Loughborough Doctoral College

Essential information

Recording Supervision Sessions (for Staff)

1. What are the University’s expectations for supervisory meetings?

The University’s Code of Practice on Research Programmes (paragraph 2.4 Role of Supervisors) requires that for full-time research students there should be monthly face-to-face supervisory meetings with the supervisors and that these should be recorded in Co-Tutor.

Part-time students should have regular supervisory contact with supervisors, typically a minimum of every 2 months. Contact may be by phone, Skype or face-to-face depending on the student’s circumstances and should also be recorded in Co-Tutor.

2. Why do I have to record supervisory meetings?

This is to ensure there is evidence that effective supervision arrangements for all students are in place. Additionally, for students holding a Tier 4 visa,  the Co-Tutor records are an essential part of the evidence we require to demonstrate to the Home Office that we are fulfilling our responsibilities as sponsor of student visas. Tier 4 visas are issued to  students for the purpose of attending full-time education in the UK. If a student is not meeting this requirement, the University’s sponsorship of the student must be withdrawn. If we continue to sponsor such students, our Tier 4 licence is at risk.

A pro forma to record the meetings has been developed and approved for use by the Doctoral College Sub-Committee. It is available as item 16 here www.lboro.ac.uk/services/doctoral-college/essential-information/templateshop/

You may ask the student to draft the meeting notes but will have to ensure that they do so and the notes are loaded in a timely way onto Co-Tutor.

3. How do I record supervisory meetings?

Supervisors have two options in Co-Tutor:

  1. Use the Meeting Functionality in Co-Tutor to record the meeting. The record must have the tag of 'Research' . The date of the record will be the date of the meeting itself.
  2. Alternatively, if you wish to email the minutes of the meetings to Co-Tutor, you should use the email address: co-tutormeeting@lboro.ac.uk .Using co-tutormeeting@lboro.ac.uk means that the meeting will effectively be recorded in Co-Tutor as a meeting, not a comment. However, note the date of this record will be the date of the email, not the meeting, so minutes should be sent to Co-Tutor promptly. Each supervisory meeting should be recorded individually: batching meeting notes and loading them together will provide an inaccurate record of the student’s supervision history.

Please ensure you use one of these methods to record your meetings. Your supervisory meetings will then appear in the Attendance Reporting tools now set up in Co-Tutor which will enable relevant colleagues to be able to determine quickly that they have been recorded and will avoid the need to contact you to check up that meetings are taking place.

Research administrators in Schools are now running reports on a monthly basis to check whether records are complete and, where they are not, will contact you about any missing reports. The records will be audited by the Doctoral College Office every month to check for any gaps.

One of the supervisors must add the meeting to the Co-Tutor record themselves using one of the methods above. If you need advice on use of Co-Tutor, please contact your school research student administrator in the first instance.

4. Do I have to record meetings for UK/EU and Tier 4 PGR students or just Tier 4 students?

Records of supervisory meetings are required for all PGR students not just those sponsored by the University on a Tier 4 visa or those who are full-time. This is to ensure that supervisory arrangements are in place and that there is a full record should there be any problems or complaints. It will also be helpful should one of the supervisors change.

Visiting students from outside the UK/EU on a stay of more than 6 months are also Tier 4 students and must also have regular recorded meetings. You can tell whether a student is sponsored under Tier 4 on the LUSI Student Profile page which is accessible from the LUSI Tab for each student in their Co-Tutor record.

5. Do I have to record meetings for part time students?

There should be supervisory records on Co-Tutor for all research students. However,  the minimum expectation for part-time students is that there should be a recorded contact every two months.

Part-time students are not eligible for Tier 4 visas.

6. Do I have to record supervisory meetings for students during extension (formerly writing up) periods

Where a student is being sponsored on a Tier 4 visa by the University during their extension period, they must be working on their thesis full-time and they still attend monthly supervision meetings which should be recorded as for students during their main period of study. If a Tier 4 student is not working on their thesis full-time or they choose to leave the UK during their extension period, they cannot continue to be sponsored under Tier 4. Please do this yourself or ask your research student administrator to do so.

7. What happens after a student has submitted their thesis?

Where a student is being sponsored on a Tier 4 visa by the University, we must continue monthly supervision sessions with them and record the meetings even after they have submitted their thesis: up to the point that they have completed the academic requirements for their degree at which point sponsorship must end. You may feel that such meetings are of limited purpose but they are essential to enable us to comply with our Tier 4 responsibilities. They could be used to prepare for the viva or discuss work for publication.

If a student chooses to leave the UK on a long term basis after submitting their thesis and just return for their viva, monthly supervision sessions are not required. The Doctoral College Office (Academic Registry) pgresearch@lboro.ac.uk  must be notified immediately and the Tier 4 visa will be withdrawn.

For non-Tier 4 students, pre-viva preparation through meetings or other contact is also be beneficial and a record should be maintained on Co-Tutor.

8. Do I have to have meetings and record them when the student is revising their thesis for resubmission?

Where a student is being sponsored on a Tier 4 visa by the University, we must continue the monthly meetings with them and record the meetings up to the point they are awarded their degree. If they choose to leave the UK and complete corrections overseas, there is no requirement for monthly meetings. The Doctoral College (Academic Registry) pgresearch@lboro.ac.uk  must be notified immediately and the Tier 4 visa will be withdrawn.

Supervisory contact with all students, Tier 4 and non-Tier 4,  should continue to support the student with successful completion of their corrections, however, and a brief record of interactions should be maintained on Co-Tutor.