Postgraduate Research Students, NUI Galway

National Student Survey

School of History and Philosophy

2020 Action Plan

 

 

Actions

Responsible

Status*

1

Research Infrastructure and Facilities

There is a notable lack of infrastructure and facilities in the School of History and Philosophy, and the School is mainly relying on research space in the Hardiman Building. The Head of School would encourage the College to provide more and better equipped research space for PG students in History and Philosophy.

Head of School, CASSCS, Building Office

*In Progress

 

2

Supervision

According to the report, students feel inadequately advised about training from their supervisor. It is not clear from the report if this is a problem in either History or Philosophy. If it is, then it can be remedied if supervisors familiarize themselves with the generic skills modules offered to graduate students in the CASSCS. Supervisors and GRC members might direct students to these modules, and also avail, together with the students, of the Researcher Development Centre (RDC), which is supported by the Offices of the VP for Research and Innovation and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Information about the RDC might be highlighted in programme handbooks. The Graduate Studies Office can make sure that all supervisors are aware of training opportunities for their students.

Postgraduate Programme Directors, Supervisors, GRC Members

*In Progress

 

3

Research Culture

The main indication of a vibrant research culture in both History and Philosophy is the existence of a postgraduate research seminar running across two semesters in each department. All postgraduate students and staff are encouraged to attend and attendance is generally fairly good. The two seminar series allow postgraduate students in History and Philosophy to share their work with staff and their postgraduate peers on a regular basis and to listen to presentation of research made by either NUIG staff or outside speakers on particular research projects. In History, M.A students are asked to comment and critically assess three of the research papers they hear as part of their course of study. In Philosophy, postgraduate students also have the opportunity to organize a peer-reviewed international conference each year. In general, communicating research to non-academic audiences might be addressed by encouraging participation in the THREESIS competition, and in the case of History, by giving students opportunities to the Galway History Festival, or to the annual collaboration with the Galway City Museum on Culture Night.

History and Philosophy Staff, History and Philosophy Postgraduate Research Seminars Organisers

*In Progress

 

4

Progress and Assessment

It seems from the survey that students seem dissatisfied with orientation and induction to their programmes. However, this is not necessarily related specifically to the School. The general feeling among staff is that often students find the induction offered by Postgraduate Studies at College and University level inadequate. At School and Department level, though, students in both History and Philosophy meet with the Directors of the PG programmes for a specific department-related induction and are provided with a PG course Handbook, both of which they find extremely helpful. No particular issue in relation to this category has arisen in the School.

PG Programme Directors

*Complete

 

5

Development Opportunities 

Personal training plan/research skills/career options: As noted above, students should be directed to the Research Development Centre and encouraged to register with the centre, draw up a personal development plan and avail of relevant training workshops. A training plan might also become part of the formation of every postgraduate, incorporating research skills and transferable skills. Also, In conjunction with the Careers Office, the CASSCS and the Departments might also provide more systematic guidance with regard to career options. 

Placement/internships: Current graduate programmes in History and Philosophy do not offer this opportunity although the Structured PhD in Philosophy of Art and Culture has facilitated these in the past. In Philosophy, a possibility to offer something in this category exists by expanding P4C (the current BA in Philosophy for Children) to graduate level, but this would have to be optional, while, in History, similar opportunities might be explored in the context of the ongoing restructuring of the M.A. in History.

Links with industry: In the School of History and Philosophy context, opportunities of ‘Working Collaboratively with Industry’ are necessarily be limited, but there would certainly be possibilities of ‘Working Collaboratively with a Civil Society Organisation’, especially in light of plans to develop Public History at MA level.

Conference attendance/submission of papers to journals etc.: Postgraduate students in History and Philosophy are encouraged to attend conference and submit papers for publication. However, attendance at conferences requires financial support, which we are unable to provide. In Philosophy, the possibility of creating a postgraduate journal with students to accompany the student annual postgraduate conference has been discussed, but it would require financial support. Still, the 50% of submission of an academic paper for publication in the former School of Humanities in the survey seems satisfactory, given that 50% of respondents were masters’ students and would not be expected to have reached the point where they might publish either in History or Philosophy.

Teaching: students have the opportunity to teach tutorials but these opportunities are subject to budgetary constraints. The remuneration for tutorial teaching is unattractive for many of the School’s postgraduate students. Students funded by the Galway Doctoral Scholarship are often given more opportunity to teach than others because it is a contractual requirement for them and does not put pressure on the Departmental budgets. All students who teach are encouraged to take teaching training modules offered on the Structured PhD. It would be beneficial if PhD students were to be offered more opportunities to lecture on occasion to improve their CVs, but these opportunities are subject to budgetary conditions.

PG Programme Directors, Supervisors, PG Programmes Teaching Staff, HODs, HOS, Career Office

*In Progress

 

6

Research Skills

Students have expressed a high degree of satisfaction in this area. It might be improved by directing the School of History and Philosophy students to the Research Development Centre and by providing information about it in programme handbooks.

Postgraduate Programme Directors, Supervisors, GRC Members

*In Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Personal Outlook

In both History and Philosophy, postgraduate students are generally supported well and are aware that there is someone to talk to in the person of the programme director. Several postgraduate students in Philosophy suffer from mental health, or personal and financial problems, all of which impact on their academic progress; as a consequence, the director of postgraduate programmes in Philosophy spends a lot of time on pastoral care. The survey results indicate that students suffer from poor work-life balance, and this is not surprising, given that several students in the School are unfunded and must work in paid employment to support their studies. This often results in students applying for a leave of absence, which interrupts their studies. Further opportunities for financial support for postgraduate students might help remedy the problem.

Postgraduate Programme Directors, Supervisors, CASSCS

*In Progress

 

8

Other Transferable Skills

Students express a high level of satisfaction in this area. As noted above, this might be improved by directing them to the Research Development Centre to draw up a personal development plan and to take training workshops in highlighting transferable skills and CV building.

PG Programme Directors, Supervisors, PG Programmes Teaching Staff

*In Progress

 

9

Responsibilities and Supports

Students seem to be aware of their responsibilities as postgraduates and of their supervisor’s responsibilities. In both History and Philosophy, these responsibilities are clearly outlined in the postgraduate handbook given to all postgraduate students and available online on the Postgraduate Studies web page. However, it is surprising that they seem unaware of other support channels in the university. These various support channels need to make more of an effort to communicate with postgraduate students in the different Schools and Departments.

PG Programme Directors, Supervisors, CASSCS, NUIG Postgraduate Studies

*In Progress

 

10

Overall Experience

Students express a high level of satisfaction in this category.

PG Programme Directors, Supervisors, PG Programmes Teaching Staff

*Complete

 

 

*Not Started

*In Progress

*Complete