Central to the process of completing a postgraduate degree is the relationship between a student and their supervisor. Maintaining an optimal student-supervisor relationship is not always easy, but its success can lead to fulfilling future collaborations long after the student has completed their degree. Prof. Bernard Slippers spoke about these and other dynamics of a student-supervisor relationship at a research seminar at the University of Pretoria’s Merensky Library on February 12. Attended by postgraduate students and academic staff from different faculties, the seminar was held in conjunction with the Department of Research and Innovation Support.

Prof. Slippers warned against unrealistic expections of a perfectly aligned match between student and supervisor and encouraged both parties to structure their relationship in a way that would make it easier to pre-empt problems and to manage them. Using UP’s Memorandum of Understanding for Academic Supervision of Postgraduate Students as a framework and drawing on his own experience, Prof. Slippers highlighted the responsibilities of both parties to the process and gave advice on managing the research project, time management and writing a thesis.