I have been having problems with my supervisor, where there are obvious personality clashes and lack of support and communication. Without going into too much detail, my supervisor has been hostile in emails if he thinks I am even the least bit dissatisfied, ignores many of my emails that contains questions, and has placed me as the lowest priority in giving me feedback. I have tried to find another supervisor with the help the coordinator but this was unable to go through. I recently went through an annual progress review and the panel members were of the opinion that a change in supervisory arrangements and faculty intervention was needed and that they would contact the associate dean, however I am unsure if this will go through as the verdict from the postgraduate coordinator said this was not needed. I am unsure as to what my next steps should be. Could anyone advise? Thanks.
Talk with your student rep and students union about your situation. They will have lots of relevant knowledge on the university system and what you can do. Also, it would probably to make a list of your interactions with your supervisor and his lack of support/supervision, so that you have proof when you need it. You could potentially talk with lecturers in your department and see if anyone will volunteer to help you. It is a lot easier to swap supervisors if you have arranged the new supervisor yourself.
I would have to agree that a change of supervisor would be important here. Do you have allies within the panel members? Can you reach out and speak honestly with one of them? How is your relationship with the coordinator? Having conflict with a supervisor tends NOT to go well in the long run. PhD chairs or supervisors can make life very difficult for a student. If you have someone who is higher up who you think could be a resource, that might be another option too. I have been in and around academia as a student and faculty member for 14 years and would also caution you to be politically "wise" or careful. So whatever you do, do it thoughtfully. Good luck!
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