Skip to main content

Supervising skills for Assistant Supervisors and postdocs

Practical information

  • Audience: Postdocs and research staff at Queen's, especially those involved in supervising research students, with priority to Assistant Supervisors (they will be given priority registration; the course can accommodate big numbers though and we hope to be able to provide a place to all)
  • Date and time: 27 November 2023 (13:00 - 15:30)
  • Length: 2.5 h
  • Place: Online
  • Organised by: PDC (


Becoming a research supervisor for the first time can be a daunting experience. The research student expects you to know what you’re doing but you are learning the process yourself. The position of Assistant Supervisor allows you to learn about the role in a supported environment. This workshop will prepare you for the role and enable you to have a positive experience and supervision relationship with your students. While the main focus will be on supervising PhD students in the context of being an Assistant Supervisor, the main principles discussed will also be applicable to the supervision of Master and Undergraduate students.

Topics covered include:

  • Clarifying your role, expectations and dealing with role conflict
  • Giving constructive feedback
  • Managing meetings
  • A coaching approach to supervision
  • Helping the doctoral candidate plan their research
  • Motivating the candidate
  • How to deal with mental health issues
  • What to do if things go wrong

And other topics raised by participants.

Participants will be provided access to a specific toolkit and slides.

Programme Objectives

This workshop aims at:

  • providing knowledge, good practice and tips to navigate the supervision relationship
  • enabling you to feel more confident and prepared for your role
  • promoting a positive experience for you, the research student and other supervisor
  • help you understand what students want from a supervisor
  • help you approach supervision in a professional and efficient manner
  • give you the initial knowledge to build your supervision and managing skills from


Register here


Hugh Kearns

Hugh Kearns is recognised internationally as a public speaker, educator and researcher. He regularly lectures at universities across the world including at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Berkeley and Stanford. His areas of expertise include self-management, positive psychology, work-life balance, learning and creativity. He draws on over twenty five years of experience as a leading training and development professional within the corporate, financial, education and health sectors in Ireland, Scotland, North America, New Zealand and Australia. He has coached individuals, teams and executives in a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors and has written 12 books on these topics.

Hugh is passionate about supervision and delivers workshops on this topic to students and supervisors. He co-wrote the book "Supervising PhD Students: A practical guide and toolkit".


Rating (out of 5): 4.64

Recommended by: 100%

Number of feedback provided: 11

Quote: "Hugh's workshops are always thoughtful, insightful, helpful and interesting. He's an engaging presenter and gets people to work on developing their own strategies and approaches from multiple perspectives. This was a hugely helpful workshop." (Participant, December 2022)