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Cert in Edu(Mal), Dip ESL(UM), B.Ed. TESL(UPM), MA(UPM), PhD(Otago)

Tel +64 3 479 8489

About Vijay


I am the first person outside the United Kingdom to become a UK Council of Graduate Education recognized doctoral supervisor. I am also a founding member of the International Doctoral Education Research Network.

The Otago Doctoral Supervision Programme, which I developed, has been acknowledged to be a highly interactive teaching form that stimulates personal and critical inquiry. It is highly regarded by peers. This is evidenced by the fact that I have been invited to advise institutional leaders and educational developers in 43 universities across 23 countries on how to develop and quality assure doctoral supervision practices.

My teaching and research focus is on enhancing the doctoral experiences both for the supervisors and their students. Over the last decade, I have developed, disseminated, and published on doctoral support, doctoral examination, and feedback practices. My research philosophy is to produce scholarship that has practical implications.

Prior to my 2011 appointment at the University of Otago, I was an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, where I taught courses in Speech Communication, Thesis Writing, and Psycholinguistics.


Postgraduate workshops and consultations

Introduction to the Research Journey, Managing the Writing Process, Preparing for the Oral Examination, Expectations of Examiners, Presenting Research at Conferences, Publishing during Candidature, Doctoral Writing.

Staff workshops and consultations

Providing Feedback in Doctoral Supervision, Preparing Students for the Oral Examination, Assisting Students with the Writing, Providing Quality Doctoral Supervision.


I welcome qualitative research proposals that are related to doctoral education, doctoral examination, feedback practices and use of humour in academic settings.

Current students


  • Anushika Kariyawasam. Application of Content and Language Integrated Learning in Teaching English as a Second language in the Context of Tertiary Education
  • Nick Baker. Writing and reading identities of experienced researchers

Past students


  • Farhana Abu Bakar (2018). The use of humour in teaching and learning in Higher Education
  • Hamidreza Mahroeian (2018). Big data and analytics in higher education
  • Tan Wee Chun (2018). Discourse of viva practices
  • Yassamin Pouriran (2014). Corrective feedback and learner uptake in selected Iranian EFL classrooms.
  • Mohammad Abdul Khaled (2014). Written and Oral feedback in PhD drafts.
  • Saiful Amin Jalun (2013). Discourse realizations of linguistic features in university parlimentary debate speeches
  • Foroogh Azari (2013). Effects of textual glosses on text comprehension, vocabulary gain and vocabulary retention among tertiary level persian-speaking ESL learners.
  • Kanthimathci Letchumanan(2012). Effects of Paper-based and Computer-based Games on the Vocabulary Learning of Young ESL Learners
  • Ali Ziyaeemehr (2009). Humour styles and types in postgraduate academic lectures


  • Rebecca Bird (2017). Exploring the merits of iPad App in HUBS 192 labs
  • Graham O Brien (2015). Reflective practice for post-ordination
  • Sue McKinnon (2014). Feedback for understanding
  • Melissa Higson (2012). Feedback to improve student learning outcome
  • Bathma Dewi (2009). Writer's perception of the think aloud method
  • Balachandran (2009). Effects of scaffolding on the development of similes in descriptive writing
  • Annahita Irani (2009). Questioning strategies in conference presentations
  • Tan Wee Chun (2009). Academic interactions in journal blind reviews
  • Bharathy Viswanathan (2009). Pragmatic analysis of humour in the ESL classroom
  • Mohammad Abdulkhaleq (2008). Effects of word processing on revision strategies
  • Sharon Sharmini (2008). Insights from verbal protocols of ESL writers' responses to written feedback
  • Kelly Tee (2008). Affective written feedback as a process of discovery
  • Logeswari Arumugam (2007). Pragmatic analysis of written feedback
  • Jeremy Ivan (2007). Analysis of lecturer's written feedback
  • Umarani Muthusamy (2007). Concept mapping in composition writing among ESL students
  • Sahar Marwan (2007). Individual learning styles: Insights from vocabulary games
  • Suliana Wan Chik (2006). The acquisition of negation in English by L1 Malay speakers
  • Anne Shamala (2006). Effects of using graphic organizer amongst low proficiency students

Research interests

My research interests are in doctoral support, doctoral examination, feedback practices, humour in academic settings and academic well-being.


Kaur, A., Kumar, V., & Noman, M. (2023). The viability of doctoral thesis and oral exams in student’s native language. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 2271976. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/15348458.2023.2271976

Timmermans, J. A., & Kumar, V. (2023). Learning from senior academics’ perspectives of success and failure. Studies in Higher Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2023.2264864

Baker, N., Kumar, V., & Timmermans, J. A. (2023). Enabling writing behaviours of successful professors: Insights into optimising research writing practices. Innovations in Education & Teaching International. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/14703297.2023.2199022

Kumar, V., Taylor, S., & Sharmini, S. (2023). Conclusions. In V. Kumar, S. Taylor & S. Sharmini (Eds.), Doctoral examination: Exploring practice across the globe. (pp. 187-196). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003197706-21

Kumar, V., & Spronken-Smith, R. (2023). New Zealand. In V. Kumar, S. Taylor & S. Sharmini (Eds.), Doctoral examination: Exploring practice across the globe. (pp. 108-118). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003197706-13

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