What’s New? A few wins for HDR students!

Monash research students have had a couple of wins thanks to our fantastic graduate student reps on the Graduate Research Committee (GRC), Isaac, Sam and Emily.

Issue #1

As you may or may not know, the University provides individual statistical consulting sessions to all Higher Degree Research students (HDRs) and researchers at Monash. This is a free service that provides one-on-one statistical support/consultation. While it is free, it comes with limited service for PhD students.

Late in 2020, the MGA became aware that the service had been altered to reduce the number of individual consultation hours available to HDRs in favour of generic statistics courses. This can be detrimental for students as the consulting service has a wide range of expertise in different statistical methods to assist students in their PhD projects, while the generic statistics courses just don’t cover the same breadth.

As a result, Monash HDR students complained to the MGA about their lack of access to individual consultations. The MGA raised student concerns with the Graduate Research Committee. The GRC replied that they would put a new system in place. The MGA queried the details of the new system and raised further concerns.

At the last GRC meeting, it was announced that the statistical support service would revert back to its original form, which is to provide 5 hours of free individual consultations for each HDR student, with additional hours available upon request. This is a great outcome, as the service helps ensure the quality of the research output for students, which in turn leads to high impact publications.

Issue #2

This issue is about an anomaly involving students who had transferred from a faculty/departmental scholarship to a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship.

These students found that they were not granted the automatic scholarship extension to 3 years and 6 months that was given to all other RTP scholarship holders as a COVID-19 concession. 

The MGA raised this issue with the GRC who then acted quickly to ensure all eligible students in this position will have that automatic extension applied. Another great outcome, which shows that when there is an issue with University processes, speaking up can pay off!

Additional issues

The MGA is continuing to lobby on a number of HDR issues including:

  • the release of scholarship funds to HDRs who remain overseas because they are unable to travel to Australia due to the Coronavirus restrictions, but have commenced their research;
  • and equity in additional paid leave for part-time HDRs (which has been taken up with the Federal government).

Subscribe to the MGA’s Newsletter HERE for timely updates on the issues we are lobbying for on your behalf.

Join the private MGA Graduate HDR Student Facebook Group to be part of the conversation.