Annual thesis survey

| Why an annual thesis survey? | Confidentiality | Confidentiality level | Options of answer | Processing of responses | Data use, management and protection | FAQ
 

dreamstime_m_12474660-crop2121x792.jpg
© Ambientideas | Dreamstime

 

Why an annual thesis survey?

 

The primary purpose of the annual thesis survey is to allow each person to express themselves in an environment of confidence.

A doctoral thesis is traditionally the fruit of the collaboration of 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.

Berthiaume_GC-EN.png
modified from Berthiaume et al. (2009)

 

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

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

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

  • Recall the principles laid down in the Code of Practice for the doctorate, in particular by encouraging:
    • regular follow-up of doctoral work at UNIL,
    • constructive discussions between supervisees and supervisors,
    • the diffusion of good practices in doctoral supervision,
    • the respect for diversity in supervisory practice, coming partly from academic freedom and disciplinary specificities.
  • Offer a suitable response for each situation, from both a human as well as a regulatory perspective;
  • Accompany the decisions taken by the respondents, after discussion with the Graduate Campus, and/or the faculty concerned, and/or the competent central services.

 

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

dreamstime_m_69329378-crop2146x993.jpg
© Zerbor | Dreamstime.com

 

Confidentiality

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

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

The data are also not transmitted to any other person or 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 level

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

 

Options of answer

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

 

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

 

Supervisor

Doctoral Candidate

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

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 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 thesis 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 thesis, 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 complete (final private or public defense passed).

I. My doctorate is academically complete (final private or public defense passed).

 

statut.png

Processing of responses

Please see the numbering of the answers in the table above.

Unless you indicate in the comments that you would like an appointment or advice, answers A, B, C and I do not entail any action by the Graduate Campus, the faculty concerned or the Registration and Immatriculation Service (SII).

The answers D and E will de facto invite the Graduate Campus, or the faculty concerned (except in cases of enhanced confidentiality), to contact you to offer to meet.

The purpose of such meetings being, in the first instance, to listen to you, as well as to advise and help you assess your 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. If you agree to it, other services of the university may also be involved, with the aim of providing you with all the help available.

For answers G, and H, either the Graduate Campus, or the faculty concerned or the SII may contact the doctoral candidate directly to confirm the administrative information which needs to be updated in the database.

In case of doubts or changes in the situation, at any time of the year, the Graduate Campus is available to listen to you and advise you: graduatecampus@unil.ch or by telephone: 021 692 21 29.

 

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.

 

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 answers.
 
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 would 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 answer will have no immediate consequences: you will remain a supervisor or a doctoral candidate until an official decision has been validated by the Dean's Office of the faculty concerned.

The only immediate consequence will be that the Graduate Campus, or the faculty concerned (except in cases of enhanced confidentiality), will contact you to propose a meeting as soon as possible.

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

Depending on the situation, the Graduate Campus may recommend you to contact other relevant services such as the Advice and Mediation Office, the HR service, the Equality Office, 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 answer.

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 May-June), you may wait for the next questionnaire.

If you wish to meet us, but do not dare to select answer 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.

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.

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 ».

Thank you for your understanding.

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.

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.

Follow us:  

Contact

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

Dr. Pauline Fritsch

pauline.fritsch@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 next survey will be open in April 2023.

Each answer will be confirmed by an email.

Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne
Switzerland
Tel. +41 21 692 21 29
Fax +41 21 692 20 15