Annual thesis survey

| Why an annual survey? Why from the Graduate Campus? | Data privacy | Confidentiality level | Survey options | After the survey | Data use, management and protection
 

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Why an annual survey? Why from the Graduate Campus?

A PhD thesis is classically the product of the relationship between an experienced and recognized researcher and a more junior researcher, with the goal of the doctoral degree.

The thesis also now frequently incorporates a third actor, in the shape of a doctoral school or programme, as well as disciplinary regulations. A broader, institutional context gives a place to UNIL's mission for high quality doctoral education, represented by the Graduate Campus.

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modified from Berthiaume et al. (2009)

 

The annual thesis survey is part of a series of efforts deployed by UNIL to listen, counsel and support both PhD candidates and their supervisors.

The main goals of the survey are to:

  • Open a regular channel of communication between supervisors, supervisees, and the Graduate Campus
  • Embody the principles of the Code of Practice for the doctorate, in particular:
    • a regular monitoring of doctoral research at UNIL
    • a practice of constructive discussion between supervisors and supervisees
    • the diffusion of best practices in doctoral supervision
    • the respect for diversity in supervisory practice, coming partly from academic freedom and disciplinary specificities
  • Allow each person to express himself or herself in an environment of confidence
  • Offer a suitable response for every situation, from both a human as well as a regulatory perspective
  • Aim for a successful end to the thesis, whether in the form of a doctoral degree, or after careful consideration
  • Accompany the decisions taken by the respondents, after discussion with the Graduate Campus, with faculty staff and central services.

 

The survey is mandatory for supervisors, and optional for PHD candidates

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Data privacy

The thesis survey is conducted once a year during the month of June through a secure portal, only accessible using UNIL credentials (usual login/password).

Answers provided by a PhD candidate will not be transmitted to their supervisor, and a supervisor’s responses will not be transmitted to their PhD candidates.

The data acquired during the survey will not be transmitted to a third party, nor will it be used for any other use than that described above.

Confidentiality level

The answers you provide, along with any comments, remain strictly confidential and can only be viewed by the Graduate Campus and a small number of faculty staff, who are all bound to strict confidentiality. No exception can be made to this rule without the explicit consent of the person in question (PhD candidate or supervisor).

Survey options

Anyone who supervises a thesis or who is enrolled for the doctorate, can choose one of the following situations which best corresponds their current assessment. A comment can be added for clarification.

Supervisor

PhD candidate

This candidate is making progress with their thesis and I am satisfied as a supervisor.

I’m making progress with my thesis and I am satisfied with the supervision .

This candidate is making  progress with the thesis, but I think adjustments are needed in supervision and conditions.

I’m making progress with my thesis, but I think adjustments are needed in the supervision and conditions.

I don’t feel able to judge the situation, good or bad, because this candidate has only just begun the thesis.

I don’t feel able judge the situation, good or bad, because I have only just begun my thesis.

I am unable to evaluate the current status or progress of the thesis, because I haven’t had any recent interaction with the doctoral candidate.

I am unable to evaluate the current status or progress of my thesis, because I haven’t had any recent interaction with my supervisor.

I am considering quitting my role as supervisor, because the candidate is not making satisfactory progress with their thesis.

I am currently considering dropping out, because I have strong doubts about completing my thesis.

I no longer wish to supervise this thesis.

I would like to complete my thesis, but I am not satisfied by the current conditions of supervision

This thesis is no longer ongoing (thesis stopped, interrupted, candidate has followed another career opportunity).

My thesis is no longer ongoing (thesis stopped, interrupted, I have followed another career opportunity).

This thesis is supervised by another person (please indicate his or her name in the comments section) 

My thesis is supervised by another person (please indicate his or her name in the comments section)

This thesis is academically complete (final defense or public defense passed)

My thesis is academically complete (final defense or public defense passed)

 

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After the survey

The survey results are examined in multiple steps, depending on the answer option selected and the accompanying comment. In general, the steps are:

  1. Graduate Campus
    • Review the response
    • First contact with the person and offer to meet in person
    • Resolution of the problem, or transmission to the faculty level (unless high confidentiality has been requested)
  2. Faculty
    • Offer to meet with the respondent
    • Resolution of the situation, or initiation of the correct procedure in that direction.

Where necessary (incorrect administrative information, change of supervision confirmed by the Faculty, end of thesis), the admission and immatriculations office will be informed.

Data use, management and protection

In addition to strict confidentiality rules described above, the answers to this annual survey cannot be used for purposes other than academic support and monitoring of PhD/MD theses.

The gathered data is stored on UNIL servers, and protected by industry-level security measures.

The data is kept through the duration of each thesis, respectively the contract of the supervisor, in accordance with the goals guiding the annual survey.

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Contact person

For any queries regarding the annual survey:

Benjamin Rudaz

benjamin.rudaz@unil.ch
+41 21 692 21 29

Survey duration and steps

The participation link and instructions will be sent by email (to their @unil.ch account) to each PhD candidate and supervisor on May 14.

The survey will be open from May 14 until June 1st.

Each answer will be confirmed by an email.

Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne
Switzerland
Tel. +41 21 692 21 29
Fax +41 21 692 20 15