Expectations for graduate research supervisors and candidates

Universities are places of safety and respect and all members of the graduate research community at La Trobe are entitled to pursue their research in a supportive environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying, vilification, victimisation, violence and other forms of unacceptable behaviour.

This is true of all members of the La Trobe community. However, the relationship between a higher degree by research candidate and their supervisor/s is unique in that the relationship includes elements of both collegiality and instruction; in the closeness of the relationship over an extended period of time; and in the unique power imbalance between supervisor and candidate these factors represent.

Supervisors therefore have a responsibility to:

  • be aware of their own behaviours
  • to make sure they conduct appropriate relationships within the research community
  • to actively contribute to a culture of respect and safety at La Trobe.

We emphasise that these responsibilities are central to the role of supervisor and researcher.

Graduate research candidates also have a responsibility to foster and participate in a culture which promotes these values and to treat both fellow graduate researchers, academic colleagues and all staff and students at La Trobe with respect.

The University expects all members of the graduate research community to adhere to these principles as well as to the various codes designed to promote and apply them, including:

Everyone has a right to raise issues or to make an enquiry or complaint in a reasonable and respectful manner without being victimised.

If you have any concerns about a potential conflict of interest or are aware of inappropriate behaviour you should speak with your Head of School, contact HR Assist or consider referring to the University’s Speak Up service, who can also help to navigate sensitive conversations.