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Dr Simon Moss

Mel Little

Dr Simon Moss is making time to walk in the shoes of CDU’s PhD candidates by living (as closely as possible) the experience the candidates share..

The Dean of Graduate Studies said he wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the issues faced by higher degree students who committed years of their lives to attain their post-graduate qualifications.

“There is a body of research that suggests when people discuss their problems, experiences and issues, researchers tend to underestimate their impact, in the absence of encountering the same experiences themselves,” Dr Moss said.

“The other reason I wanted to do this ties in with one of the major themes I’m trying to create in the PhD program, which is humility and equality – challenging the status quo, challenging hierarchy, and challenging the notion that simply because someone occupies a position they deserve greater privileges than someone else.”

Dr Moss said the project involved sitting with the students in the (Casuarina building) Red 6 area reserved for higher degree students, attempting to live from the same amount of money they received, and setting up a student account to get a feel for what support services were on offer.

“One thing I found out quite quickly is that the College administrators are fantastic,” Dr Moss said.

“But despite the talent the administrators have for navigating the day-to-day issues our students have, it’s not always easy working here.”

Dr Moss said discussions with the students revealed many creative suggestions about how to generate more appropriate levels of resourcing.

“In achieving humility and equality within the institution and among the cohort that makes such a positive contribution to the research profile of the university, we still have a way to go.”

Dr Moss’ inquiry into the life of post-graduate students is ongoing.