What is the Graduate School?

What is the Graduate School? (Updated February 2nd, 2016)

  • The GS was created in October 2015 to serve four main purposes:
    • To coordinate and centrally advertise a program of researcher development activities of all kinds. Some will be offered directly by the GS, others will be offered by Faculties or Services, but available to research degrees students (and staff who are developing researchers) university-wide.
    • To work with partners whose research degrees we validate.
    • To assist in gathering and maintaining data about the progress of current research degrees students.
    • Generally, to be a champion of the needs and significance of research degrees students here at Staffordshire.
  • Professor Douglas Burnham is seconded to be the Head of the Graduate School. Dominic Collins administers the School. To get in touch with us, please contact Dominic.
  • What have we been doing over the past four months? It has been a transition period.
    • The University has a new set of research degrees regulations. The Graduate School has been busily rewriting the support/procedural documents that go with those regulations: e.g. the Research Degrees Code of Practice, and guidance notes to progression stages, examination, annual review, and so forth. These documents were agreed by the University Research Degrees Committee in January, and will go to Academic Board shortly.
    • In order to implement the new regulations, we have had to collect data on current students and figure out the fairest way to move them over. This has been an enormous data collection exercise because previously there was no central database of research degrees students. This is now complete. The data will go onto SITS shortly, and preliminary decisions as to how each student will transition to the new regulations will be sent to students in a letter next month.
    • While Ways of Working was taking place, the Graduate School took over University-level research degrees administration. Most of this administration work will be passed over to the central hub next month.
    • The existing Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods had a review event shortly before Christmas to agree its being phased out. Replacing it is a more robust induction procedure and the expectation that all research degrees students will pursue an individualised program of professional development — this expectation is written into the regulations and monitored through the progression stages. So, the Graduate School has been and will continue to see out the old Certificate, and is generating a University-wide program of researcher development to serve the new regulations. In order to publicise this program, we have set up a blog and a section of the University web site, and also created a massive Blackboard organisation will a range of resources for research degrees students.
    • As part of its role in fostering the research environment,. the Graduate School has been represented at research strategy meetings and REF strategy meetings, among others, as well as being formally part of all four Faculty Research Degrees Committees.
  • What the Graduate School is NOT (this is important for clarity):
    • Anything to do with doctoral admissions – instead, please find the appropriate links under Doctoral Programs above.
    • Anything to do with doctoral marketing, although it will certainly try to advocate on behalf of the community.
    • A replacement for either Faculty or University research degrees committees. All procedures remain as per regulations.
    • Similarly, research degrees administration is not handled by the Graduate School, but by a central service.