Annual thesis survey

| Why an annual thesis survey? | Confidentiality* | Confidentiality levels* | *Limit of confidentiality | Responses options | Handling of responses | Data use, management and protection | FAQ
 

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Why an annual thesis survey?

 

UNIL is committed to ensuring the good management of PhD/MD doctorates within its university.

The primary purpose of the annual thesis survey is to allow each person to express their opinion confidentially.

A doctoral thesis is traditionally the fruit of the collaboration between an experienced person recognised for their research, on the one hand, and, on the other, a person learning and perfecting their practices.
 
Nowaday, completing a thesis also frequently involves a third circle, the one of a doctoral programme (see figure below). At a broader level, we realise that this relationship is also embedded in disciplinary and institutional contexts, set by faculty regulations, as well as in national and cultural contexts. These different levels can sometimes make doctoral training complex, both for the supervisor and the doctoral candidate.

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modified from Berthiaume et al. (2009)

 

The annual thesis survey is done in a logic of support, advice, and listening of this wider context of doctoral supervision.

Since 2018, the annual thesis survey is organised and managed by the Graduate Campus, which acts as the institutional contact for all faculties.
 
The aims of this survey are also to:

  • Recall the principles laid down in the Code of Practice for the doctorate, in particular by encouraging:
    • regular monitoring of doctoral work at UNIL,
    • constructive discussions between supervisees and supervisors,
    • the transmission of good practices in doctoral supervision,
  • To offer a response adapted to each situation, in collaboration with the faculty concerned and/or the relevant central services.

 

Participation in this annual survey is mandatory for thesis supervisors, for each thesis supervised, and is highly recommended for all doctoral candidates.

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Confidentiality*

The questionnaire can only be accessed by login (UNIL username/password) on a secure UNIL platform.

The responses entered by a doctoral candidate are never transmitted to the supervisor, and vice versa.

The data are also not transmitted to any other person nor other service than those listed below, and cannot be used for any other purpose than the annual thesis survey.

All persons having access to the platform are subject to a confidentiality charter which they have signed.

Confidentiality levels*

The answer, as well as any comment entered, are strictly confidential, and can only be consulted by :

 

*Limit of confidentiality

Any person employed by UNIL or an entity attached to it has a duty to inform the Rectorate of serious cases that may be qualified as violations of personal rights (such as cases of sexual harassment) in accordance with Article 321a of the Code of Obligations, in order to enable the Rectorate to take action: the Rectorate has an obligation to take measures by virtue of its duty to act as an employer and is the only one entitled to do so.

As the members of the Graduate Campus and the persons in charge of the doctorate in the faculties are employees of UNIL, they have the duty to inform about such situation of violations of personal rights to the Work and Study Climate Protection officer.

Apart from such a situation, your responses to the annual thesis survey and your communications with any of the persons in charge of the survey treatment will remain confidential.

In case of doubt, please consult the HELP I UNIL website.

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Responses options

The questionnaire consists of one question with several options of responses (one multiple choice question). Below you will find the questions and responses options for supervisors and doctoral candidates.

 

Please note that on the online platform, clickable information bubbles complete each response to clarify the action that it entails.

 

Supervisor

Doctoral Candidate

What do you consider to be the best description of this doctorate at this time?

What do you consider to be the best description of your doctorate at this time?

A. I don’t feel able to judge the situation, good or bad, because this candidate has only just begun the doctorate.

A. I don’t feel able to judge the situation, good or bad, because I have only just begun my doctorate.

B. I continue the supervision of this doctorate and I am satisfied.

B. I continue my doctorate and I am satisfied.

C. I continue the supervision of this doctorate without being fully satisfied, but the situation is manageable without the help of third parties.

C. I continue my doctorate without being fully satisfied, but the situation is manageable without help from third parties.

D. I am not satisfied with the progress of this doctorate, and wish to be supported to resolve the issues.

D. I am not satisfied with the situation surrounding my doctorate, and wish to be supported to resolve the issues.

E. I am considering withdrawing from my supervisory role towards this person, or feel strong doubts about the completion of this thesis.

E. I am thinking of stopping my doctorate, or feel very doubtful about completing it.

F. I am unable to evaluate the current status or progress of this doctorate, because I haven’t had any recent interaction with the doctoral candidate.

F. I am unable to evaluate the current status or progress of my doctorate, because I haven’t had any recent interaction with my supervisor.

G. This doctorate is no longer ongoing (thesis stopped, interrupted, or the candidate has followed another career opportunity).

G. My doctorate is no longer ongoing (thesis stopped, interrupted, or I have followed another career opportunity).

H. This doctorate is supervised by another person (please indicate his or her name in the comments section).

H. My doctorate is supervised by another person (please indicate his or her name in the comments section).

I. This doctorate is academically completed (private or public defence successfully passed).

I. My doctorate is academically completed (private or public defence successfully passed).

Handling of responses

Please see the numbering of the responses options in the table above.

Unless you indicate in the comments that you would like a meeting or an advice, responses A, B, C and I will not trigger any action from the Graduate Campus, nor from the person in charge of doctoral education in your faculty (administratif staff), nor from the Admissions Office (SII).

Responses D and E invite the Graduate Campus to contact you to offer you a meeting, to listen to you and advise you.

The purpose of such meetings being is first of all to listen to you and to help you evaluate the situation. Depending on your needs and situation, the Graduate Campus can provide regular follow-up support to accompany you towards a resolution of your situation. By mutual agreement with you, other services of the university may also be involved, with the aim of providing you with all the help available.

For response F, depending on the time elapsed since your last interaction and on the content of your comment, the Graduate Campus or the person in charge of doctoral education in your faculty may contact you.

For responses G, and H, either the Graduate Campus or the person in charge of doctoral education in your faculty will contact you to confirm the administrative information which needs to be updated in the database.

If you have any doubts or if the situation changes at any time during the year, the Graduate Campus is available to listen to you and advise you: graduatecampus@unil.ch or by telephone: 021 692 21 29.

 

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Data use, management and protection

In addition to the confidentiality rules described above, the data collected during this annual survey cannot be used for any other purpose than the annual thesis survey.
 
The data are stored on servers managed and hosted by UNIL, according to professional security standards.
 
The data, whether collected from a doctoral candidate or a supervisor, are kept for the duration of the thesis, after which they are archived.
 
Any respondent to the questionnaire has, at any time, access to the their own data via the online platform.

 

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FAQ

Does a faculty member (professor) have access to the answers?

No, only members of the Administrative and Technical Staff (PAT) have access to the answers. No professor, nor member of a Dean's office, nor member of the Rectorate, has access to the responses (see the part Confidentiality Levels above).
 
If the situation requires it, these PAT members in charge of the survey within the faculties are authorised to discuss a response confidentially with the vice-dean or the director of the doctoral school, and this solely for the purpose of helping to resolve the situation. This could be the case for answers D and E, or if the comment entered suggests that an intervention is necessary, and if the enhanced confidentiality is not activated.
 
In all cases, data entered by a doctoral student cannot be communicated to his/her supervisor, and vice versa.

Why is the Graduate Campus in charge of the annual survey and not my doctoral school or my faculty? What is the Graduate Campus?

The Graduate Campus team provides direct and indirect support for all doctoral and postdoctoral researchers at the University of Lausanne. A center of expertise on the doctorate, it acts as an institutional contact for all faculties, making the bridge between the Rectorate and doctoral offices within the faculties.

As each faculty has its own doctoral rules, only the Graduate Campus has a global vision and can ensure a homogeneous follow-up for all doctoral candidates of the University.

This annual thesis survey is therefore complementary to and independent of what your doctoral school or your faculty might be asking you.

For more information on other Graduate Campus activities, we invite you to explore our website. You might be interested in all our information regarding the doctorate, or in our workshops, or in our career advice and resources.

What happens if I select (supervisor) "I am considering withdrawing from my supervisory role towards this person..." or (candidate) "I am thinking of stopping my thesis..." ?

First of all, please note that clicking on this response will have no immediate consequences: you will remain supervisor or doctoral candidate until an official decision has been validated by the Dean's Office of your faculty.

The only immediate consequence will be that the Graduate Campus will contact you to offer you a meeting as soon as possible.

The purpose of this meeting will be, in the first instance, to listen to you, to help you evaluate the situation as well as to advise. The Graduate Campus will discuss the possible options with you.

Depending on the situation, the Graduate Campus may recommend you to contact other relevant services such as the Persons of Trust, the HR service, or help you to seek support from your doctoral school or your faculty.

If an end or a change of supervision is desired by either party, the Graduate Campus will be able to advise and accompany you in this process. A change of supervision is not an easy process, but it is not not impossible, if done with the right support.

Since my last response to the annual thesis survey, my situation has changed and I would like your advice, may I contact you?

Yes, the Graduate Campus is available all year round for you. You can contact us directly by email graduatecampus@unil.ch or by phone: 021 692 21 29.

After the last thesis survey, I wasn’t contacted by the Graduate Campus although I would have appreciated to discuss with someone, what can I do?

We are sorry if we have misunderstood your response.

If you wish, you can contact us directly by email graduatecampus@unil.ch or by phone: 021 692 21 29.

Otherwise, depending on your situation and the time left until the next thesis survey (every year in April-May), you may wait for the next survey.

If you wish to meet us, but do not dare to select response D or E, or if you have any doubt, please try to write it explicitly in the commentary, or don’t hesitate to contact us directly by email or phone.

All is going well in my thesis, do I still need to fill in the questionnaire?

Yes, we strongly encourage you to fill in the questionnaire, we will be happy to know that everything is going well for you!

Also, under the current system, if you do not complete the questionnaire, the Graduate Campus will receive an alert and may decide to contact you to check your status.

I am at the Facutly of Arts ("Lettres") and I have already completed my "Thesis Follow-up Report" with my supervisor, do I still have to complete this questionnaire?

Yes, this annual thesis survey is organised centrally for the whole University and independently of the faculties.

As each faculty has its own doctoral rules, only the Graduate Campus has a global vision and can ensure a homogeneous follow-up for all doctoral candidates of the University.

This annual thesis survey is therefore complementary to and independent of the "Rapport de suivi de la thèse" that the Faculty of Arts (« Lettres ») asks you to complete.

I am at the FBM, or HEC, or IDHEAP, or ESC, or GSE, and I recently passed a mid-thesis exam or had a thesis supervisory committee, do I still have to answer this questionnaire?

Yes, this annual thesis survey is organised centrally for the whole University and independently of the faculties.

As each faculty has its own doctoral rules, only the Graduate Campus has a global vision and can ensure a homogeneous follow-up for all doctoral candidates of the University.

This annual thesis survey is therefore complementary to and independent of the mid-thesis exam, or the thesis supervisory committee, that your faculty or your doctoral school asks you to complete.

I supervise MD doctoral candidates, or I am an MD doctoral candidate, am I concerned by this annual thesis survey?

Yes, the annual thesis survey concerns all doctoral theses at UNIL, MD or PhD without distinction.

If you have difficulties to connect to the annual thesis survey platform, please note that you shall use the same login as for the MD administrative platform (platform for validation of the thesis plan, validation of the expert, etc.).

Why did I receive this questionnaire when (supervisor) my doctoral student has finished, or (candidate) I have finished my thesis?

This questionnaire is sent as long as the doctoral student is registered at the University.

Even after having passed the public defence, doctoral students remain registered until they deposit their thesis at the BCU.

We remind you that the deposit of the manuscript at the BCU is compulsory for the diploma to be delivered, and that the payment of the registration fees is due until then.

I am a supervisor and I can't find one of my doctoral candidates in my list of questionnaires to fill in, is this normal?

There can be several reasons for this.

The first reason is if your doctoral candidate has only recently started his/her thesis and has not yet completed the registration process with the Admissions Office (Service des Immatriculations et Inscriptions, SII). Please note that a doctoral candidate is formally registered only after having paid his/her semester fees.

Moreover, during the whole duration of their doctorate, if your doctoral candidate forgets to pay their semester fees, then he or she will be exmmatriculated by the SII and will no longer appear in the list of ongoing doctorates. Please contact your doctoral candidate and advise him/her to rectify his/her status with the SII as soon as possible. They may have to pay a processing fee.

 

Another reason is if you are the co-supervisor of this doctoral candidate.

The system does not currently allow us to send the annual survey questionnaire to the co-supervisor in addition to the one sent to the person indicated as the director (main supervisor) in the PhD form (directeur·trice dans l’attestation de thèse).

If you are co-supervisor, we encouraged you to contact the main director and develop a joint response to be entered into the annual survey application by the director.

 

If none of the above reasons seem to fit, then there may be an error in the administrative database. Please contact us by email graduatecampus@unil.ch or by phone: 021 692 21 29.

Why don't the thesis co-supervisors receive the annual thesis survey questionnaire?

The system does not currently allow us to send the annual survey questionnaire to the co-supervisor in addition to the one sent to the person indicated as the director (main supervisor) in the PhD form (directeur·trice dans l’attestation de thèse).

If you are co-supervisor, we encouraged you to contact the main director and develop a joint response to be entered into the annual survey application by the director.

Why can't I connect to the platform and why do I get a 403 error message?

You are receiving this identification error message probably because you are based at the CHUV, or at the Ophthalmic Hospital, or at Unisanté, or at the HES-SO, or in another partner institution.

Although you have the double status of being a member of UNIL and a member of this partner institution, our current IT system cannot recognize your username and password of the partner institution.

We are aware of the inconvenience and we are working on a future solution. In the meantime, please follow the detailed instructions on the error page to reconnect as a « Member of UNIL ».

Please note : if you are supervising MD thesis or if you are a MD doctoral candidate, you shall use the same login as for the MD administrative platform (platform for validation of the thesis plan, validation of the expert, etc.).

If after several attempts you are still unable to log in, please contact us by email graduatecampus@unil.ch or by phone: 021 692 21 29. In such case, we can send you the questionnaire as a PDF file to fill up.

I still have questions or doubts, may I contact you?

Yes, the Graduate Campus is available for you all year round!

You can contact us directly by email graduatecampus@unil.ch or by phone: 021 692 21 29.

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Contact

For any queries regarding the annual thesis survey, please contact:

Dr. Pauline Fritsch

pauline.fritsch@unil.ch

graduatecampus@unil.ch


+41 21 692 21 29

How it works

The access link will be sent to each person concerned (doctoral candidate and supervisor) by email (to their email @unil.ch) on the launching day, along with instructions.

The 2023 annual survey is over. The next survey will open in April/May 2024.

Each answer will be confirmed by an email.

2022 Report

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Please find here the first Activity report on this Annual Thesis Survey tool.

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Tel. +41 21 692 21 29
Fax +41 21 692 20 15