Dr Kay Guccione @kayguccione  |  National Teaching Fellow  |  Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

NAMEMy work focuses on linking people together to talk about the things that matter to them.

I specialise in the research and educational design of doctoral supervision and peer-support for doctoral and academic development through my work on mentoring programmes for integrated academic practice. I am a full member of the Association for Coaching, and all programmes align with the AC professional ethical standards in coaching framework, and the ethical code of conduct. I am a National Teaching Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the HEA and teach the principles and practices of mentoring and coaching as core skill-sets for supervision, tutoring and educational practice.

email me to discuss mentoring practice, programme design, mentor/coach workshops, or guest blogging for the Think Ahead Blog or Supervising PhDs blog.

REDS! I launched the Researcher Education & Development Scholarship conference in 2015 and hosted the second annual meeting in October 2016. The third was held in Leeds in 2017, and the 2018 Conference will be held at Coventry University.

guccMy ongoing research/scholarship projects include:

(1) How do graduates percieve the 'value' of their doctorate, what makes doing a PhD 'worth it' to the individual? - a 2019 collaboration with Dr Billy Bryan

(2) Cultural tensions in development of an 'Ethical Researcher' identity in PGRs - 2019 a collaboration with Dr Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt in Medical Education

(3) Defining the boundaries of PGR-Peer Mentoring for researcher wellbeing - a 2018 collaboration with Dr Chris Blackmore, Senior University Teacher in Mental Health - funded by the Senate Fellows' Fund

(4) Trust Me! What constitutes 'quality' in doctoral student-supervisor relationships - Funded by Leadership Foundation for Higher Education 2016

Key Educational Enhancement Projects Think Ahead Mentoring (Lead) #researchmentor
Piloted in 2010 to respond to a reported development need, the programme maintains a pool of 150+ active mentors (senior academics) and over 500 ECRs have completed the programme as mentees. 100% of those who have completed the programme reported positive impact on their career development. I enabled engagement, outcomes and impact tracking by designing bespoke web-based software systems and data management systems. Directly influenced development of the 2016 BBSRC guidance document on Academic Mentoring best practice.

Thesis Mentoring (Lead): #thesimentor #thesisgoals
This programme significantly enhanced provision for struggling doctoral students (400+ participants) and, due to utilising the unique skill set of postdoctoral researchers (200+ trained mentors), also significantly impacted on the numbers applying for and gaining HEA professional recognition. In recognition of this significant contribution to Excellence in Learning and Teaching, I was made a Senate Fellow in 2017.

v i s t a ‘Careers Beyond Academia’ initiatives (Lead): #sheffvista @CareerPostPhD
Comprising lunchtime seminars, an online mentoring platform (bespoke design in collaboration with software engineers), online career profiles, and a Twitter campaign, v i s t a raises awareness of post-PhD career paths. It has collectively engaged 2000+ researchers and 300+ PhD-Alumni since 2012. In recognition I received the Students’ Union Academic Award (2016) for Employability, for which I was nominated by the programme users.

Trust Me! (Principal Investigator): My Trust Me! research investigated the behaviours that are important in building trust and creating 'quality' doctoral supervision relationships. Phase one examined supervision narratives and their impact. Phase two was a case study of how PGR Tutoring can support supervision practice. Both have led to peer-reviewed publication via LFHE and the development of new institutional policies and development activities. An open-access online learning resource for supervisory development, and a public-facing blog also resulted, as well as the face to face workshop for supervisors.

Researcher-led Networks (Lead): #researchwell
(1) Emotionally Demanding Research Network (online Google+ Community — join here) partnered with the Counselling Service
(2) Disabled & Ill Researchers’ Network (online Google+ Community — join here) partnered with the Disability & Dyslexia Support Service
(3) Parent-PGR Network (launching in May 2018) partnered with Parents@TUOS

WriteFest (Lead): #acwrifest2017
The University of Sheffield festival of Academic Writing which brings together people from across the university to celebrate and socialise writing. Since 2015, 600+ researchers and academic staff have engaged with the month-long programme, collectively writing over 500,000 words. In 2017 I formed a partnership with the University of Nottingham, and in 2018 three more partner universities are anticipated.

HEFCE Catalyst Project ‘Raising Awareness, Raising Aspiration: A Targeted Personal Tutoring Support Programme for Narrowing Gaps in Student Achievement and Ambition’. (Co-Applicant and Advisory Board member): @raratutor
The £500,000 project is committed to addressing barriers to student success through access to high quality academic support which includes coaching training, my area of expertise.

Fellowship Ahoy! (Principal Investigator): @fellowshipahoy
I led this multi-institution research project for LFHE, exploring accounts of agency and academic leadership in the development of research career independence. As well as a peer-reviewed report, and articles in ‘Funding Insight’ this research generated a workshop for ECRs that has been delivered at 12 UK research universities, European ITNs and most recently at the University of Fudan, Shanghai.

Consultancy projects I have recently delivered include:


Funding awarded:

  • 2018 (co-applicant) Mental health and wellbeing of international doctoral students in the UK: An investigation of supervisors’ understanding and existing support provision £9,774
    2017 Senate Fellows' Fund Defining the boundaries of PGR-Peer Mentoring for researcher wellbeing £1000
  • 2017 Leadership Foundation for Higher Education 2x Case Study Grants: (1) Aren't they all Leaving Anyway? What's the value of mentoring for Early Career Researchers? (2) Can I speak to you in confidence? How can tutoring play a role in creating cultures of good doctoral supervision. £1,630
  • 2016 Leadership Foundation for Higher Education Small Development Project Grant: Trust me! Academic leadership behaviours in creating ‘quality’ doctoral supervision relationships. £4,966
  • 2014 Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Small Development Project Grant: More than lucky? Exploring self-leadership in the development and articulation of research independence. £5,604
  • 2013 Higher Education Innovation Fund, Industrial Knowledge Forge programme, £21,500
  • 2012 EPSRC Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Fund, Industrial Knowledge Forge programme, £76,873
  • 2011 RCUK Roberts' Fund for Researcher Development, Faculty of MDH, £94,739
Publications & Presentations

Publications and articles:

Recent conference and invited presentations:

  • Better value? Bigger value? How could the value of a PhD be enhanced for different groups of graduates? (October 2018), research paper presented at REDS Annual Conference, Coverntry, UK.
  • Networking & career seeking as Planned Behaviour (October 2018), research paper presented at REDS Annual Conference, Coverntry, UK.
  • Postdocs Can't Supervise! mentoring as an framework for supervisory development in early career researchers
    (July 2018) research paper presented at UK Council for Graduate Education Conference, Bristol.
  • Reimagining the Doctorate: ‘feasible utopias’ for expanded doctoral education (June 2018) collaborative workshop presented at SRHE for the Postgraduate Issues Network
  • Boundaries, Buddies, and Benevolent Dictators within the Ecology of Doctoral Study (March 2018) collaborative workshop presented at SRHE for the Postgraduate Issues Network - workshop blogged here.
  • Early Career Researchers and mental health: unpicking cultures of bullying (January 2018) Disrupting Research Practices Meeting, Coventry University (January, 2018).
  • Formalising informal structures: early career researchers learn to supervise through mentoring (December 2017) research paper presented at SRHE International Conference, Newport, UK.
  • Teach early, teach often: how early career researchers learn to supervise (October 2017) research paper presented at REDS Annual Conference, Leeds, UK.
  • Facilitated session: Designing Mentoring for International PhD Students (September 2017) Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow
  • Unsticking International Thesis Writers: talking out the unseen challenges (March 2017) Keynote speaker. ESRC Impact Accelleration workshop, University of Glasgow.
  • Trust, civility, predictability and visibility in doctoral supervision (February 2017) Keynote speaker. Supervisor Symposium, University of Bristol.
  • Trust me! Mapping the vulnerabilities of doctoral supervision (December 2016) research paper presented at the Society for Research into Higher Education International Conference, Newport, Wales.
  • Trust me! Behaviours that build and break trust in doctoral supervision relationships. (October 2016) research paper presented at REDS Annual Conference, Sheffield, UK.
  • Online media in educational research – opportunities, considerations, challenges. (Sept 2016) Invited workshop for EARLI SIG: Researcher Education & Careers, Porto, Portugal.
  • The knowing-doing gap: tensions in the development of ethical behaviour in doctoral research students. (Sept 2016) research paper presented at BERA Annual Conference, Leeds, UK.
  • More than Lucky: Exploring how post-doc professional networks are activated in gaining research fellowship awards. (Dec 2015) research paper presented at the Society for Research into Higher Education International Conference, Newport, Wales
Professional Awards & Memberships

My professional qualifications, and memberships are:

  • Principal Fellow of the Higher Edcation Academy (2019)
  • National Teaching Fellow (2018). This UK-wide scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on learner outcomes & the teaching profession in higher education
  • Early Career Senate Award for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (2017)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016)
  • Winner of the Students’ Union Academic Award (2016) for Employability (researchers)
  • MA Leadership Coaching & Mentoring. Grade: Distinction (2014) Dissertation: The role of trust in the student-supervisor relationship: developing authority and authorship in doctoral candidates.
  • Full Member of the Association for Coaching (MAC) (since Sept 2013)
  • Member of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (since 2016) - SIG: Researcher Education and Careers
  • Member of the Society for Research into Higher Education (since  2013)
  • Peer Reviewer for Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education ISSN: 2048-8696 (since 2014)
  • Peer Reviewer for Innovations in Education and Teaching International ISSN: 2048-8696 (since 2018)
  • Peer Reviewer for BMC Medical Educaton ISSN: 1472-6920 (since 2014)
  • 2017 ‘Outstanding Reviewer’ Award for Studies in Graduate & Post-doctoral Education
  • 2015 ‘Outstanding Reviewer’ Award for International Journal for Researcher Development
  • THE Awards Winner 2014: Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers (Think Ahead Team)
  • European Mentoring & Coaching Council Mentoring Award: Best Mentoring Programme 2014 (Shortlisted)
  • MBTI Practitioner Level 1 (qualified October 2012)