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CARTA Fellows appreciate the role of their supervisors

posted Oct 11, 2011, 5:58 AM by Makau Ngola   [ updated Oct 11, 2011, 6:07 AM ]
Supervisors’ role in the CARTA fellowship is to provide guidance and appropriate feedback to the fellows to enable qualityresearch.  Through the feedback, fellows are able to tap into experiences of their supervisors and learn from it in order to achieve acceptable standards in their work.  The supervisor provides the required quality control in the fellows work.  CARTA fellows choose their supervisors from a pool from CARTA institutions whose details are provided when fellows are admitted.  A fellow can have a primary supervisor and a secondary one who all work together in providing the requisite directions.

Supervisors’ role is very critical in the success of the fellow especially in the beginning of the studies.  If the fellows take the wrong direction at the outset, progress is likely to stall.  Both the fellow and the supervisor set common goals to be attained at the commencement of the fellowship.  The essential readings are also mapped out and the ways of accessing them clearly defined. This may be taken a step further by sharing of hard-to-get reading materials that the supervisor has accumulated over time.  Fellows’ personal and individual needs are also identified and ways of addressing them agreed upon.  There may emerge need to undertake additional training or of technical consultations, sometimes offered by professionals. 

Sunday Adedini is a CARTA fellow cohort 1 from the Obafemi Awolowo University and a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand.  Sunday  acknowledges his supervisor in the following “The role of my supervisor in the progress made so far in my PhD work cannot be underestimated. This is the first time I will enjoy 'promptness' from supervisor. He promptly attends to my work.  I must confess that my supervisor has been very helpful and supportive. He provided me with a lot of materials on the work. He pushes me and gets annoyed with me if I'm not making progress as he wants. I could remember one of his SMS's to me: 'when am I having your chapter 3?'. He's always on my neck.”

At times, differences between the supervisor and a fellow can emerge leading to misunderstandings which need to be sorted out for successful supervision.  These are, however, rare and whenever they occur, it is healthy to resolve to achieve a smooth working relationship between the fellow and the supervisor.  Importantly to the CARTA fellow is the maintenance of a good relationship with the supervisor for a fruitful output by showing their gratitude.  

Sunday demonstrated appreciation of his supervisor through the following words “By appreciating him, I know that when I do my parts, he will also continue to promptly do his parts in attending to my work.”   It can be deduced that Sunday has a cordial relationship with his supervisor which has contributed to his success in the short time he has been a CARTA fellow.  He has had his PhD proposal accepted and has done three papers accepted for presentation in renowned conferences.  With a continued warm relationship between Sunday and his supervisor coupled with an enthusiasm to work together, it will be the matter of time before Sunday is done with his PhD studies.

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