FGS enhances graduate supervision experience with support hub

Three women sitting and talking

York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) is celebrating 60 years of knowledge creation and marking the milestone by creating a Graduate Supervision Support Hub (GSSHub) – a place where supervisors, committee members and students can gather to collaborate and build mutually beneficial relationships drawing on graduate supervisory pedagogy and capacity-building principles that acknowledge the pivotal role of effective supervision.

York University Faculty of Graduate Studies 60th anniversary banner

Established with the help of a three-year grant from York’s Academic Innovation Fund, the GSSHub will be rooted in principles of dignity, mutuality and effective supervisory practices. It will aim to enhance the graduate supervision process with effective practices, capacity building, a centralized platform for support and guidance, and a toolkit of resources to help foster a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement in supervision methods.

“Graduate education stands as a cornerstone in the academic landscape and the quality of the graduate supervisory experience plays a pivotal role in shaping the academic and professional trajectories of students,” said Tracy Bhoola, program manager of the GSSHub. “The dynamics of this relationship profoundly impact the quality of research, the development of professional skills and the overall academic experience.”

The approach of this new hub, explained Bhoola, acknowledges that good supervision is not innate, nor solely about overseeing research projects, but is a relationship that requires mentorship, guidance, ethics, mutual respect, collaborative goal setting and skill development.

At the core of the envisioned GSSHub is the promotion of supervisory relationships enveloped in mutuality. “Acknowledging the diverse needs and expectations of supervisors and students, we want to keep relationships at the centre, with an ethos of dignity folded into every aspect and an explicit regard for the inherent value of both the supervisor and the student,” said Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, FGS associate dean, academic. “By fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, the GSSHub will aim to enhance the overall graduate supervisory experience for everyone involved.”

To ensure the pan-university GSSHub aligns with the diverse needs of the academic community, FGS is extending a call to ­­graduate students and faculty members­ to actively engage in the development process by providing input and guidance.

“By participating in consultations and sharing invaluable experiences and insights,” said Wesley Moir, FGS associate director of graduate academic affairs, “the community can help shape the development, initiatives and effectiveness of the proposed GSSHub, which will empower supervisors and students to thrive in their academic pursuits, making it a true reflection of the collective vision for effective supervision support.”

In Winter 2024, FGS will share a survey for graduate supervisors, seeking input on the supports and services that the GSSHub should provide. For now, the Faculty is gathering names of those who want to be involved and planning one-on-one consultations. To contribute, contact Bhoola, GSSHub program manager, at tbhoola@yorku.ca.