This event will be facilitated by Professor Pam Denicolo and Professor Rosemary Deem and its key objective is to engage colleagues in informed debate about the how, what, when and why of the final assessment of the doctorate. Pam is also co-convenor of SRHE's Postgraduate Issues Network - to find out more about this network, please click here.
The focus of this workshop is on the assessment of the doctorate, specifically, the role of examiners in doctoral defences, what is done well and what aspects of the viva are fit for contemporary purpose. We will consider the politics of internal and external examining and whether different types of doctorates (professional, traditional, prior and concurrent publication, performance, etc.) are comparable, regardless of their discipline or geographical base.
The session will be presented in three main interactive sections:
- Engaging with the Process Pre viva
- Success is in the Detail of the Viva Process
- Outcomes and Post-viva Responsibilities.
Throughout the session we raise challenging questions for debate about how the process can be made both rigorous and compassionate, empowering candidates whatever the formal outcome, as well as how assessment could be adapted to maintain the benefits of doctoral diversity while providing transparent evidence to employers and the wider society of the specific valuable skills of successful doctoral candidates.
Participants should bring to the workshop their knowledge of the criteria and doctoral assessment processes espoused in their own current and previous institutions. It would be useful too if they gave some advance thought to what broad, measurable objectives might now usefully be employed for every doctorate, no matter discipline and context. They might also want to reflect on their own experience of a thesis defence as a student.
Professor Pam Denicolo, having supervised and examined an extraordinary number of doctorates and taught research methods for over 30 years, is a prolific author on topics related to doctoral education and research methods. She established and ran a Graduate School, has acted as a consultant to universities on the development of doctoral education and training and continues to provide workshops for researchers, supervisors, and examiners nation and worldwide. Pam is a co-convenor of SRHE Postgraduate Issues Network (PIN), was substantial contributor to Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and Vice-Chair of UKCGE, and co-edits and contributes to the Sage Success in Research series and the Brill Critical Issues in the Future of Learning and Teaching series. A relevant publication is Delivering Inspiring Doctoral Assessment, London: Sage, 2020.
Rosemary Deem is Emerita Professor of HE Management at Royal Holloway (University of London), where also Dean of History/Social Science (2009-11); Vice-Principal, Education (2011-17); Vice-Principal for Teaching Innovation & Equality/Diversity (2017-19); Doctoral School Dean (2014-19). At Bristol University Faculty of Social Sciences & Law Postgraduate Dean (2004-6) and Faculty Research Director (2007-2009). At Lancaster University, Head of Educational Research (1992-4), Dean of Social Sciences (1994-1997) and University Graduate School Founder/Director (1998-2000). Fellow, UK Academy of Social Sciences since 2006. Co-editor, Higher Education (Springer) 2013-present. Appointed OBE for services to HE & Social Science 2013. 2015-2018 first woman to Chair UK Council for Graduate Education. Chair of Trustees, Sociological Review Foundation 2020 – present. Have supervised and examined many doctoral students in the fields of Education, Sociology, Management and Gender Studies. 1999-2009 held several SRHE roles including 2004-6 Chair of Publications Committee, 2007-2009 Vice Chair of Society & Chair, Research and Development Committee.
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