Section 10: Appendix 2 - Checklist for Supervisors

Graduate Supervision Guidelines - Faculty Edition

To establish a collegial environment, I will:

Create a positive work and learning environment free from discrimination and harassment.

Provide advice on professional development and both academic and non-academic career opportunities.

Be available to my student as the first point of contact for conflict resolution or during moments of transition. 

I will undertake the following academic mentoring activities:

Assist the student in navigating their program of study and the University community.

Assist the student where needed about the requirements for their degree, policies of the University (such as the Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research and Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters) and School of Graduate Studies Intellectual Property Guidelines for Graduate Students & Supervisors as well as resources and referrals to campus services.

Advise and approve, if appropriate, all aspects of the student's academic program including courses, comprehensive/qualifying/field examinations, language, seminars, internship/practicum, thesis proposal requirements, etc.

Help the student formulate an appropriate research project. Discuss the required knowledge and skills to undertake the desired research program, the expected time to completion as well as the level of independence that is expected.

Meet regularly to provide constructive input into the student's research project and provide an assessment of the student's progress.

Discuss issues of authorship and intellectual property early in the student's program referring to the School of Graduate Studies' Intellectual Property Guidelines for Graduate Students and Supervisors at U of T and the SGS Intellectual Property Awareness Form.

I have discussed funding issues with my graduate student, including:

Level and duration of research-related funding that will be provided to the student including support for conferences and travel for research. Assist with review of grant applications, as appropriate.

Availability of research and study space as well as the protocol for requesting additional resources or equipment.

I have discussed academic program issues with my graduate student, including:

How and when the supervisory committee will be formed, the role of the supervisory committee as well as my role as supervisor in selecting appropriate and eligible members.

Ensuring that the supervisory committee meets a minimum of once per year to assess the progress of the graduate student.

Frequency, length, and format of individual and/or group meetings including the preferred method of communication and timelines for feedback.

Roles and responsibilities of others involved in the student's research program (e.g., postdoctoral fellows, lab managers, fellow students, etc.) and lab etiquette.

Expectations for student work hours and vacation.

Any extended absences (i.e., sabbatical, research leave, conference travel, etc.) for myself or others critically involved in the student's research and a plan for continuity of supervision.

Advising and approving, if appropriate, all aspects of the student's academic program including courses, comprehensive/qualifying/field examinations, language, seminars, internship/practicum, thesis proposal requirements, etc.

How an external appraiser will be selected for the student's Final Oral Examination.


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Section 1: Introduction

Key topics: How can these guidelines help you?


Section 2: Supervision and Mentoring

Key topics: Defining key terms; General characteristics of good supervisory practice; Effective supervision and mentorship strategies


Section 3: Supervisory Styles

Key topics:  How do supervisory styles differ across grad units and disciplines? What characteristics do students of all disciplines value in a supervisor?


Section 4: Effective Supervision in Practice: From the Initial Stage to Finishing Up

Key topics: Agreeing to Supervise a Student; Setting up a Committee; Program Timelines, Good Progress, and Academic Standing; Funding; and Submitting the thesis for the Final Oral Examination


Section 5: Supporting Students to Completion and Beyond

Key topics: Guiding principles that may help your student through the final stages of their PhD; Graduate Professional Development and career preparation


Section 6: Creating Equality and Equity When Working with Students

Key topics: Defining "equality" and "equity"; How experiences of grad school differ among students; Considering students' backgrounds (e.g. students with family responsibilities, First Nations students, international students, students with mental health issues, students with writing support needs, etc.)


Section 7: When a Student May Need Accommodations

Key topics: Accommodations vs. time-limited academic adjustments; Defining "accommodations"; Disclosure and Confidentiality; Available resources


Section 8: When Problems Arise

Key topics: Identifying potential sources of problems in the student/supervisor relationship; Who can you talk to?; Vignettes


Section 9: Appendix 1 - Resources