Celebrating Great Supervisors (2017)

May 8-14, 2017, was #GreatSupervisor week at UBC. Graduate students were encouraged to give kudos to their graduate supervisors using #GreatSupervisor and #UBC on Twitter or Facebook. Here are the results.

#GreatSupervisor week started at the University of Calgary in 2014, and we are grateful to them for their inspiration and support in this initiative.

UBC's Great Supervisors

I owe sincere gratitude to my amazing supervisor Dr. Denise Laronde for her continuous support, encouragement, and the long, late nights she puts into helping her students. She is the perfect combination of supervisor, mentor and friend. Not only does she support her own students, but has been known to offer advise, support and encouragement to other grad students who seek her out. She leads with a collaborative approach, versus a "top down" approach. To quote another grad student in our faculty, "She is a great leader, because she is not afraid to create new leaders". This is truly a meritorious and extraordinary quality.

-Leigha Rock on Denise Laronde

Dr Beauchamp has exceeded any hopes or expectations I had about a PhD supervisor. From day one, Dr Beauchamp has encouraged me to pursue a line of research that I am truly passionate about. He has created an environment that is the perfect blend of fostering independence, while always providing the time and support we students need to be successful. I can honestly say that there is no way I would have been able to achieve the goals I had for my PhD without him. I feel very grateful for his support and can only hope to pass on what I have learned from him to my future pupils.

-Desmond McEwan on Mark Beauchamp

Dr. Campbell is always supportive and passionate about nursing issues. She takes time to meet and talk with me whenever I ask, while balancing her other academic endeavours. She encourages me to think critically and pushes my thoughts to see issues with different angles and perspectives that I had not have thought of before entering my graduate studies. She is very enthusiastic about the scholarly works of others and provides me with so much encouragement and positivity. She is an amazing supervisor and I am so could not be any happier! #GreatSupervisor
-Student on Suzanne Campbell

My supervisor is great because he: (1) Cares about the wellbeing of his students, (2) always keeps a good sense of humor, (3) has high expectations of his students, (4) helps achieve those expectations by providing creative, timely and thoughtful feedback, (5) manages to be on top of every academic and teaching responsibility while at the same time taking care of a happy family, (6) most importantly, he leads by example. Professor Ramankutty is a #GreatSupervisor
-Juan Diego Martinez on Navin Ramankutty

When I was trying to balance between my family and study, Dr. Kubota always showed her understanding and support; when I was struggling with my research ideas and needed to talk, Dr. Kubota always spent the time helping me (re)construct my ideas and thoughts. She replies emails in a prompt manner and she uses her way to support. Thank you, #GreatSupervisor Dr. Ryuko Kubota.
-Jun Ma on Ryuko Kubota

Dr Loutzenheiser is completely open and honest with me. She has many years of experience as a supervisor which bodes well for her students as we navigate our graduate programs! She's able to answer questions big and small and is an excellent academic and emotional guide, because let's face it, grad studies is an adventure. Thank you Lisa for everything that you do!

-Student on Lisa Loutzenheiser

Maged is an outstanding supervisor. I know that I can trust him to always be looking out for my best interest.  He is communicative and supportive so I know that I can produce my best work under his guidance.  He also looks out for me as a whole human, checking in to make sure that things are going well not only for my dissertation and future career, but also my everyday wellbeing.  Thank you, Maged!

-Jennifer Rae Pierce on Maged Senbel

There are many reasons why my supervisor is great:  (1)  She knows when to allow me to take time to explore ideas and also when to apply a little pressure when I need to move forward; (2) She provides detailed and clear feedback; (3) She is able to meet in-person when needed and responds to emails in a timely manner; (4) She is enthusiastic and has a sense of humour; (5) She clearly has a lot of knowledge regarding research methodology; (6)  She is open to alternate points of view; (7) She has high expectations. 

-Student on Wendy Hall

Early on in my first year of doctoral studies I quickly discovered that I had by some great fortune and luck selected a wise, talented, and ultra competent supervisor. Wendy is always attuned to providing the level of guidance and support that I need with a given project and has been a great sounding board through a couple of tough decisions. I have not yet met an academic who is as conscientious and diligent as Wendy is with the level of attention she gives to her research, teaching, and grad students.   I feel as a grad student, she has taken me under her wings in terms of helping me to secure funding and opportunities to further my potential to become successful as an academic. Within the last year and a half (when I started the PhD program), she has included me as a co-author in a book chapter she was invited to write, created roles for me in the grants she has applied for or already has, and connects me with former graduate students/academics who will are helpful in developing my research interests.   Wendy has helped me to write and publish two manuscripts within my first year of the PhD program and I know my writing has improved drastically as a result of working with her. As a mentor, Wendy is very quick at understanding people and has helped me to be able to articulate my thoughts and reasoning more clearly. I also highly value the times she has taken to write with me when it comes to crafting a research proposal and editing manuscripts. I know I can always rely on her for timely replies and feedback. She is also awesome at keeping me on track and focused on the next goalposts.   She supervises several other grad students as well - and I think it would be safe to say that her past and present students are all fans. Other grad students gravitate to her just because she is so knowledgeable and supportive. I have never heard anything but glowing remarks by others about Dr. Wendy Hall and I have seen firsthand that there truly is no exaggeration. She is the exemplar of #GreatSupervisor!

-Christine Ou on Wendy Hall

Having Dr. Van der Loos as my supervisor has made my journey at UBC an invaluable and pleasant experience. In addition to being an unwavering support, he is very patient, receptive and always encouraged me to reach new heights in my academic pursuits. I have learn so much under his mentorship and I could not be more grateful to have him as my supervisor.

-Student on Machiel Van der Loos

Allan is an incredibly supportive supervisor. He never makes you feel like you are not smart (even if you ask silly questions!) and always keeps you optimistic about your project when you have doubts about whether things will work out or not. We are very lucky to have him as our supervisor!

-Student on Allan Bertram

I feel incredibly lucky to have Dr. Phinney as my doctoral supervisor. She is exactly the supervisor I need to be successful. Alison is an internationally recognized scholar and has been able to guide my scholarship  in meaningful and important ways. She has been a fabulous mentor in each step of the research process helping me to fine tune my ideas, questions, and methods - all aligned with what is current and rigorous and important in the broader field. She has been a wonderful guide pointing out opportunities for me to network and learn from some of the top scholars in my field through attending national and international conferences, and colloquia with visiting scholars. She has been extremely supportive in building my confidence and competence as an academic scholar providing feedback in ways that challenge and help me to grow. She is generous with her time, her expertise, and her ideas in ways that make me feel like I am a priority despite all her other commitments. I feel very lucky to work with Dr. Phinney - she has been exceptional in every way possible!!!!!!!

-Shelley Canning on Alison Phinney

She is always available, supportive, and has opened many opportunities for her students including opportunities to teach, present in conferences, and publish papers. She's always there for her students when they need emotional support. She doesn't hesitate to spend her weekends to meet with students and support their academic progress. Above all, she has tremendous trust in her students and has a substantial impact on our self-esteem which directly affects our success in our program of study. I feel very fortunate to have been her student in the past 4 years.

-Student on Jennifer Vadeboncoeur

Dr. Dauvergne is the best supervisor any student could ask for! Always enthusiastic, and makes his graduate students feel like a priority. He encourages creative thinking, gives detailed and thoughtful feedback, and is just an all around great professor! #greatsupervisor

-Student on Peter Dauvergne

I've never met a more inclusive, supportive, and well-rounded individual. Andreas appreciates the role of science and arts in academia and everything he does. He emphasizes the importance of learning through trial and error, not just the end result. He recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of his students, and strives to challenge them to overcome those weaknesses, while allowing them to foster their strengths.  Andreas keeps you on track with your thesis work and timeline, always sets aside time in his busy schedule to discuss progress, and somehow also manages to be an incredible father.  For all these reasons and many, many more, Andreas is a #GreatSupervisor

-Student on Andreas Christen

Dr. Pinar is a supervisor that inspires not only through the words of his writing and speech, but also through the actions of his attitude and the personal relations he establishes with his students.  He makes difficult, thought-provoking questions, but they are always directed at advancing one´s thought and refining ideas. His purpose: to think and write in a way that is honest, rigorous, authentic, significant, and meaningful, which he models in outstanding ways.  He is the kind of person I would aspire to grow up to be like.

-Fernando Murillo on William Pinar

My supervisor has helped me through every stage of the PhD process, she helped me get a laptop when mine was destroyed by a pot of soup (oops). And she secured travel funding, and a four year scholarship with a very generous RA ship throughout my time at UBC. She has been a wonderful encouragement and kind critic of my project and writing. She is also a wonderful advisor on what comes after life as a PHD student. I will be forever grateful!

-Jason Brown on Terre Satterfield

My supervisor is great because I receive valuable feedback on everything I submit to him almost immediately. More importantly, I receive an immense amount of moral support (and even pep-talks) from my supervisor. I couldn't be more happy with my #GreatSupervisor

-Rachele Benjamin on Steven Heine

Peter has been a continual source of intellectual and personal support throughout my graduate studies. He has never ceased to encourage me to think critically, share and defend my ideas, and to seek out new new challenges as I progress in my academic career. I could not be more grateful for his mentorship, friendship, and constant positivity.

-Jonathan Gamu on Peter Dauvergne

Leonie has been a great supervisor, always available to meet and talk, and ready to provide critical and knowledgeable feedback. Her support and guidance has made all the difference for me staying the course with my program, even through difficult and challenging times.

-Lyana Patrick on Leonie Sandercock

The thesis on analysis became complicated and issues could not be isolated but treated as a whole.  He stuck with me and the thesis an extra 3 years as a result of the pursuit of finding answers to a serious transnational problem where the law fails.  He did not narrow it to work not worth my time or money to do.  This was extremely fortunate for the thesis that has an end social human rights mission.  He was excellent in addressing my new findings and came to agree and support my findings fully requiring not only much more of his time, but also wrote references for scholarships, jobs, and reviews.  That meant more work, reading, and writing--but the ultimate success for the work.

-Student on Joe Weiler

What makes a great supervisor?

There are a number of questions to ask yourself when you reflect on your working relationship with your supervisor. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Does your supervisor listen to your ideas and take a deep interest in your progress and development as a scholar?
  • Is your supervisor knowledgeable, inspiring, and a great role model?
  • Does your supervisor challenge you to think critically and creatively?
  • Does your supervisor provide helpful guidance and help you to grow as an independent scholar?
  • Does your supervisor recognize and build upon your unique interests, strengths and experiences?
  • Does your supervisor support and encourage your exploration of and preparation for your future career?

For more information about building a strong working relationship with your supervisor, check out the Handbook of Graduate Supervision.

Supervision Resources for Students

Find more information about working with your supervisor under Supervision & Advising.

If you are looking for a graduate supervisor, visit our Research Supervisors search tool.

Supervision Resources for Faculty

Faculty can find more information about working with graduate students under Information for Supervisors.

If you are seeking graduate students for your projects, be sure to keep your researcher profile up to date. If it needs to be updated, you can log in to the Faculty and Staff Portal to make changes.