Past Event details

Boundaries, Buddies, and Benevolent Dictators within the Ecology of Doctoral Study

Monday, 05 March 2018

Contributors: Søren Bengtsen, Aarhus University, & Kay Guccione, University of Sheffield

Through four interrelated presentations, the seminar with workshop activities will explore the question of sustaining enquiry through negotiating the relationships and navigating the dimensions of the research study environment. The seminar will introduce the idea of interpersonal trust (and its domains, competence, benevolence, integrity, predictability) as a marker of ‘quality’ in supervision relationships, using cases and data from the Trust Me project to illustrate this in the supervision context. Further context is given to this in findings from research conducted at Danish and British universities which highlights the darker sides of doctoral education where students fall off the radar and become strangers to the institution: what are the limits of institutional support systems in response to this? The practice of giving and receiving of feedback is a further dimension of the research study environment and the seminar will give pointers towards how it may strengthen rather than risk weakening relationships. The final section of the seminar will explore the 'penumbra’ of the research study environment, where parties who are not the supervisors play a role and may contribute significantly to the doctoral candidate’s project. 

Søren S.E. Bengtsen, PhD, is Associate Professor at Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media, Aarhus University, Denmark. Furthermore, he is Deputy Director of Centre for Higher Education Futures, also at Aarhus University. He is the founder and coordinator of the national research network and Special Interest Group in Supervision and Mentoring in Higher Education within the Danish Network for Educational Development in Higher Education. His primary research areas include doctoral education and supervision, higher education, and educational philosophy. For the last 10 years he has conducted research and developmental work within supervision and mentoring within higher education, and for the last five years with a special focus on doctoral education and supervision. Dr. Bengtsen is responsible for the development and teaching of the obligatory courses in doctoral supervision for all new doctoral students, and all new doctoral supervisors, at the Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University. He collaborates with the Graduate School of Arts and the PhD-Programme Directors within the Graduate School around 2 development initiatives around peer groups, peer mentoring, and formation within doctoral education. His recent book (2016) on doctoral education is titled Doctoral Supervision: Organization and Dialogue (published by Aarhus University Press), and recent book chapters and research articles may be found on his personal website at AU

Kay Guccione, based at the University of Sheffield, is a specialist in the design of mentoring and coaching for higher education learning & development. Her research investigates different aspects of the HE experience for doctoral, post-doctoral, and academic researchers, and she uses the findings to build usercentred programmes and systems. Kay teaches people how to build trust and alliance in educational relationships, and works to develop a coaching skill-set as part of the academic repertoire. For more information Visit

Programme outline:

From 12noon: Registration and Lunch

13.00-13.10: Welcome to the seminar

13.10-13.30: Presentation 1 The interpersonal nature of Trust in supervision relationships (Guccione)  

13.30-13.45: Discussion in groups and plenum

13.45-14.05: Presentation 2 Darkness and alienation in doctoral education and supervision (Bengtsen)

14.05-14.20: Discussion in groups and plenum

14.20-14.30: Break

14.30-14.50: Presentation 3 Doing feedback ‘with’ not ‘to’ doctoral students - creating alliance and independence                                              (Guccione) 

14.50-15.05: Discussion in groups and plenum

15.05-15.25: Presentation 4 The doctoral learning penumbra - the role of feedback and support from academic friends,                                                 guardian supervisors, and meaningful others (Bengtsen) 

15.25-15.40: Discussion in groups and plenum

15.40-16.00: Open discussion on the themes of the day

Network: Postgraduate Issues
Date: Monday, 05 March 2018
Times: 12:00 - 16:00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier Street, London N1 9BE
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Event Files
File Details Download
Darkness and alienation in doctoral education and supervision
Soren Bengsten
doing feedback with or giving feedback to?
Kay Guccione
Trust Me Interpersonal trust in supervision relationships
Kay Guccione
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