chapter  11
Supervising projects and dissertations
WithStephanie Marshall
Pages 16

When considering what constitutes good project and dissertation supervision the waiter analogy is useful: a good waiter in a good restaurant is around enough to help you when you need things but leaves you alone enough to enjoy yourself (Murray, 1998). Readers will undoubtedly agree with the sentiments expressed above, as would students reflecting on their desired role for their supervisors in the supervision of projects and dissertations as an integral part of taught programmes (for research student supervision, see Chapter 12). But how is such a fine balance achieved, and is it really possible for a supervisor to attain the ideal of knowing when to be ‘hands-on’ and when to be ‘hands-off’? This chapter seeks to explore this question, first by providing a background to the use of projects and dissertations in teaching, moving on to consider a working definition; and second, by mapping out the terrain – that is, the key issues supervisors need to think through and be clear about prior to introducing such a strategy for promoting learning. Finally the chapter will summarise the key management and interpersonal skills required of the supervisor in order to promote efficient and effective supervision of projects and dissertations.