Meeting the Challenge of Doctoral Supervision

Webinar: Meeting the Challenge of Doctoral Supervision

Date: Thursday, 1 October 2020
Time: 09:00 - 13:00
Venue: Online via Zoom
Target audience: A maximum of 30 academics from across all the academic entities, in particular those who are new to doctoral supervision.
Registrations are currently closed.
Please contact us if you would like to be placed on the waiting list. 


Thesis supervision is increasingly seen as a form of teaching – possibly the most subtle and complex that academics engage in. This webinar sets out to discuss some of the challenges involved in providing skillful supervision to doctoral students. Different supervisory approaches and styles will be presented, highlighting the different relationships, roles, and expectations that each entails. The webinar will draw on the relevant research and literature on doctoral supervision, as well as on the experience of participants and specially invited local and international resource persons, in order to increase awareness of good practice, and to develop the skills required to manage the supervisory process successfully. 

This webinar is organised by the Doctoral School and Office for Professional Academic Development with the support of the Office for Human Resources Management & Development. 


09:00 Welcome address
  Professor Alfred J. Vella, Rector
09:05 Introduction
  Professor Ing. Saviour Zammit, Pro-Rector, Research & Knowledge Transfer
  Mr James Cilia, Rector’s Delegate, Office for Professional Academic Development
  Ms Jacqueline Fenech, Director for Human Resources Management & Development
09:10  Regulations and procedural issues regarding Ph.D. supervision and examination
  Professor Nicholas C. Vella, Director, Doctoral School 
10:00 Q&A 
10:15 Plenary Panel Session:
  “Supervisory styles: issues, challenges, and insights from research and experience”  
  Chair: Professor Ronald G. Sultana, Professor, Faculty of Education
  Professor Godfrey Baldacchino, Professor, Department of Sociology
  Professor Kathryn Rountree, Massey University, New Zealand 
  Professor Gina Wisker, University of Bath, UK
11:00 Break
11:30 Cross-disciplinary groups: "Learning by sharing and comparing"
  The main aims of these parallel sessions are:  
  To discuss issues and address questions participants have about the supervision of Ph.D. theses 
  To share experiences and enhance peer learning regarding Ph.D. supervision 
  Group A: Humanities, Education & Law 
  Facilitators: Professor Kenneth Wain & Professor Gloria Lauri Lucente
  Group B: Architecture & STEM
  Facilitators: Dr Ing. Nicholas Sammut & Professor Cristiana Sebu 
  Group C: Social & Behavioural Sciences 
  Facilitators: Dr Leonie Baldacchino & Professor Albert Gatt 
  Group D: Life Sciences & Medicine 
  Facilitators: Professor Patrick J. SchembriProfessor Vasilis Valdramidis
12:15 Plenary synthesis of main points by group rapporteurs 
12:45 Concluding comments
  Professor Nicholas C. Vella, Director, Doctoral School  

Printable version of the programme 


International Speakers

Emeritus Professor Kathryn Rountree has extensive experience of Ph.D. supervision and examination, and a longstanding commitment to the welfare and success of doctoral students. She was a member of Massey University’s Doctoral Research Committee, convened numerous Ph.D. oral examinations (vivas) across the University’s colleges, judged the Ph.D. “3-minute Thesis Competition”, and was a regular facilitator and panellist for Graduate Research School workshops on aspects of the doctoral process: preparing candidates for their 1-year confirmation, training thesis examiners, and training convenors to conduct viva examinations. She organised annual conferences for students to present their research-in-progress and is author of 'Writing by Degrees: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses and Research Papers' (Pearson, 1996).

Professor Gina Wisker is an Associate Professor with the International Centre for Higher Education Management, University of Bath, UK. She has supervised 37 students to completion  and examined  47 (from  many  different  countries including Finand, Australia, New Zealand, India, S Africa, UK, Ireland). Gina began supervision  development support by working with epidemiologists and health professionals at London  School of Hygiene and  Tropical Medicine, and has run wokshops in the UK for  many universities including the Royal College of  Arts, Cambridge, Portsmouth and in South Africa, Norway, Denmark, Australasia and New Zealand, Rwanda, Mozambique, Ghana, and ran the supervisor development prgramme for 6 years  at Gothenburg University  Sweden. Gina is the author of over 26 books and many  journal articles. eg Getting published Palgrave Macmillan (2015), The Good Supervisor Palgrave Macmillan (2012);The postgraduate research handbook. Palgrave Macmillan (2007). Gina is a National Teaching  Fellow, Principal  Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Senior Fellow of  the Staff and Educational Development   Association, chief  editor for Innovations in  Education and Teaching International, the  SEDA journal and on Council and publications committee, for the Society for  Research  in  HE (SRHE).