Guides target international research student experience

A new series of booklets aims to improve outcomes for international postgraduate research students, and support their supervisors and training managers.

Australia’s international education sector is growing significantly, with Deloitte Access Economics predicting that onshore student enrolments will reach 1 million by 2025.

A Deakin-led team has developed a Research Digest on Reciprocal Intercultural Supervision, with three accompanying guides, as a means of enhancing the experience and outcomes for Higher Degree Research (HDR) students.

ARC Future Fellow Associate Professor Ly Tran, who has been Chief Investigator on the project, said that universities around the globe are now strategically focusing on increasing the number of international candidates enrolled in their HDR programs.

[testimonial_text]Australia currently hosts more than 20,000 international HDR candidates – about 32 per cent of the total Australian HDR cohort. Given this growth and increasing competitiveness, Australian universities are collaborating to ensure sufficient support is provided to all concerned so these students and their host university communities have an optimum experience. [/testimonial_text]
[testimonial_picture name=”Associate Professor Ly Tran” details=”Centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI)”]
Associate Professor Ly Tran[/testimonial_picture]

The project was funded by the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) and was launched by IEAA President Professor Chris Ziguras at the association’s annual research seminar, held at the University of Queensland on 4 July.

The series is freely available to international HDR candidates, supervisors and research training managers, either on-line or in hard copy.

The project was administered by Deakin’s Centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI), with Dr Wendy Green (University of Tasmania) and Lily Nguyen (University of Melbourne) also part of the team.

Associate Professor Tran said that the contribution of international HDR candidates to cultural understanding and transnational networks in their host universities is often under-recognised.

“Intercultural supervision is a venue for transformative learning for all candidates, supervisors, disciplines and the university,” she said.

“There is growing recognition of the potential for reciprocal learning between supervisors and HDR candidates – and the benefits of the associated transnational intellectual resources, ideas, cultures, and relationships.”

“However, both international candidates and their supervisors have reported challenges in successfully negotiating intercultural supervisory relationships.”

The Research Digest outlines five fundamental principles underpinning reciprocal intercultural supervision. The guides each target a separate key stakeholder: international HDR candidates; the supervisory team; and research training managers.

To further support supervisors, for instance, the Guides: suggest how to recognise and respond to possible challenges; emphasise the importance of viewing international HDR candidates’ different approaches to learning, academic writing, constructing knowledge and undertaking research as valuable resources; and show how supervisors can collaborate with other university services to provide effective support at different stages of the candidature.

• Download the Research Digest on Reciprocal Intercultural Supervision and Guides.

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