The global scholar: Implications for postgraduate studies and supervision

The supervision of postgraduate research poses particular challenges at universities worldwide, even under optimal conditions where research candidates study full-time. In addition, postgraduate supervision is increasingly a global policy and scholarly imperative that plays a critical role in the global economy as the production of knowledge contributes to building the scientific, economic and social fabric of countries and hence their global competitiveness. Among several other factors, the success of postgraduate study supervision is dependent on sound scholarship, trustful relationships and effective communication between candidates and supervisors, especially in respect of their abilities to study and supervise across national boundaries. In some respects, research and its supervision should always be considered in a global context, which includes supervising international research candidates, the assessment and examination of research products and supporting those candidates studying across borders. On the other hand, in an increasingly globalised world, the dis/ figuring of local contexts and concerns and their articulation with and in a global arena are of vital concern.

Recently, the massification and marketisation of higher education has resulted in increasing numbers of research candidates entering postgraduate programmes nationally and internationally with different levels of capabilities. This is accompanied by mounting pressures from governments on universities to deliver quality graduates within prescribed periods of time in order for such newly qualified individuals to make contributions that justify the funding and efforts of postgraduate programmes and studies. The unravelling and promotion of ´the global scholar´ as a concept and a practice thus has many implications for postgraduate research and its supervision.

It is against this background that the organisers of the 7th Biennial Conference on Postgraduate Supervision to be held at Spier Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa invite researchers and practitioners worldwide who are involving themselves with postgraduate supervision and conducting research into postgraduate supervision to share their results with an international audience. The main theme of “The global scholar: Implications for postgraduate studies and supervision” relates, but is not confined to, several sub-themes such as those suggested below:

  • Researcher and supervisor connections, exchanges and joint scholarly work
  • The mobility of research candidates and research supervisors
  • Supervising / examining across geographical borders, cultures and disciplines
  • The relation of local contexts, cultures and knowledge to the global arena
  • The implications of global scholarship for language and writing
  • The implications for the careers of research candidates and research supervisors
  • The implications for fees, fee-structures and the costs of globalised postgraduate research and supervision
  • The implications for distance and electronic supervision.