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

August 2023

Bonnie McConnell

Dr Bonnie McConnell
Senior Lecturer
School of Music
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Bonnie's supervisory approach:
"Supervising HDR scholars as part of my academic role is a joy and a privilege. I believe that an important aspect of my role as a supervisor is to serve as a mirror to reflect back to the student researcher their ideas in order to help clarify and focus those ideas. That is, effective and supportive supervision begins with developing a clear understanding of the HDR scholar’s own priorities, aspirations, and strengths as a researcher. This supports the development of a sense of agency and independence. This also provides a foundation for introducing new, challenging ideas and articulating the broader significance of the thesis project.

The pressures of completing a PhD can be very challenging. In working with HDR scholars, in addition to guiding their thesis work, I aim to provide space to share challenges such as time management, work-life balance, and mental wellbeing, and to problem solve together, referring students for further support if needed. In my view, mentorship that considers the wellbeing of the whole person (and not just the thesis) is an important aspect of the supervisory role.

At the ANU, HDR thesis projects in music are extremely diverse and varied in terms of topic, methodology, and theoretical positioning. This means that as a supervisor, there is no “one size fits all” approach that will work for all students. At the same time, I have observed a common challenge (and source of insight) among the HDR scholars in music where supervisory guidance is particularly important. This is the challenge of understanding and articulating the nature of sound and embodied musical experience in the HDR project. As a supervisor, I approach this challenge as a source of insight because it connects to questions of student motivation and critical perspectives on research methodologies, communication of findings, and the place of non-text-based knowledge in the academy".

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