University Research Supervisor Receives Formal Recognition

Dr Theresa Mitchell web

Dr Theresa Mitchell has been accepted into the UK Council for Graduate Education Research Supervision Recognition Programme.

Dr Mitchell has been supervising doctoral students for 20 years. Inspired by her own quality supervision 25 years ago, she provides a supportive, stimulating and an inspirational learning environment for many students. Last year she was shortlisted in the Times Higher Education Awards for Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year.

“I’m really pleased to be accepted to the UK Council for Graduate Education Research Supervision Recognition Programme,” she said. “I absolutely love what I do and it’s wonderful to have formal recognition of my work.”

Dr Mitchell has used her knowledge and experience, gained from a long career in healthcare, to supervise a range of professionals, including nurses, midwives, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, public health workers, and even a nuclear radiographer. 

With 16 doctoral completions and 13 current students (6 as Director of Studies) she recognises the need to understand the perspectives and priorities for each individual and how this might impact upon their engagement with the research. Many are mature students with responsible positions within the NHS, juggling studies with demands of a stressful job. As such, there can be a high incidence of burn-out. Recognising the signs, Dr Mitchell works with each student to develop strategies and provide additional support.  

She takes time to get to know each of her students and to understand their professional context, the demands upon their clinical roles, expectations of the PhD process, and significance of the research to their professional development. 

In assessing her application, the judges said: “This is a well-rounded application, which reviews an excellent track record of supervision, and draws upon your work with the full array of Level 8 awards - PhDs, Professional Doctorates and PhD by Published Works. It is noteworthy that your supervisory practice has been recently recognised in the shortlist for the Times Higher Award 2019.”

They added: “It is clear that promoting overall wellbeing amongst students is a primary driver for you. You have a terrific range of experiences that would certainly enrich any institutional Supervisor Development Programme.”

Robert Dudley, Head of the Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “Dr Mitchell is an outstanding academic and scholar. Her commitment to doctoral supervision is really unparalleled. In addition to supervising those undertaking research degrees she has also developed a unique scheme for supporting undergraduate nursing students who wish to pursue a healthcare research focused career upon qualification.”