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 now open to all staff and HDR students. Nomination involves completion of the simple HDR Supervisor of the Month – Nomination Form.

Current HDR Supervisor of the Month awardee

March 2021

John McCarthy

Associate Professor John McCarthy
Senior Lecturer
Crawford School of Public Policy
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

John’s supervisory approach:
“One of the most rewarding activities of an academic is seeing PhD students developing their skills and coming up with new insights about their research field, applying this to their work, and developing excellent research outputs. I take great pleasure in supporting the development of PhD students. The PhD path is a difficult one for many, and each student faces their own difficulties, whether they be personal, professional or financial. For this reason each student requires bespoke assistance if they are to keep on the path. At some point most students will face a crisis for one reason or another. Yet, students are sometimes reluctant to be open about their difficulties or to indicate when they are lacking confidence or losing their way.

In my experience the key to helping them to do well is encouragement. One needs to keep an eye on them to make sure they are not losing the way forward, and try to direct them back on the path if they are progress too slowly or wandering off. But it is important not to assume they are feeling secure about how things are going. While its good to remind them of deadlines, it is critical to avoid putting too much pressure on them. Most PhD students are ambitious and self-critical and more responsive to positive advice rather than criticism or negative feedback.

I aim to help them to develop their confidence as independent researchers through a continuous process of nurturing their strengths, providing positive feedback on what they are doing well and how they can build on it, and trying to steer them towards taking a conceptual approach to their research while keeping in mind field realities.”

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