07 March 2006

Minimum facilities for PG Research students

With the release of the paper on Minimum Facilities for postgraduate students, the Division's policy with respect to technical support needs to be restated.

At the previous Executive meeting a paper from the Office of the PVC - Research and Information Management on Minimum Facilities for Postgraduate Research Students was circulated. In the paper, it was noted that "each Division is responsible for establishing written policy in relation to each of the items listed [in the paper]…".

The Division has, of course, a policy on postgraduate students' access to resources: postgraduate students need to negotiate their resource requirements, including access to media equipment and facilities, IT facilities, software and TSU staff, with the Division before the Division takes them on as students. The Manager, TSU, needs to agree to provide Divisional media equipment and facilities, IT facilities, software and access to TSU staff beyond the usual desktop equipment, software and support before any commitment is made to taking on the student. Of course, requirements change over time, and it is entirely appropriate for the Division to reconsider a postgraduate student’s resource requirements during their course. When requirements change, the student’s supervisor needs to take the issue up with the PVC and get his permission to vary the student’s program if the additional resources are available.

IT support for students in the Division is currently limited to providing and supporting the operation of an agreed set of hardware and software. No training is currently provided to students, and there are currently no resources in the TSU to help postgraduate students with sophisticated software packages like SPSS, Final Cut Studio or FileMaker Pro (the TSU Training Officer is a part time position provided to support staff training, not student training). The Minimum Facilities for Postgraduate Research Students paper says: “If students are expected to use specialised software packages (eg SPSS) during the course of their research, provision should be made within the Division for training and support.” How is this to happen in the Division of Communication and Education?