Mouzughi, Yusra and Davies, Julie (2016) A call for supervisors with split personalities: An exploration of PhD and Prof Doc supervision roles. In: Achieving excellence in Masters and Doctoral education, 4th-5th July 2016, Liverpool, UK.

The supervisor/student relationship forms one of the most memorable relationships in a student’s academic life. This relationship not only informs the development of the research and potential outcomes but also role models the nature of research supervision for future generations of academics.
Universities have, over the years, fine-tuned guidance and expectations of both supervisors and students in an attempt to spell out and clarify a very unique and personal relationship. Whilst there is still huge variance in experiences, there is a common understanding and perception of the junior role of the PhD student relative to the Professor or PhD supervisor.
The rise of Professional Doctorates (PD) as an alternative form of Doctoral degree recognition has now added another layer of complexity to our understanding of supervisor/student relationships. PD students do not conform to the stereotype of traditional PhD students as they are mostly in full time employment, have a wealth of experience in their chosen field of study and have in most cases, quite developed careers or career paths. Thus, supervisors have to develop a different supervision style to be able to support the specific requirements of PD students.
This phenomenon is best exemplified in the Middle East where there has been a noticeable rise in the uptake of Doctorates of Business Administration (DBA) and where candidates undertaking these degrees tend to hold high ranking prestigious jobs in their home countries. This background within which the supervision takes place is very different to the ‘norm’ of PhD supervision requiring a different skill set and approach.
This paper explores the evolving nature of Doctoral supervision focusing on the need to revisit supervision expectations and requirements in a global educational environment, and calls for supervisors who can assume a ‘split personality’ to address the diverse needs of Doctoral students.

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