The HDR survey
We had a tremendous response to our 2017 HDR survey with over 660 postgraduates taking the time to record their experiences. We included plenty of opportunity for open comments to allow postgraduates to tell us their personal stories, and this resulted in over sixty pages of comments in addition to the quantitative data. As researchers, you all know how time consuming it is working through qualitative data, but it is also very illuminating! So here is what we have in plan for the data:
• A brief high-level summary of the quantitative data has been produced and circulated to senior management. You can find this report on our Reports & Submissions page
• A series of three seminars on mental health for HDRs will be run in November 2017, in response to your requests for these sessions.
• A report for each faculty, with faculty-specific data and a comments section will be produced. Any comments that describe specific circumstances which could identify an individual will be replaced with a comment summarising the generic issue raised.
• A report will be provided for the Malaysia campus, with campus-specific data and a comments section. Any comments that describe specific circumstances which could identify an individual will be replaced with a comment summarising the generic issue raised.
• A full report of the university-wide data will be produced, which will include quantitative data, summaries of the open comments sections, faculty comparisons and suggestions for addressing the issues raised.
The MPA will address as many issues and requests as possible, via a number of different avenues: directly providing what you have asked for (eg specific seminars); working with the faculties to address faculty-related issues (eg creating postgrad lounge spaces); working with our reps on GRC to address university-wide issues (eg policy changes); continuing to lobby on the issues you have raised (eg making professional development training voluntary).
Creating a family-friendly university
The MPA has put together a collection of all the requests made by postgraduates with partners and/or children over the last five years. We will be working with the university to follow up on this eclectic collection of issues, ranging from building an occasional child-care centre on campus to prioritising tutorial times for parents who have to pick-up children from school.
Read the full report here
HDR professional development training
A group of postgraduates have raised concerns regarding the compulsory 120 hours professional development training required as part of some PhDs. We have already made some progress on this issue but are continuing to work with the university to ensure that outstanding concerns about access, relevance, time commitment and quality are addressed. We are doing this via a second submission to GRC. If you would like to provide feedback or request for more information regarding this matter, please contact Peter Hurley
Records for exam arrival and departure times
We have had a few cases where students have been automatically penalised because they accessed their Moodle after leaving their exams, (before the official end time of the exam), leading the system to mistakenly believe that they had accessed their Moodle while they were in their exams! Apparently some faculties actually check Moodle access for their exam student cohorts – who would have guessed?
We wrote to the university examinations section to discuss with them a way to rectify this problem by recording student exam arrival and departure times. The examinations unit responded and the matter will now be tabled at the Teaching and Learning Committee.
Requesting preference for parents when allocating tutorial times
Parents from the Faculty of Education raised this issue with us some time ago, and although we hit a dead-end with our lobbying last year, we’ve decided to give it another shot! We would like to see faculties giving parents a preference when allocating tutorial times to students. This would avoid parents from being allocated tutorial times that clash with child drop-off and pick-up times, effectively preventing them from participating in their tutorials.
We’ve all read the about the university winning all those family-friendly awards - let’s see how family-friendly we can coax the university into actually being at a grass-roots level, where it really counts.
Monash postgrads are represented by the association’s Executive Committee. Each year up to fifteen postgraduates are elected to form the Monash Postgraduate Association Executive Committee (MPAEC). Occasionally, postgraduates are co-opted into the committee.
The MPA also ensures postgraduate representation on all the University's governing bodies and committees relevant to the interests of postgraduates. Over the years the MPA has made a number of submissions to the University on a range of issues.
The MPA is also associated with CAPA (Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations) which deals with national issues affecting postgraduates.
The MPA is governed by its constitution, and other governing documents.
What are your thoughts about the compulsory 120 hours of professional development training required as part of some PhDs?