Graduate Supervisory Experience Survey

The Temerty Faculty of Medicine is committed to ensuring that our students are supported to academically thrive while engaged in their graduate training. An important component of this training involves your supervisory experiences as a thesis-based Master or Doctoral student.

The Temerty Faculty of Medicine is the first Division at the University of Toronto to initiate a survey to explore the supervisory experience of its graduate students, thanks to funding from the School of Graduate Studies Innovation Fund. In Summer 2018, a Task Force was established, comprising of departmental chairs and graduate students across our 10 thesis-based MSc and PhD programs. Chaired by Dr. Allan Kaplan, a survey was developed to capture key aspects of a student’s graduate supervisory experience based on the 2017 SGS Graduate Supervision Guidelines for Faculty and Students. We have also consulted with several Provostial offices across the university, as well as the Office of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy.

The purpose of the Graduate Supervisory Experience (GSE) Survey is to gather information about your supervisory experience as graduate students. After a successful Fall 2019 pilot, the survey is now ready to be launched in May 2021, across the 10 thesis-based graduate programs. To help raise awareness of this project, Dr. Allan Kaplan, Rachel Zulla (Graduate Affairs Officer), and Yasman Mohammadzadeh (Data Coordinator) will be meeting with research graduate students by department starting late March 2021. We encourage all students to check their emails and attend these meetings.

The primary objective of this survey is to explore the supervisory experience of our thesis-based graduate students. Participation is voluntary. The results from this survey will help inform the Temerty Faculty of Medicine educational leaders to ensure the best educational experience for our graduate students.

For more information, please see the FAQ below. If you have any questions regarding this survey, please email Yasman at glse.supervision@utoronto.ca.

1. IS THIS MANDATORY?

Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary and raw data collected will be treated as strictly confidential. To participate, you will need to login using your UTORid and password. This information is only required to

  1. Verify the identity of each participant
  2. Prevent non-eligible students from participating
  3. Avoid duplicate survey results from being submitted

Participants will also have the opportunity to win prizes!

2. WHO WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE DATA?

All data collected for the survey will be stored, encrypted and protected through appropriate technical and process protections by the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

Only specific staff from the Office of Graduate and Life Sciences Education will have access to the data, specifically, the Graduate Affairs Officer and the Graduate Supervisory Experience Data Coordinator. These individuals will be responsible for reviewing the raw data (qualitative and quantitative) and analyzing it to prepare aggregate results. The Vice Dean, Research and Graduate Education, will also be responsible for reviewing the data.

Raw data collected will not be reported to Temerty Faculty of Medicine stakeholders or external organizations without the graduate student’s written consent, except as required by law (please refer to FAQ question - If I have experienced inappropriate behaviour, do I report this in the survey?).

3. HOW WILL THE RESULTS BE REPORTED?

All qualitative and quantitative data will be analyzed and reported in aggregate form. In addition to frequency tables for each question, results may be stratified by different variables (e.g. junior male respondents vs. senior male respondents), as required. We anticipate enough respondents to ensure anonymity; currently there are over 1900 students across the 10 thesis-based graduate programs. However, in the event that stratification may lead to the identification of a given student, the results of this type of analysis will not be reported. The number of responses will always accompany each result reported.

All these results will be complied to create two types of reports: an overall Faculty report and an individual department report. The survey is meant to serve as a quality assurance tool to inform the assessment of the effectiveness of graduate student supervision.

4. WHO WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE RESULTS?

All students, faculty, departmental Chairs/Directors and Temerty Faculty of Medicine educational leaders will have access to the overall Faculty Report.

The departmental quantitative report will be shared with the Chair, faculty and students of a given graduate unit (e.g. Biochemistry Chairs, students and faculty will only receive the Biochemistry report). The departmental reports may be shared with the Dean, as requested.

5. IF I HAVE EXPERIENCED INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR, DO I REPORT THIS IN THE SURVEY?

For the purpose of the Graduate Supervisory Experience survey, inappropriate behaviour is defined as any behaviour that constitutes as discriminatory, violent or harassing; this also includes sexual violence and harassment. Inappropriate behaviour is also referred to as egregious behaviour.

This survey is not intended to identify and address complaints of harassment, violence or discrimination against a graduate primary and/or co-supervisor. The Temerty Faculty of Medicine and University of Toronto take complaints of this nature with the utmost seriousness and have established policies and guidelines for disclosing such behavior and ensuring it is addressed in a timely way.

If students decide to comment on inappropriate behavior of their primary and/or co-supervisor (e.g. sexual harassment, discrimination, violence) in this survey, the University is obligated to investigate such alleged behaviour. In the course of such an investigation and in consultation with the student reporting the inappropriate behaviour, his/her name and the name of the faculty supervisor in question may be required to be revealed in confidence to the appropriate University official.

The following University documents provide specific definitions for these types of inappropriate behaviours, as well as the process for raising concerns regarding these types of conduct:

Students who wish to report inappropriate behaviour from any member of the University of Toronto community (i.e. students, staff, faculty) can direct these concerns to any of the following individuals

6. I’VE BEEN INVITED TO DO THE SURVEY, BUT I GRADUATED. DO I STILL HAVE TO COMPLETE IT?

Yes, we encourage you to complete the survey. As a recent graduate, you will have had two or more years of experience with your graduate supervisor. Your feedback will provide an in-depth perspective of the quality of your supervisory experience.

7. I WASN’T INVITED TO DO THE SURVEY, WHY?

For the first cycle of the Graduate Supervisory Experience Survey, we have only invited thesis-based graduate students in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. However, we are open to working with non-research stream programs to explore ways to include other types of graduate students in future iterations of the survey.

8. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY?

The survey will be available until Monday May 31st, 2021.

9. HAS THIS BEEN DONE BEFORE? ARE THERE ANY FUTURE PLANS?

The supervisory experiences of our graduate students have never been explored using a standardized survey tool at the faculty/divisional level.

The information gathered will be helpful in raising awareness of the learning experience of our graduate students. It will also be used to design tools and sessions for faculty and students to ensure the best learning environment.

10. ARE THERE PRIZES?

Yes! We have a total of 11 prizes. Students that have completed their survey by the deadline, will be entered in a random draw to win one of eleven prizes.

Prize winners will be contacted after the survey end date, May 31st, 2021.