University of Embu, December 13, 2016 - The Board of Postgraduate Studies held a workshop on Postgraduate Supervision for academic staff and external postgraduate supervisors at the University’s Multipurpose Hall. The theme of the workshop was; Effective supervision, Objective examination and Mentorship of postgraduate students.
The workshop was facilitated by Prof. Chris Shisanya, a Professor at the Department of Geography, Kenyatta University. It was attended by a number of University of Embu management staff including the acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Daniel Mugendi and acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academics, Research and Extension (ARE), Prof. Kiplagat Kotut and acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Planning, Administration and Finance (PAF), Prof. Eucharia Kenya.
Giving his introductory remarks, Prof. Mugendi said, “Postgraduate research is important in a university because most of university research is done by postgraduate students worldwide. Postgraduate research output therefore, contributes to global ranking of universities. Our ranking will only improve when we improve the quality of our postgraduate students and subsequent research output.” He indicated that the current concern for the University of Embu is to improve the quality of postgraduate studies. In an effort to break the vicious cycle of poor supervision, the University has put in place a series of intervention measures, including this workshop, as a step in the right direction towards producing high quality postgraduatestudents.
Prof. Shisanya discussed the theme of the workshop in detail. In his presentation, he highlighted that the relationship between a graduate student and an academic supervisor is critical to the shaping of successful career trajectories of both the student and the supervisor.He emphasized that both mentoring and supervision have a role in academics in relation to postgraduate learning. Mentoring focuses on personal growth; while supervision focuses on the execution of organizationally determined education goals. The joint aim of postgraduate research supervision and mentoring is to enhance, monitor and evaluate the student’s learning experience.
It was noted with utmost importance that the practice of postgraduate supervision requires a high quality research and learning environment for both the graduate student and supervisor. The education of a graduate student is greatly affected by nature of the supervision and the quality of communication between the graduate student and the supervisor. The role of the supervisor therefore is to provide a high quality research and learning environment for the graduate student. Through mentoring and advising, the supervisor should develop a professional interpersonal relationship with the graduate student. This environment should be conducive to scholarly activities, intellectual enhancement and promote the student’s professional career.
The workshop concluded with an interactive Q&A session between the facilitator and the participants.It was clear that the workshop was a success as majority of the participants left more knowledgeable and ready to apply what they had learnt. The way forward for the university is to continue taking up such intervention measures to improve the quality of academic research produced by postgraduate students as well as the supervisors, for future best practices. Many other workshops on topical issues are planned for in the near future.