Elements of Supervision
Thesis Advisory Committees (TAC)
Each IMPRS doctoral student is supervised by a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) composed of 1-2 supervisor(s) and two additional advisors. TAC members are mainly IMPRS faculty members, but may also include one external TAC member. The doctoral student and supervisor decide jointly on the advisors. The TAC is to meet at least once a year.
There is a minimum of three TAC meetings for each student. Should the doctoral student need more than three years to complete the PhD, the TAC and doctoral student shall consider holding additional TAC meetings. To structure the TAC meetings, IMPRS CoNI provides a feedback form for each meeting, including a brief guideline on how to conduct the meeting. Students and members of each TAC are asked to follow the form and the guidelines accordingly.
The TAC acts independently of the doctoral examination committee that will be appointed by the respective Universities. To ensure that doctoral students of IMPRS CoNI meet the requirements of their doctoral projects, the requiements of their supervisors, and receive continuous support and advice from their TAC, doctoral students at IMPRS CoNI are asked to sign a supervision agreement with their TAC.
Professional Development of Supervisors and Measures to Ensure High Quality of Supervision
In order to create a positive and excellent supervision culture, IMPRS CoNI offers professional development of supervisors and mentoring opportunities, especially for ECR faculty members.
Firstly, each ECR faculty member is assigned to a mentor who offers general supervision support and is approachable for consultation in challenging supervision situations. Secondly, IMPRS will offer a monthly supervisors’ lunch. During such lunches a typical challenging supervision situation will be addressed and discussed among peers.
In addition, IMPRS CoNI defines standards for supervision quality and communicates this to all members of the TACs (in line with the supervision agreement). Compliance with those standards is monitored through multilevel measurements (surveys completed by students, independent TAC supervisors, and the Coordinator). In the context of a Board meeting, supervision performance of each faculty member will be discussed annually. In case of problems, appropriate measures will be taken including consultations, mentoring, and training. If the issue cannot be resolved, it may also lead to revoking the faculty membership.