Teaching as Authentic Practice in the Graduate Student Supervisory Relationship


  • James Field University of Calgary
  • Galicia Blackman University of Calgary
  • Kaitlyn Francois University of Calgary




Student experience, supervision, mentoring, authentic practice


This article is the outcome of a co-inquiry with students where shared interests about student learning, students as partners, and a hermeneutic lens shaped the main research questions: What are graduate students’ experiences of the supervisory relationship and what happens inside the relationship in terms of learning and student success? We conducted 16 in-depth interviews with graduate students across various departments and programs. From these interviews we theorized that it may be more appropriate to speak of graduate supervision as a practice which produces internal and external goods. We found that it may be more appropriate to speak of the pedagogy as mentoring. We believe our research findings extend understanding of the supervisory relationship, contribute to the concept of teaching, and expand the idea of partnership with students in higher education wherever faculty and students find themselves in supervisory relationships. This is relevant to SoTL because it allowed us to think of the nuances in the word teaching and how supervisory relationships in higher education may need to expand the way we talk about teaching and learning in higher education.


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Author Biographies

James Field, University of Calgary

Dr. James Colin Field is an Associate Professor and one of the Graduate Program Directors at the Werklund School of Education. His research interests include curriculum studies, collaborative, school-based research, interpretive research, and teacher education. Contact: jfield@ucalgary.ca

Galicia Blackman, University of Calgary

Galicia Blackman is a doctoral candidate at the Werklund School of Education, specializing in Curriculum and Learning. Her graduate research uses hermeneutic research to examine dialogic pedagogy in language arts and literary studies. Contact: galicia.blackman@ucalgary.ca

Kaitlyn Francois, University of Calgary

Kaitlyn Francois, MN, RN, is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. Her current research is a hermeneutic study exploring parents’ experiences of having a child survive a malignant pediatric brain tumour. Contact: kdfranco@ucalgary.ca