Edited by Pierre Benckendorff and Anita Zehrer
Chapter 33: Supervising a tourism doctorate: roles, realities and relationships
Using some of the concepts of tourism study itself – gaze, emotional labor and critical perspectives – this chapter considers the roles, realities and relationships which underpin supervision at the doctoral level in tourism. The analysis is buttressed by key studies from the now broad array of material written about the supervision process. It is argued that the tourism PhD is a distinct entity with a specific array of challenges in its production and management. These challenges include considering the value and the ethics of the work, meeting the suspicious gaze of sometimes hostile outsiders, and managing the task itself, frequently on a limited budget. The skills of the supervisor and the kind of work they do are represented as high-level emotional, aesthetic and performative labor requiring flexibility and sensitivity to deal with the varied kinds of students who seek to earn a doctorate in tourism. Additionally, the analysis of a sample of micro-cases from the direct experience of the author suggest that supervisors in tourism need to be confident about the whole PhD process and enthusiastic about publishing, as well as possessing a substantial but evolving knowledge base and a solid set of technical skills. Increasingly, supervisors need to be aware of how to manage external and institutional pressures, and be organized but flexible in their approach to different student needs. There is a cliché that the student –supervisor relationship is one of the most enduring in a student’s life; you can get married, divorced, even change your gender, but you have your PhD supervisor as a constant shaping your career. Charged with this unique role, supervisors in tourism now have the opportunity to learn from one another as they create supportive and informed environments for quality work at the postgraduate level. The rewards for all parties are arguably the greatest in any teaching and learning context.
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