Every School shall have at least one full-time member of academic staff designated to act as an independent School Postgraduate Student Adviser (SPSA) to advise research students and to deal confidentially with any concern raised by research students about their research studies and supervision.
2. Appointment procedure
Heads of School shall nominate an SPSA and shall inform the University of the name of the SPSA, which should also be included in the School Handbook. The SPSA shall have responsibility for providing support as noted in 1 above to all Research Postgraduate students with the school including any based elsewhere or at the overseas campuses.
3. Role of the SPSA
The SPSA is available to offer independent and strictly confidential advice and support to research students who, for example, have a query about University, Faculty and School regulations and procedures relating to research study; are concerned about the progress of their research work and the facilities or resources available to them; are having difficulties with the supervisory relationship (including a complete breakdown of that relationship); or who have any other query relating to their research studies at Nottingham.
If the SPSA is the student's supervisor, the student should seek guidance from any other member of School academic staff.
The SPSA should advise the student as is required and, if s/he cannot answer the student's query, should indicate to the student what sources of expert advice and support exist within the University (eg. Counselling Service (see below), or Graduate School (see below).
4. Record of consultations
When a research student requests a meeting with the SPSA on a serious matter concerning his/her research studies and/or supervision, the SPSA should make a careful record of the problem and the discussions (the record should be agreed with the student), including the outcome and any proposed course of action. Where appropriate, the SPSA may offer to mediate between the student and other staff and students in the School, including the supervisor. Subject to the degree of confidentiality agreed with the student, the SPSA should report the problem to the Head of School and, if appropriate, Student Services Development (Academic Processes).