Semester Two 2018

Thursday 25 October


Associate Professor Ruth Phillips

FASS Associate Dean Research Education

6pm Lecture Theatre 424

The University of Sydney higher degree by research (HDR) environment has changed markedly over the past four to five years. This has been driven by both internal policy changes aimed at ‘modernising’ the PhD in particular, and shifting HDR into the education portfolio, away from its historical home of research. It has also been part of the organisational shift toward centralisation of all student services based on stated efficiencies and the drive to ensure a consistent student experience across the diverse disciplines within the university. The second driver for the overall change to HDR is the policy of the Australian government where it has slowly begun to assert very specific expectations on the value and purpose of HDR. These forces have combined to produce an increasingly institutionalised neoliberal subjectivity for anyone undertaking a higher degree in research. This paper explores the nature and direction of this process and interrogates the current and future impact on both students and HDR supervisors from an insider/administrative point of view.

Ruth Phillips has been the Associate Dean for Research Education in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for nearly two years and was in a similar position for 1.5 years prior in the then Faculty of Education and Social Work. Ruth has as her service to the university, been involved in higher degree by research administration for nearly 10 years. She has supervised 20 HDR students to completion and teaches in Social Work and Policy Studies. Her research is in social policy, global social policy, third sector research and feminism.


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