Training for supervisors of doctoral candidates

Excellent supervision is the basis for successful doctoral training.

The success of the supervision is often only evident after the doctorate has been completed in the career development of the doctoral candidates and in their loyalty to their alma mater as alumna or alumnus.

Good supervision begins with the careful selection of doctoral candidates.

In Germany, doctoral supervision is mostly based on the experience that we have gained as supervisees or that we make as part of our supervision. We do not want to continue to act according to the motto "learning by doing" and take countries as a model (e.g. Australia, the UK and the USA), which regard supervisors training as a matter of course.

With three measures, we aim at making the topic of "supervision" visible and increasing the quality of supervisory performances:

  • With the first GRADE Award for best doctoral supervision in July 2015, Goethe University set an example. Based on international criteria for excellent doctoral supervision, doctoral candidates nominated doctoral supervisors and an international panel of experts identified and honored excellent supervisors at Goethe University. Since then, the prize has already been awarded four times. The honor and appreciation associated with the award is intended to motivate nominees and award winners and encourage them to continue the excellent supervision work they have done with great commitment. A report on the last award ceremony in 2023 can be found HERE.
  • In the regular workshop program, GRADE continuously offers events on the topic of doctoral supervision. These are open to supervisors from all departments at Goethe University. The courses cover topics such as the selection of doctoral candidates, the design of the supervisory relationship between doctoral candidates and supervisors and the evaluation of the finished dissertation.

  • Once a year, GRADE is involved in organizing the workshop "Promotionen gut betreut". Topics of the workshop are national and international developments in doctoral supervision, mutual expectations of the supervisory relationship, doctoral phases and their challenges, roles of supervisors in the doctoral process, legal issues in doctoral supervision, recognizing and solving problems and a collegial exchange of experiences. Two to three supervisors from Goethe University are given the opportunity to participate in the workshop. GRADE covers the participation fee as well as travel and accommodation costs. The announcement of the workshop in 2024 can be viewed HERE [in German].

Dr. Sybille Küster will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the three measures and the topic of supervision in general.