B4 - From ‘I don’t know where to start’ to ‘I know all this already’: the difficulties of teaching mixed skillset groups in doctoral development programmes

Day Day 1
Code B4
Start time 16:50
Developing doctoral researchers
Developing supervisors and principal investigators

Dr Heather Mackenzie, Researcher Development Coordinator, University of Portsmouth

Dr Darren Van Laar, Director of Graduate School, University of Portsmouth

Workshop overview: 

Meeting the expectations and needs of a diverse group of learners is one of the key challenges for centralised postgraduate researcher (PGR) programmes. Bringing together groups of PGRs from a wide variety of disciplines, at different stages of study, with different motivations, and of mixed ability, requires careful management within the classroom. Using the University of Portsmouth’s established and highly rated Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) as a case study, we will present our experience of the problem, and the solutions we have employed to ensure a high-quality learning experience for all. We will then lead discussions around the experiences in delegate’s own institutions, the solutions they have found, and identify shared good practice.

Themes covered: 

  • Strategic opportunities and challenges for organisations in creating and sustaining environments where researchers can flourish

Workshop aims: 

  • To outline the background and the problem.
  • To present the challenges we have experienced and share our solutions.
  • To facilitate meaningful discussion about how the problem is manifested in delegate’s own institutions and solutions employed.
  • To come to an understanding of good practice in facilitating mixed groups of PGRs.

Value for delegates:

The session will provide an opportunity for delegates to consider the challenges and opportunities involved in working with mixed groups of postgraduate researchers, to share and reflect on their own experiences, and to learn from other institution’ practices. Delegates should leave with tangible ideas that they can implement in their own institutions. The session might also identify ‘sticky’ issues that have proven difficult to solve across institutions, and for which greater inter-institutional working may be needed.