Supervisor Blues

July 11 2011

I have to change one of my supervisors.

Not due to a personality clash or time-management failure, thankfully, but because he wants to retire. Nonetheless it leaves me with a dilemma, who should replace him? I am busy contemplating what I need from a supervisor in order to make a decision.

Most important for me – An expert in the field. This person will be my second supervisor overall but they will have responsibility for the discipline that I am less confident in. I need someone up-to-date with research in the field who can point me in the right direction and notice glaring omissions.
I want someone who has the time and energy to send me detailed feedback. By which I mean someone who won’t just tell me that they don’t like the tone of the work or tell me to go away and read x author, but can tell me to flesh out certain paragraphs or find references for a b & c in x and y authors.
I want someone who will help me set goals. I have discovered the hard way that the best way for me to beat procrastination is to have deadlines for handing over work for review.
Finally, I want someone who has compassion for and some understanding of my ongoing battles with mental-health difficulties and the issues surrounding part-time study including fitting in employment, housework and caring responsibilities with study.

Have I missed anything?

Is there anything I should be asking my current supervisor about before he departs?

Unlike when I started my PhD I now have a better idea of what I want from a working relationship and expertise and I feel I am in a better position to discuss this and set out shared guidelines but it is a daunting task.

Has anyone else had to change supervisors? How did you go about it?

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