HDR Supervisor of the Month

To recognise good practice in ANU Higher Degree Research (HDR) supervision, we have introduced the HDR Supervisor of the Month Award.

All HDR supervisors, conveners, administrators, or anyone else who works to support HDR are eligible to be nominated.

The winner will receive ANU-wide recognition.

Nominations are welcome from all members of the ANU community. Nomination involves completion of the simple HDR Supervisor of the Month – Nomination Form.

Current HDR Supervisor of the Month awardee

September 2021

Patrick L’Espoir Decosta

Associate Professor Patrick L’Espoir Decosta
Head of Education Quality Assurance
Research School of Management
ANU College of Business & Economics

Patrick’s supervisory approach:
“Whenever I begin the journey of an HDR supervision, my first priority is to develop a clear picture of the candidate’s worldview, approach, perspective, experience and overall position. With their help, I can then lay a foundation to the conception and implementation of an integrated research design for the best possible outcome in their research education. In practice, this means I rely on honest conversations and relationships that place my HDR students and myself on equal footing so we can immerse ourselves fully in the journey of intellectual curiosity, constant questioning, constructive disagreement, critical discussion and collaborative work. I have found that following up candidates’ questions with focused questions of my own promotes growth in their skills and knowledge base as they seek answers to discuss in our later meetings.

While I am keen on providing structure to the HDR candidates’ journey, I also encourage them to challenge my approach through their own intellectual philosophies, methodological expertise and academic competencies. The road to successful supervision is never straightforward, with only one approach suitable in all cases. Guiding an HDR candidate to successful completion of their research education requires that I respect differences, listen actively, ask the right questions and view matters from their perspective, occasionally offering support and empathy when they encounter life challenges outside of their academic journey. With each candidate, I re-evaluate my previous approaches and positions, which tells me that that my role as a supervisor will never become routine or monotonous. In fact, during the pandemic, I considered it essential to provide constant support and a sense of continuity to my students, which made me realise that I am on my own journey of discovery as I accompany them on theirs."

Find out more about Patrick’s work by visiting Patrick's profile webpage on the Researchers website.