Guest Post ~ Jessica Wing: ‘Beyond the Supervision as a Gendered Space’

GETF is very pleased to welcome our first guest blogger! Jessica Wing is a third-year undergraduate reading English Literature at Homerton College; she is a committee member of the CUSU Women’s Campaign, and Disabled Students’ Officer on the CUSU Disabled Students’ Campaign. In this blog she examines notions of accessibility, how they play out in Cambridge and in the supervisory system, and how [graduate] supervisors might go about addressing them.


Beyond the Supervision as a Gendered Space

Notes toward identifying issues of accessibility across intersections & practical adjustments in a supervision environment

Jessica Wing

Reading the “Mind the Gap” report released by CUSU Women’s Campaign this year has clarified for me some thoughts on the gendering of supervision spaces, something which has irked me since coming to Cambridge in 2012. There exists a problem of “male spaces” at Cambridge, an argument defined and defended comfortably within the report and which will here be, as in the report, used as a baseline for a partial understanding of the intricacies of group dynamics in supervisions across the University. But beyond this, intersections of gender, disability, class, and race are my concern. I shall talk from my own experiences, and therefore not comment specifically on race – but I acknowledge that the experiences of BME students are unique and can yet follow the trends I identify given the particular hegemony of the University space. Lazy or uninformed supervision praxis will reflect the University at large as a bastion of the white middle class heteropatriarchy. Ethically minded approaches to the supervision – a format of teaching and learning that I should not have to underline as being something that I am immensely grateful for the existence of – will bear in mind notions of accessibility that are routinely left out in academic settings as well as society at large. Continue reading Guest Post ~ Jessica Wing: ‘Beyond the Supervision as a Gendered Space’

Let’s talk about supervision sheets!

Welcome to the inaugural post on the Ethical Teaching Forum blog.

It’s Jenny’s and my hope that we can use this space for three main purposes. First, to provide practical support for graduate supervisors across the university: a place where we can discuss problems in the classroom, preparing for supervisions, communicating with students, and negotiating with colleges and faculties. (Submissions of blog posts or more minor questions are very much welcomed: please email getf-admins [at] Second, to open up discussion of pedagogical problems on a more theoretical level, and of the particular political position occupied by graduate supervisors in the university. (Guest posts are welcomed with open arms…) Third, to provide semi-regular updates on the activities of the Ethical Teaching Forum. We’re currently planning out a schedule for the year ahead, and we hope to have an exciting range of events: twice-termly Forums, a few panel events throughout the year, socials, and the creation of an MCR women’s officer network. We’ll keep you posted on how all that goes!

Since term’s just about to begin, I’d like to kick things off here with a discussion of supervision sheets or syllabi: that is, documents given to students before supervisions (or at the beginning of the term or year), detailing anything from the work assignment for that week, to a full syllabus, to the supervisor’s policies and expectations for how supervisions should proceed.* I don’t know how common or universally expected supervision sheets are, in Cambridge’s various faculties and departments; in fact, I don’t think I was ever given one in my time as an undergraduate here, although they were recommended to me in the supervisor training I received at the beginning of my PhD, and I know graduate supervisors and faculty members in my department who use them. Continue reading Let’s talk about supervision sheets!