dissertation must embody the results of original investigations and analyses and be of such quality as to merit publication and constitute a substantial contribution to the knowledge of the candidate's field of study
  • Give serious and considered attention to advice and direction and respond to advice and criticisms provided by the Supervisor and/or the Supervisory Committee in a timely manner
  • On a regular basis, make available to the Supervisor all original research materials, retaining a copy where appropriate
  • In the event that aspects of the student's graduate program need to be discussed or renegotiated students can discuss issues with their Supervisor, Supervisory Committee, and Graduate Coordinator without fear of retribution. Students should discuss concerns with their Supervisor as soon as possible
  • In cases where there is dispute between the Supervisor and the student, it is the responsibility of both parties to approach the Graduate Coordinator so that discussions aimed at solving the problems can be initiated. If students feel they are exploited in any way they should discuss their concerns with their Supervisor, the Graduate Coordinator and/or the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students and faculty have the right to bring an advocate. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the student can take their concerns to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee. (Revised: January 11, 2007)
  • If a new Supervisor is assigned by the Graduate Program Committee, the student is expected to recognize that changing Supervisors may have consequences in terms of the nature and focus of an appropriate research topic, time-to-completion in the program, and/or funding
  • Inform the Supervisor of any extended period of absence or the potential of such absence
  • Acknowledge assistance, materials and/or data provided by other scholars, including the Supervisor, Supervisory Committee, fellow students, industry partners, and/or technicians
  • Where the student's research comprises a component of the Supervisor's research program, questions of joint ownership of data and/or patents is governed by the University's Intellectual Property Policy
  • Endeavour to publish the research results according to the standards in the field