Incorporating generic skills in to a Graduate Certificate of Research to support research degree candidates -experiences and future directions
Barry, K and Woods, M and Nowak, B and Ahuja, K and Townsend, T and Baldock, C, Incorporating generic skills in to a Graduate Certificate of Research to support research degree candidates -experiences and future directions, 13th Quality in Postgraduate Research Conference: Impact, Engagement, and Doctoral Education, 17-19 April 2018, Adelaide, South Australia (2018) [Conference Extract]
The University of Tasmania introduced a compulsory Graduate Certificate of Research in 2011 for higher degree research candidates, driven by 2 of the 10 Bologna Process principles. These included the need for generic and transferable skilling and interdisciplinary training in order to increase global employment prospects and responsibility of conduct. The course comprises two core unit focussed on these generic skills and two electives designed to be more closely related to the individual project needs of the candidate. After more than 5 years of this program, a review of content and delivery is underway and the successes and challenges will be highlighted. Student evaluations of the core units averaged 65 to 82% agreement that students are satisfied with the learning and experiences the units provide, feel they meet their purpose, and are useful. Qualitative comments praised the information and skill development provided about reference management, writing literature reviews, poster presentations and journal publishing. Students also indicated, however that the units could be further improved by enhancing their relevance and alignment with stage of candidature. This included overcoming content bias towards STEM disciplines, eliminating overlap with training received in Honours degrees, and targeting content at learning needs arising around 3-4 months into candidature. Qualitative comments indicate stronger support and greater appreciation for the "value" of elective units offering tailored or specialised training, from both candidates and supervisors. Cumulative enrolments highlight a number of popular upskilling units in areas as diverse as statistics, public speaking, advanced analytical methodologies, writing, and individual learning projects. Future directions for the course will be discussed, based on recommendations from student evaluations, academic review of the course and development of a research framework. Content that has additional emphasis on industry engagement and impact will be presented as a work in progress. These changes take into account the recommendations of the ACOLA review of research training and changing graduate learning outcomes.
transferable skills, engagement, impact, research training