Graduate Research School HDR Advisors Developing as an Advisor Developing as an Advisor - Resources from 2020

Developing as an Advisor - Resources from 2020

Supporting our Supervisors Program 2020

These optional workshops are intended to provide opportunities for HDR advisors to develop their practice within a community of peers. Attendance is possible face to face in Townsville, Cairns and Singapore. 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.

Come and celebrate JCU’s latest Advisor of the Year. Join us to hear from Professor Schwarzkopf, JCU’s 2020 Advisor of the Year. Lin has generously spoken at a range of panels and events over the years to support new and up and coming advisors. Today we invite her to focus on her advisory approach and her views of being an advisor at JCU.

Lin’s research examines broad ecological and evolutionary questions, including applied problems. She takes an integrative approach, using a combination of controlled experiments and observational studies to test hypotheses. Much of her research has used reptiles and amphibians as model systems, but she is broadly interested in a variety of groups.

Come and hear about how to support your candidates to maintain health and well-being. Share some ideas, understand how to access availability services, consider strategies and learn from those in the community.

Session Recording

PowerPoint Presentation

At this session, hear about the challenges and opportunities involved in making supervisory changes during candidature.  What might it mean for the trajectory of the candidature? What are the workload and funding implications of supervision across colleges? What are the approval processes and policy limitations?


Facilitator: Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Associate Dean Research Education, College of Medicine & Dentistry

  • Dr Karen Yates, Associate Dean Research Education, College of Healthcare Sciences
  • Dr Ruth Barker, College of Healthcare Sciences
  • Damian Palmer, Graduate Research School

View the video recording here

Useful Resources:

How to apply – including admission eligibility criteria, application form and much more for HDR candidates.

Scholarship information – scoring procedure, application process and much more for HDR candidates

Becoming an Advisor – Registration procedure and professional development requirements for current and potential HDR Advisors

In this session we will hear from some advisors and candidates working to develop contingency plans.  We will hear about some issues that have arisen and some possible ways forward.  The first part of the hour will involve hearing some advisor / candidate case studies.  We will then move into breakout groups so you can discuss issues with other advisors and candidates. The session will conclude with sharing what breakout groups have learned. Ideas and resources identified and shared with all attendees.

No recording available for this session.

Share strategies with other advisors and learn about how best to support candidates and each other during COVID-19.  Consider with others how to account for personal and infrastructure matters as we seek to enable research progress? Key Research Services Partners including the Library, Careers and Employment and eResearch Services are invited to join us to talk through issues that may need additional expertise, or to explain alternative approaches or options that we may all learn from.

No recording available for this session.

Please join us to share what you have learnt about supervising research projects under the constraints of COVID19.  We look forward to seeing what we can learn from each other to keep our researchers supported and progressing satisfactorily.  In the spirit of the times this session will be running exclusively via zoom.  We will be breaking up into zoom rooms so you can have discussions across a smaller group and then we will come back together to share ideas.

No recording available for this session.

Presented by: Associate Professor Andreas Lopata, Professor, Personal Chair, Division of Tropical Health & Medicine

Andreas will introduce his experience as an HDR Advisor of supporting student grant writing before we open discussion to allow all present to share their experiences.

Questions we might consider include:

  • What are some grants suitable for students?
  • What is the best time in candidature to encourage students to write grants?
  • What are some of the common challenges faced by students writing grants?
  • What are some of the success stories based on students getting grants?

Useful resources:

This event is hosted by Dr Melissa Crowe (Head of DTHM Cohort) and Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren (CMD)

No recording available for this session.

Supporting satisfactory progress – Strategies for candidates behind on milestones

Meet the (research) supervisor’s friend - No-one is alone

Dr Geof Hill, host of the (research) supervisor’s friend blog, joined SOS to discuss collaborative advisor models and consider the role they can play in supporting our supervisors. To stimulate discussion Geof created a post on the blog on this topic.

Giving feedback on written work

Participants in this session shared their experiences and challenges in supporting candidates’ writing skills development.

Some key points raised:

  • Provide and discuss feedback on writing that the candidate can reflect on later
  • Balance positive feedback with honest constructive criticisms
  • Agree on a timeline for providing feedback and getting revised drafts
  • Use peer groups to provide initial editing and review of written work, provide a chance for students to set standards for the quality of work submitted to you
  • When giving critical feedback consider raising it in person rather than in writing
  • Keep track of feedback with the student so you can follow up on how they have responded
  • Ask the candidate to comment on areas of concerns – check they understand the feedback offered
  • Plan or priorities to resolve writing style issues
  • Provide a detailed annotation for one paragraph or section to highlight key writing concerns, the candidate can then review and revise the whole draft
  • Use track changes to compare what has been asked for and what has been done, and discuss if changes are too superficial
  • Be alert for writing issues that speak to other concerns   (e.g. conceptual weakness, lack of academic argument, English language)
  • Suggest workshops or online resources and resources that the student should access to address identified areas of concerns (e.g., GRS workshops, iThenticate, Library Guides etc.)
Additional Resources:
  • UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Supervisor Feedback Process
  • Cadman, Kate and Cargill, Margaret. Providing Quality Advice on Candidates' Writing [online]. In: Denholm, Carey (Editor); Evans, Terry (Editor). Supervising Doctorates Downunder: Keys to Effective Supervision in Australia and New Zealand. Camberwell, Vic.: ACER Press, 2007: 182-191. Availability:  ISBN: 9780864314307. [cited 17 Dec 19]. PDF (Written Feedback Cargill)

Supervisory practices of an Award Winner

Professor David Bellwood spoke about how the Bellwood lab supports student success.

Some key points raised:

  • Select students who are capable, with similar working styles and a passion for their topic.  He uses others in the lab to select the right new students.
  • Help the student frame a topic that makes use of their skills
  • The supervisory relationship involves acknowledging the whole person
  • Select co-supervisors you can work with and who can complement your supervisory style
  • Use students to support each other and encourage each other, collaborative and cooperative, their future networks
  • Be truthful, state expectations and be honest if they are not adequately met
  • Teach students to network, send them to conferences
  • Require students to publish and aim for high quality publications and be ready to celebrate failure as well as success
  • Take pleasure in the research and network to build opportunities
  • Supervision ends when the graduate has a job, the networking never ends
Additional Resources:

The Bellwood lab website

Art of Advising 2020 Program

Join us to hear from one senior academics with rich experience of Interdisciplinary Research Supervision. Professor Sean Ulm, is Associate Dean, Research Education and Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts, Society & Education and is affiliated with The Language and Culture Research Centre and the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at JCU.

Professor Sean Ulm, research focuses on persistent problems in the archaeology of northern Australia and the western Pacific where understanding the relationships between environmental change and cultural change using advanced studies of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sequences are central to constructions of the human past. His priority has been to develop new tools to investigate and articulate co-variability and co-development of human and natural systems.


Hear about how to work with industry and build a cohort of candidates. Learn to how your cohort can work to optimise the research education experience and grow a health and sustainable research culture and community.


Hear from our expert panel on the JCU Scholarship Round process and the role it plays in attracting and recruiting quality applicants and candidates.  Consider strategies for supporting and guiding your HDR applicants as they prepare to apply in the round.

Scholarship Round Closing Date is 30 September 2020

Key links for applicants:

Key links regarding Scholarships

Professor Mohan Jacob's PowerPoint slides on scholarship scoring

View the recording here:

Presenter: Professor Cate Nagel, Chair University Human Ethics Committee

Find out more about how to support your candidates through the Ethics Application process.


Slides: download here.

Some follow up advice further to questions raised during the presentation, captured on the video:

  1. Can advisor panel members be included in Ethics advice sent to HDR candidates?
    Yes, some time it has been normal practice to copy in the supervisor where the student is a PI, and the Ethics advisor.
  2. Should exempt ethics projects be reported?
    We are benchmarking with other universities to assess how “non-research” projects are handled and will develop and communicate our related processes.
  3. Can more templates be provided to help ethics applicants prepare protocols?
    The HREC cannot provide protocols, this is more the domain of researchers. However we will develop some resources to address HREC considerations where children are participants.

Presented by Dr Melissa Crowe, Head DTHM Cohort Doctoral Studies Program and Libby Evans-Illidge, Research Director, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

Meet Melissa and Libby, who run large Higher Degree Research cohort programs at JCU.  Hear about their different cohort models and how they contribute to the success of the candidates, their research education and studies.  Take the unique opportunity to consider if your students’ participation might benefit from being part of a cohort or what cohort practices may inform your advisory approach.


Presented by Professor Steinemann who shares her strategies and tips, gained from over two decades of supervision, for advising and completing PhD students (on time).

Topics include: PhD student selection, establishing expectations, setting clear tasks and schedules, publishing journal articles, staying on track, getting back on track, and motivating students in the process.


Qualitative Methods - 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. He has authored 15 books and more than 50 journal articles on qualitative research, ethnography and conversation analysis.

The recordings for the lecture and masterclasses can be found in the Higher Degree by Research Advisor Organisation in LearnJCU.

Header: Advisor Professional Development Events, Resources and Communities

Folder: Professor Silverman Qualitative Research

Please contact if you are not enrolled in this organisation.

Documents and digital data are social constructions. How to avoid treating them as ‘secondary data’. Tracing the narratives they construct. Qualitative researchers too often try to do the same as quantitative research but with smaller samples. This interactive master-class offers early career researchers guidance on how to use the latest constructionist approaches which treat our data as instances of complex behaviours and hence complementary to quantitative research.

Whatever research method you use, it is tempting to seek out more material using multiple methods of data collection. Indeed, mixed methods are commonly used in student research. Students often feel more confident about the quality of their research when they combine multiple sources of data. Sometimes supervisors push them in that direction because journals tend to favour mixed methods papers. Unfortunately, using multiple datasets, assembled through different methods, can encourage laziness: as soon as you have a problem analysing one dataset, you tend to switch to another (thereby resolving nothing). Using mixed methods can also involve you in intractable problems about where the ‘truth’ lies. Is there a unitary phenomenon ‘out there’ which you need to study? Using student examples, in this masterclass, Professor Silverman suggests some practical solutions to these issues and shows that how we combine different datasets depends upon which research model we favour.

‘Writing up’ should never be something left to the end of your research. Instead, writing should be a continuous process, with you learning as you go from your supervisor, your peers and your own mistakes. I examine how this writing up can be accomplished efficiently if rarely painlessly. The Masterclass will include:

  • Practical suggestions about when to write a literature review and what it should contain.
  • How to avoid dull methodology chapters. Keeping a research diary.
  • How to write data chapters. What to include and what to omit.
  • Concluding chapters that are not summaries but which stretch the imagination.

Whatever research method you use, it is tempting to seek out more material using multiple methods of data collection. Indeed, mixed methods are commonly used in student research. Students often feel more confident about the quality of their research when they combine multiple sources of data. Sometimes supervisors push them in that direction because journals tend to favour mixed methods papers. Unfortunately, using multiple datasets, assembled through different methods, can encourage laziness: as soon as you have a problem analysing one dataset, you tend to switch to another (thereby resolving nothing). Using mixed methods can also involve you in intractable problems about where the ‘truth’ lies. Is there a unitary phenomenon ‘out there’ which you need to study? Using student examples, in this talk, I suggest some practical solutions to these issues. I show that how we combine different datasets depends upon which research model we favour.

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 their website.

Maria Gardiner presented the workshops below via Zoom in November 2020.

Would you like to know the secret to high output, high quality, scholarly writing? In academia, because writing is such a big part of what you do, it is often assumed that it comes naturally. However, for most academics, it can be a hit and miss activity, with some days (weeks or even months!) being hard to get started. And when you do get started you might sit there for hours and not produce many words. Finally, when the words are on the page, you may wonder why you bothered since what you have written isn’t very good.

This workshop draws on the overwhelming body of research (and experience with thousands of writers). This research shows that there are very clear and practical evidence-based strategies that can greatly increase your writing quality and quantity. Key aspects of this workshop have featured in the journal Nature.

This workshop will help you to understand:

  • why it can be hard to get started
  • how we deliberately use distractions to slow down writing
  • the principles of quick starting
  • why snack writing is generally more productive than binge writing
  • how to deal with the internal committee that slows down writing
  • how to set achievable goals by writing in a silo
  • how to greatly double (or more) the number of actual words you produce
  • how to clarify your thinking and improve the quality of your work

Who is it for: Researchers and research students

As a researcher you probably know you should plan your research career and you probably do have some ideas of what you would like to achieve in the future. But you probably haven’t taken some dedicated time to work out what you should either 1) be achieving or 2) would like to be achieving.

This workshop will give the thinking time and tools to put together a realistic and achievable plan for your research career over the next 3-5 years. We will work backwards to where you are currently and also help you to set goals for shorter term achievements. Given the current circumstances, the workshop will also be tailored towards getting back on track and research planning in an uncertain world.

This workshop will cover

  • Backwards planning over the next 3-5 years
  • Planning forwards
  • Low hanging fruit
  • Track record
  • The new funding paradigm
  • Research impact
  • Collaborations

Who is it for: Researchers

Do you know the single most important thing that determines the quality of a piece of academic writing? You might think it is the idea that you have. Or perhaps it is the literature on which you base your research question. Maybe it is the theory you choose. While all these things are important, none of them is as important as the narrative that you construct in your writing. The single most common reason given for rejection of grant applications and submissions to journals is lack of clarity in the narrative.

This workshop will show you why narrative is so important and how to construct a narrative for a grant application. There will be demonstrations of creating a narrative and opportunity to practice creating your own narrative for either a part of your work or your whole work.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • why narrative is so important
  • where you will find the narrative
  • the power of the 10 year old, and if that doesn’t work, the border collie
  • how language gets in the way of narrative (initially)
  • how to recognise narrative in others work
  • how to write the narrative of your own piece of work

All participants are asked to bring along an idea for a grant, ideally with a 100-200 summary, but please still come if you don’t have this (you will by the end of the workshop!)

Who is it for: Researchers and Academics

As a busy academic do you feel like you never have enough time to get to your research, particularly the writing part? And that other things like students, administration, committees, emails, project management, etc. demand all your time?

This workshop shows you how to guarantee you spend high quality time on your research outputs. It covers prioritising, goal setting and managing competing demands in a university context. If you want to increase your research output without compromising your work/life balance, then this workshop is for you. Key aspects of this workshop have featured in the journal Nature.

This workshop will show you how to:

  • take control of your time
  • prioritise
  • stop procrastinating and stay motivated
  • avoid distractions
  • say NO (and understand why it is so hard to do so)
  • balance competing demands
  • manage email and paperwork
  • work the slightly less hard way
  • think more realistically about your research productivity

Who is it for: Academic/research staff wishing to increase their research output

It's tempting to think that if you are clever and work hard then people will notice and shower you with rewards. Tempting, but probably not true. As well as being clever and working hard you also need to be able to promote yourself.

In this workshop you will learn strategies for: putting yourself out there, asking for what you want, taking responsibility – not waiting for it to happen, developing your one minute pitch and presenting yourself effectively for promotions, grants, and awards.

This workshop will look at:

  • asking for what you want
  • why waiting isn’t enough
  • why it is hard to self-promote (and why you need to)
  • using convincing language
  • developing a convincing pitch
  • social media – should you bother?
  • media and other methods to communicate
  • why publication is just the beginning – 20 things to consider doing with your paper once it has been published

Who is it for: Academics, researchers and HDR students. Most suitable for academics/researchers, but HDR students will still find it useful.

It is sometimes called the curse of the high performer. How can it be that so many clever, competent and capable people can feel that they are just one step away from being exposed as a complete fraud? Despite evidence that they are performing well they can still have that lurking fear that at any moment someone is going to tap them on the shoulder and say "We need to have a chat". Academia is full of high performers and even more full of situations that might make you feel like a fraud (ever heard of reviewer 2?!).

The session will explain why high performing people often doubt their abilities and find it hard to enjoy their successes.

At the end of this session you will:

  • know what the latest psychological research tells us about the imposter syndrome is and how it operates
  • realise how widespread imposter feelings are and why highly successful people can feel like frauds
  • understand what situations provoke feelings of being an imposter
  • be aware of evidence-based strategies that reduce imposter feelings

Who is it for: Academics, researchers and HDR candidates

Hugh Kearns presented the workshops below via Zoom in July 2020.

Academics and researchers are constantly being told to increase their research outputs if they want to get promoted, funded or even keep their jobs! But it becomes a catch 22 when you can’t do much research because you have no money, but no one will give you money because you haven’t done enough research. Despite this situation there are ways to build a research track record that require less money and can give you the start you need to build a decent track record (or even just to keep your head above water!).

In this workshop you will learn how to create research outputs that don’t cost much money including:

  • Finding small pots of money and PUBLISHING
  • Working with research higher degree and other students and PUBLISHING
  • Working with others and PUBLISHING
  • Creating 2 for 1 deals and PUBLISHING

Suitable for Academics, researchers and early career researchers

So you're a researcher. Chances are then that you are pretty busy. Firstly there's your research. Writing proposals. Getting ethics approval. Dealing with the paperwork. Meetings. Applying for grants. Getting grants and then managing the money and the people. Writing reports. And that's all before you even get to the actual research. Then there's papers to write, rejection letters to deal with and conferences to attend.

And for most people research is just one of the things you do. You might teach or tutor, run demonstrations, or manage a unit or even have another completely different job.

And that's just work. No matter how much you enjoy your research it's a fair bet that there are other parts to your life too. For example you probably have a family or friends, you may have social commitments and you may even have some personal interests.

This workshop will describe the most useful strategies that thousands of researchers have found helpful in balancing the many demands on their time.

  • how to be effective with your time
  • specific strategies for coping with email overload
  • picking the right things to work on
  • dealing with distractions and interruptions
  • how to say NO gracefully
  • setting boundaries
  • looking after me

Suitable for anyone who is juggling research with many other demands.

Mapping your ideas is a creative way to organise your thinking. There are a range of tools such as concept maps, mind maps or idea maps.

These mapping techniques are used all over the world by students, teachers, researchers and in business as a way of improving learning and increasing creativity. They can be used to: organise the content and ideas in your thesis, structure a paper or report you need to write, prepare your lecture or presentation, or record brainstorming sessions. They are effective, easy to use and most of all FUN. In this workshop you will learn by doing. You will see how a idea map is created and then create your own using your own topic.

The workshop will include opportunities for you to use idea mapping with your own project. So bring along your ideas (and some coloured pencils)!

This is a learning by doing workshop. You will get to try out different approaches, see what others do and get guidance and suggestions on how you can get the most out of idea maps. In the workshop you will:

  • Find out about the different types of maps (concept, mind, idea)
  • Learn guidelines you can apply in developing maps
  • See examples of idea maps
  • Use maps to boost creativity
  • Find out about further resources

Suitable for anyone who wants hands-on experience of using idea maps.

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.

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!

Suitable for researchers and research students.

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.