Response to the NSW Ombudsman ‘Complaints about the supervision of postgraduate students’ discussion paper

Attachment – CAPA response to NSW Ombudsman paper

Overview –

CAPA commends the NSW Ombudsman for investigating the issue of postgraduate supervision complaints, and, in particular, providing practical suggestions for universities to refine their policies and practices so as to better address conflicts. CAPA strongly agrees with all measures set out by the NSW Ombudsman to avoid and resolve postgraduate–supervisor conflicts. We suggest making several additions to the proposed framework, however. In our response, we make the following recommendations:

Recommendation One: Encourage universities to ensure that student associations are adequately resourced to provide independent and culturally appropriate advocacy services.

Recommendation Two: Direct universities to provide students with information about the advocacy services they can access.

Recommendation Three: Incorporate into the framework a strategy pertaining to sexual harassment and assault in supervision relationships. This strategy should address training for supervisors, provision of relevant information to students, reporting mechanisms, and clear pathways for changing supervisors as needed.