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Principal Supervisor Accreditation Program

Principal Supervisor Accreditation Program

Under ECU policy, academics can only become a Principal Supervisor on a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) panel after they have had a successful completion as an associate supervisor.  However there is now a new pathway to principal supervision.

Supervisors who successfully participate in the year-long Principal Supervisor Accreditation Program (PSAP), hold appropriate qualifications, and are research active, can then be accredited as a Principal Supervisor at ECU.

The supervisors attend workshops and work individually with a senior mentor.  They also create a reflective portfolio, share supervision tools and give a presentation on supervision to the wider university.

PSAP Keynotes – the first hour of the workshops is open to the wider ECU supervisor community, and includes invited Keynote Speakers.

Who exactly is eligible?

Participants need to:

  • Be currently on a supervision panel as an associate supervisor
  • Be ‘research active’ under ECU policy
  • Hold a PhD or equivalent
  • Be nominated by their School Associate Dean of Research

What exactly does it involve?

Participants will need support from their School to complete this program, as it involves a considerable commitment.  They are asked to:

  • Attend workshops - 8 x 3.5 hour sessions over the year
  • Find and meet regularly with a senior supervision mentor
  • Create an assessed Portfolio of reflections on course material, literature, and mentor meetings
  • Give a short, open presentation on supervision issues in Semester Two
  • Develop a supervision tool for colleagues

Has it been helpful to others?

Participants in previous iterations of PSAP comment very positively on:

  • their increased confidence as a supervisor,
  • being exposed to expert supervisors, mentoring and best practice,
  • their greater awareness of ECU processes, resources and wider literature, and
  • the opportunities for networking and community building.

The workshops included panels of experienced supervisors, hypotheticals, and talks by 30 presenters over the year.  Topics include supporting students at all stages of candidature; ethics and research integrity; dealing with challenges; publication and co-authorship; student and disciplinary diversity, thesis examination processes, and planning for life after the thesis.  The emphasis is on reflective, resilient, and adaptive supervision.

Since 2017 Bond University has also run a version of our program and also reports very positive responses from their newly accredited Principals.

How to join PSAP

If you are interested in PSAP, please talk to your Associate Dean Research and ask to be nominated for the following year’s program.

For more information please contact Marziya Mohammedali on

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