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Departmental Supervisions: Information for Directors of Studies

This is a temporary page, and will grow when time is available

The official Departmental position is that colleges retain ultimately responsibility for supervisions by the Department. While the Department will use its best endeavours to engage suitable supervisors, and will monitor the quality of teaching and take action where the standard falls below an acceptable minimum, the college is still the employer. Reporting on students is directly to the student's college, and the college is responsible for meeting claims at the standard intercollege rate (unless the supervisor is a member of the student's college, or has a private arrangement with that college).

The current version of the course guide encourages students to see the supervisions coordinator if they don't hit it off with their supervisors, and request a change. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find alternatives (see below), and additionally, many such requests seem to be based on little more than whim, or the idea that "my mate has a great supervisor, who seems to be so much more exciting than mine, so I want to change." In order to encourage more college involvement in Part II and III supervisions, we now ask students to route all such requests via their Directors of Studies, who we hope will filter the request and only forward it to the supervisions coordinator if there appears to be a real problem.

We have recently had great difficulty in getting sufficient offers of supervision to provide the agreed number of supervisions for all students in Parts II and III. The only resources the Department has are teaching staff (themselves nearly all teaching fellows of undergraduate colleges), post-doctoral staff and graduate students. The Department is not able to require any of these to enter into additional employment with a college if they wish not to do so. It follows that the system is only viable if colleges contribute on average roughly as many teaching hours as their students "consume". This need not be teaching by college teaching fellows: colleges are free to make arrangements with post-docs, research students or other staff on any mutually-acceptable basis.

So that colleges can see what their current contribution there is a table showing the teaching hours provided by and supplied to members of each of the colleges. It is hoped that those colleges in long-term deficit can take steps to increase their support for the system. [visible to DoSs only: you will need a raven login to the teaching databases.]