Developing as an Advisor

We offer a range of training opportunities for HDR Advisors. For more information please contact

Download the HDR Advisor Professional Development Program

See resources from our 2020 Advisor Development Program

Supporting our Supervisors

These optional workshops are intended to provide opportunities for HDR advisors to develop their practice within a community of peers. Off campus attendance is facilitated by a zoom link. An email invitation is issued to advisors via the Graduate Research School.

  • Each workshop includes a 30 minute presentation of case studies and resources followed by a 30 minute practical session.
  • Participants will leave each session with resources they can use when meeting with HDR candidates.
  • During sessions participants are encouraged to work with other advisors to share practices and build networks.
  • Topics will range from advice on use of resources and services, consideration of practices and introduction to new models of advising.
  • Invitations will be sent to all staff when sessions are available, currently only via Zoom.

For advisors looking to identify possible applicants, and support quality applicants through the admission processes. During the session we will clarify the requirements, and related procedures for MPhil and Doctoral applicants. We will also consider scholarship opportunities beyond the JCU Scholarship round.

When: Monday 15 March 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST (10:00am - 11:00am SGT) via Zoom

Register to attend here.

For advisors looking to support candidates through the milestone processes.  During the session we will clarify the written and presentation requirements, and related procedures.  The requirements for MPhil and Doctoral candidates will be considered, as well as strategies for ensuring candidates can meet requirements in a timely way.

When: Tuesday 30 March 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST (10:00am - 11:00am SGT) via Zoom

Register to attend here.

For advisors preparing to work with candidates who may need support in framing their research or research skills to ensure successful and timely completion.  Questions considered will include: How do you evaluate if progress is sufficient? How do you guide candidates struggling to realise their research expectations?

When: Wednesday 19 May 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST / 10:00am - 11:00am SGT via Zoom

Register to attend here.

For advisors looking to support candidates develop a structure and then write a thesis through candidature. During the session we will clarify the requirements for MPhil and Doctoral candidates. We will consider scoping the topic and challenges in critical writing and building a rigorous argument.

When: Thursday 17 June 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST / 10:00am - 11:00am SGT via Zoom

Register to attend here.

For advisors working with candidates undertaking practice-led research. We will consider the role of professional and/or artistic practice on the structure of the thesis, and strategies to support development of an exegetical component. The requirements for MPhil and PhD and appropriate scoping and planning to support timely completion will be considered.

When: Friday 13 August 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST / 10:00am - 11:00am SGT via Zoom

Register to attend here.

For advisors working to ensure papers are published during candidature. We will consider the JCU thesis requirements, authorship and selection of suitable journals. Share strategies to support candidates in meeting requirements for MPhil and PhD awards, while maintaining timely progress to completion.

When: Monday 16 August 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST / 10:00am - 11:00am SGT via Zoom

Register to attend here.

For advisors looking to build capacity and find strategies for supporting needs of disparate candidates. Access a tool kit to meet advisory needs of candidates while balancing advisory and other academic roles and responsibilities.

When: Tuesday 21 September 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST / 10:00am - 11:00am SGT via Zoom

Register to attend here.

For advisors whose research work involves links to industry. Discuss strategies for identifying partners, building rapport and realising agreements that meet the needs of all stakeholders. We consider how candidates can be supported while developing the resilience required to work across industry and the academy.

When: Wednesday 20 October 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST / 10:00am - 11:00am SGT via Zoom

Register to attend here.

Higher Degree by Research Advisor Organisation

This organisation in LearnJCU contains a range of resources and development opportunities. Modules support advisor registration requirements as detailed in Becoming an Advisor. Events and Resources are drawn from JCU Professional Development Events. Workshop materials are to support you in providing advisor events.

This course contains 9 modules with 8 quizzes and a range of portfolio activities to meet registration requirements.

Epigeum is a UK based publisher of online courses designed to transform the way in which universities and colleges support their core activities of research, teaching and learning.


  1. Introduction: the research higher degree context
  2. Attracting and selecting HDR applicants
  3. Approaching Supervision
  4. Setting your candidate on the right course
  5. Managing Progress
  6. Expectations and preparing for examination
  7. Issues in advising research candidates
  8. Continuing your advisory development
  9. Conclusion: Practise scenarios and full program resources

Written tasks and resources are available here for advisors wishing to elevate from Secondary to Primary; Primary to Primary Advanced and Advisor Mentor.

The material provided will support experienced advisors, approved by their College ADRE, to Chair HDR milestone committees.

Every 4 years advisors can confirm their continuing engagement with JCU's research education culture by completing a short quiz.

Here you will find information and resources about events to support advisor development

A series of materials to inform the individual advisor or to inform an HDR advisor workshop or seminar presentation.

If you have not previously accessed the organisation please email providing your JC number to be added.

  • Open the link to LearnJCU
  • Click on Organisation in the side menu bar

image of Blackboard side board menu.

  • Click on the Higher Degree by Research Advisors icon or title

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Respectful Relationships for HDR Advisors

We are currently running these workshops for HDR Advisors who belong to the College of Science and Engineering.

To register to attend a session please complete this online form.

Workshops for other colleges will be rolled out at a future date, to be confirmed.

Qualitative Research - Professor David Silverman

Professor David Silverman is Professor Emeritus in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths College, London, Visiting Professor in the Management Department at King's College, University of London and the Business School, University of Technology, Sydney as well as Adjunct Professor at QUT, Faculty of Education. He has authored 15 books and 45 journal articles on qualitative research, ethnography and conversation analysis. He has supervised over 30 successful PhD students, three of whom are now full Professors.

Professor David Silverman will be presenting this workshop on qualitative research.

Qualitative research is often regarded as the poor relation of quantitative research: less rigorous and less credible. For instance, in managing the Covid 19 epidemic, governments have largely turned to research which can be expressed in numbers.

To some extent this is understandable. We live in a world where numbers talk. On the other hand, qualitative researchers have not helped themselves by research frequently based on a few interviews with conclusions derived from telling examples rather than detailed analysis of whole datasets.

By contrast, David suggests that qualitative researchers are more likely to convince policymakers and practitioners when they employ rigorous data analysis to study behavior using naturalistic data. Rather than compete with quantitative researchers, this means our work can be complementary to them, studying phenomena unavailable to quantitative methods. David uses some examples from his own research on healthcare settings to illustrate his argument.

David concludes by drawing out some implications for PhD students and early career researchers. He will show how to avoid two dangerous orthodoxies about research and recommend, where possible, delaying consideration of practical relevance until the conclusion of a research project rather than beginning with a set of pre-defined policy aims.

When: Monday 20 September at 6:30pm to 8:00pm AEST / 4:30pm to 6:00pm SGT via Zoom

Register to attend here.

Thinkwell Workshops

Suitable for HDR Advisors, Academics, Researchers and ECRs

Maria Gardiner and Hugh Kearns have worked as an award winning team for the past fifteen years. They are well known as leading practitioners and researchers in cognitive behavioural coaching. As well as publishing ten books that have sold many thousands of copies, they are regular contributors to Australian media, including a popular segment on ABC radio.

Their particular expertise is in working with high performers and they have a long history of providing specialist services to the medical and academic professions.

For more information visit the Thinkwell website.

The 2021 program will be run in the weeks beginning Monday 19 July and Monday 22 November.

In person, you may have given presentations, possibly to a class or your peers, perhaps a confirmation seminar, a mid-candidature review, or maybe even a conference presentation. However, presenting on-line is a whole different consideration. How do you continue to present effectively, when most times, you cannot see or hear your audience. You still need to engage them and gain their participation. You need to communicate skilfully and with conviction as well as maintain their attention when they have a myriad of tempting distractions.

This workshop will cover:

  • Knowing your key message and making it relevant to your audience
  • Preparing materials specifically for an on-line environment
  • How to structure and link parts of your talk
  • How to engage your audience and keep their attention throughout your presentation
  • Using your webcam, what can your audience see
  • Knowing the other tools available and when to use them
  • Practice
  • Delivery
  • How to handle questions
  • Dealing with nervousness
  • Presenting yourself effectively

And it will be interactive and fun!

Who is it for: Anyone who has to present at a conference or give a seminar or a lecture on their area of expertise.

When: Monday 19 July 2021 at 1:30pm - 3:30pm AEST / 11:30am - 1:30pm SGT

Register here.

No matter how well you prepare for your presentation, the part that freaks out most researchers is question time.

  • What if there are no questions?
  • What if they ask really tricky questions that I can’t answer?
  • Worse, what if they ask really easy questions that I can’t answer?
  • What do I do if I don’t know the answer?
  • What do I do if I can’t understand the question?

Fortunately, you can prepare for question time. You can predict and get ready for most of the obvious questions. And you can learn strategies to deal with the others.

  • Topics will include:
  • Preparing for questions
  • Inviting questions
  • Dealing with tricky questions
  • What to do if you don’t know
  • Coping with the anxiety
  • Lists of typical questions
  • Asking questions

Who is it for: Researchers and research students who need to present their research and answer questions.

When: Tuesday 20 July 2021 at 11am - 12:30pm AEST / 9am - 10:30am SGT

Register here.

This on-line workshop provides advice and support for research supervisors who are now having to supervise more flexibly in response to changing circumstances. It will include strategies for:

  • Maintaining the relationship – meetings/virtual meetings (frequency, length, structure, tools)
  • Helping students with Plan B – dealing with interruptions to their research
  • Contingency planning as levels change
  • Responding to students’ concerns (personal, funding, time, access to data)
  • Supporting students at different stages (new, mid-candidature and finishing)
  • Mental health issues
  • Looking after yourself

The webinar will be interactive with participants given the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience

Who is it for: Any research supervisor who is supervising a research student in an on-line format.

When: Wednesday 21 July 2021 at 10:30am - 12:30pm AEST / 8:30am - 10:30am SGT

Register here.

Thirty years of the best research in psychology has shown that it is possible to change habits and behaviours that can get in the way of us achieving our full potential. It is possible to change the beliefs that underpin our behaviours and consequently our successes . Despite there being an incontrovertible evidence base for how to improve our thinking and therefore our behaviours, the skills required to do this are not readily available to those wanting to maximise their performance. And this is certainly not available to those who work in universities. This unique workshop will bring you the latest research and practice in cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC) and show you have to apply it to your everyday life.

This workshop is an excellent one to do if you have already attended other ThinkWell courses, although it will still be useful for those who are attending for the first time.

In this workshop you will:

  • Find out what CBC is
  • Understand the fundamental thinking errors that reduce our performance
  • Discover how  we can use CBC to improve our performance
  • Develop the skills you need to use it for yourself
  • Explore other things that CBC is good for – confidence, resilience, work/life balance, good mental health and more!

Who is it for: Suitable for researchers and research students.

When: Wednesday 21 July 2021 at 1:30pm - 4pm AEST / 11:30am - 2pm SGT

Register here.

Is there something about the PhD (and HDR) that increases the chances of mental health issues? Of course some PhD candidates bring mental health issues into their PhD with them but are the way we structure it (or don’t structure it) and support them (or don’t support them) also factors. It’s always easy to blame the victim but perhaps we’re doing things (often unwittingly) to make it worse?

Hugh Kearns works with thousands of research students all over the world. They often confide in him about the struggles and strains of the experience. They tell him things they would never tell their supervisor or anyone in authority at their university. And some themes do emerge.

In this session Hugh will describe some of these themes and then discuss how deans of graduate schools, researcher developers and support staff can assist in enabling mental health for research degree student.

Presented by Hugh Kearns from ThinkwellHugh has worked with thousands of academic all over the world for the past 25 years. He draws on this experience and his background in psychology to provide this practical workshop on how to stay well during your academic career.

Suitable for Deans, ADRE’s, HDR Advisors, Research Developers and Research Education Support staff.

When: Thursday 22 July 2021 at 2pm - 4pm AEST / 12pm - 2pm SGT

Register here.

Working in research is both an exciting and challenging experience. It can be an emotional roller-coaster. The excitement of working on something you care about, exploring new ideas and making a contribution to knowledge. The challenges of feeling isolated and overwhelmed, dealing with setbacks, uncertainty, conflict and loss of motivation. Inevitably over the course of your research career you will experience times when things aren’t going so well. This workshop draws on evidence-based strategies to help YOU stay well during your research career.

Topics will include:

  • Managing the workload
  • Resilience and finding a balance
  • Learning how to switch off
  • Dealing with worries about setbacks and progress
  • Good habits e.g. exercise, sleep, routines
  • Dealing with isolation, lack of structure and loss of motivation
  • Procrastination, perfectionism and over-committing
  • Disagreements with supervisors and other colleagues
  • Support for more serious mental health issues
  • Supporting friends/colleagues who may be struggling

Suitable for post-docs, early career researchers and mid-career researchers who want to explore ways to stay well during their research career.

When: Friday 23 July 2021 at 1:30pm - 3:30pm AEST / 11:30am - 1:30pm SGT

Register here.

Other Events

Please join us for an informal and interactive information session to learn more about Rhodes Scholarships, the world’s oldest and arguably most prestigious international scholarship program.

The Rhodes Trust funds over 100 scholars annually, providing opportunities for outstanding all-round students to study at the University of Oxford. Scholars are selected on the basis of their exceptional intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service.  Each year nine Australian Rhodes Scholars are chosen: one for each state, and another three from 'Australia-at-Large’. These Scholars join a worldwide community of Rhodes Scholars and a tradition in Australia that started in 1903.

Applications for the 2022 Queensland Rhodes Scholarship open on 1 July 2021 and close on 10 September 2021.

The Queensland Rhodes State Secretary and former Rhodes Scholar Professor Stan Hurn will host the information session with guess speaker Rhodes Network member Associate Professor Jan Strugnell,  JCU Marine & Aquaculture Sciences on 1 June 2021 and interested students are encouraged to register here.

When: Tuesday 1 June 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST (10:00am - 11:00am SGT)

Where: Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus – 25-001 and Zoom

Register here.

Meet three researchers presenting on their Higher Education Research. Each will present for 10 minutes on their current research work and focus.

Professor Liz Spencer

Head of Law,College of Business, Law & Governance

Topic - Progressing women’s participation in higher education

Liz holds the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Biology from Trinity College, Master of Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin, Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona and Ph.D. from Bond University.

Dr Ailie McDowall

Coordinator, Indigenous Education and Research Centre

Master of Philosophy (Indigenous) Program

Topic- Indigenous Higher Degree Research Support

Ailie is an education and Indigenous Studies academic. She is currently teaching undergraduate and postgraduate coursework, and coordinates the Indigenous Education and Research Centre’s Master of Philosophy (Indigenous) program.

Associate Professor Meryl Churchill

Cohort Doctoral Studies program, Division of Tropical Health & Medicine

Topic -The effect of a Cohort program on PhD student publishing and progress

Meryl has over twenty years of experience working as a teaching and research academic across different disciplines. She is currently based in the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine where she works for the Cohort Doctoral Studies Program. Her current research focuses on improving the postgraduate research student experience and outcomes.

After the three 10 minute presentations join a breakout group to meet one of the three researchers and share information and ideas.

Participants from other universities are encouraged and consider nominating to run a similar event at their university, so that the network can be sustained, with events held every two months over the year.

When: Thursday 10 June 2021 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST (10:00am - 11:00am SGT) via Zoom

Register here.