I suppose the starting point is that a good Doctoral supervisor is someone who can facilitate a ‘good doctoral journey’ for the student. Which begs the question – what is a ‘good doctoral journey’? Based around the Salzburg Principles, a good doctoral journey is one which will:
1. Develop the student as an independent researcher.
2. Immerse the student in a research-rich environment.
3. Provide the student with a global outlook.
4. Enable the student to gain a broad range of skills (including, but beyond, the student’s own discipline).
So the traits/skills of a supervisor might include (not comprehensive or in order of priority):
• Subject expertise and experience of supervision.
• Be supportive, but not at the expense of promoting independence from an early stage. See point 1 above.
• Well-networked internally and externally (see points 2, 3 and 4 above).
• Adaptable. Undertaking a doctorate is a ‘journey’ so a supervisor may have to exhibit different skills/traits in different ‘proportions’ at different times of the journey.
These are just some initial ideas: What do you think?
In addition, the supervisor may be part of a supervisory team (panel or committee), so the team as a whole may offer the appropriate traits/skills, with particular members of the team having more (or less) of particular traits.