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Envisioning and building a Grad Supervision Support Hub at York

Envisioning and building a Grad Supervision Support Hub at York

The Faculty of Graduate Studies is celebrating 60 years of knowledge creation, and we want to mark this milestone in a meaningful way. Just ahead of the holidays, we want to send a shout-out to all graduate educators, supervisors, committee members and students from your colleagues at the Faculty of Graduate Studies! We see you and want to let you know that we are planning something with you in mind that we hope will be both materially valuable and meaningful. Something grounded in dignity, mutuality and capacity-building.

Graduate education stands as a cornerstone in the academic landscape and the quality of the graduate supervisory experience plays a pivotal role in shaping the academic and professional trajectories of students. The dynamics of this relationship profoundly impact the quality of research, the development of professional skills, and the overall academic experience. Inside of these relationships where student development is central are valuable faculty colleagues who matter to us. With that in mind, we wanted to find a way to wrap around graduate supervisors, committee members and graduate students and begin to vision. We quickly recognized that to plan and enact something like this we needed to secure funding. Thankfully, York University’s Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) granted Faculty of Graduate Studies Associate Dean, Academic Dr. Cheryl van Daalen-Smith with a three-year grant for the establishment of a Graduate Supervision Support Hub (GSSHub). Recognizing the multifaceted challenges and opportunities inherent in the supervision process, we are taking a transformative step by introducing the Graduate Supervision Support Hub and rooting it in principles of dignity, mutuality and effective supervisory practices. With this pan-university initiative, we intend to cultivate and support an ethos of dignity around mutually beneficial supervisory relationships drawing on graduate supervisory pedagogy and capacity-building principles that recognize the pivotal role of effective supervision in graduate education.

Photograph of three women sitting and talking with one another

Photo of students working collaboratively

At the core of the envisioned GSSHub is the promotion of supervisory relationships enveloped in mutuality. Acknowledging the diverse needs and expectations of supervisors and students, we want to keep relationships at the center with an ethos of dignity folded into every aspect and explicit regard for the inherent value of both the supervisor and the student. By fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, the GSSHub aims to enhance the overall graduate supervisory experience for everyone involved.

This approach acknowledges that good supervision is not innate, nor solely about overseeing research projects but is a relationship that requires mentorship, guidance, ethics, mutual respect, collaborative goal setting and skill development. In graduate education, students and supervisors encounter various challenges such as communication gaps, differing expectations and navigating interpersonal relationships and academia, so the aim is to address challenges with effective practices, capacity building, a centralized platform for support and guidance, and a toolkit of resources fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement in supervision methods.

To ensure the pan-university GSSHub aligns with the diverse needs of our academic community, we extend a call to all partners – ­­graduate students and faculty members­ – to actively engage with us as we seek input and guidance. By participating in consultations and sharing invaluable experiences and insights, you can help shape the development, initiatives and effectiveness of the proposed GSSHub which will empower supervisors and students to thrive in their academic pursuits making it a true reflection of the collective vision for effective supervision support.

Stay tuned for a brief survey for graduate supervisors in winter 2024 where we will seek to gather your input as to what supports and services the GSSHub might provide. For now, we are gathering names of folks who want to be heard and planning a listening tour including more consultations. We hope you will write to us and indicate your willingness to contribute. To do so, you are invited to contact the Graduate Supervision Support Hub Program Manager, Tracy Bhoola at

We look forward to co-creating this with you,

Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, Wesley Moir & Tracy Bhoola