What does it mean to be a PhD Representative within an international network?
The motivations of getting engaged in a leading position within a PhD network at university or in an international research network could differ from one person to another. For me, taking the active role of the PhD Representative within the IMISCOE PhD Network was about having the opportunity to benefit from an informal training in a professional environment at an international level. Therefore, besides the implicit benefits of such experience, as networking with colleagues and professors from all over Europe and more, and adding « a title » to my CV, being the PhD Representative for 2016-2017 allowed me to develop or acquire valuable skills, very useful for an academic career.
In this post, I will list the roles and responsibilities of a PhD Representative. Even though these are directly related to my own experience inside the largest European Network of scholars on migration studies – IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion) – most of these tasks are expected to be undertaken by PhD Representatives in general.
- Public Relations role
The PhD Representative is the first contact internal and external for IMISCOE towards its PhD students. He or she has to combine good binding and communication skills to connect with all initiatives and ambitions within the network and Soundboard, outside the network and within IMISCOE.
- Board of Directors, Training Committee and PhD Network Liaising
The PhD Representative has the primary role of liaising with the Board of Directors, the Training Committee and the PhD Network in order to enhance communication and collaboration in decision-making within IMISCOE.
a. Emailing with the representatives of the Board of Directors, the members of the Training Committee and the PhD Network members about the planned activities, pilot projects, logistics and financial aspects.
b. Preparing the PhD Network Newsletter several times per year to inform all PhD students inside IMISCOE (total of 844) about the PhD Network activity
c. Checking with the central office about the use of the PhD Network funding
- Board of Directors Meetings Participation
The IMISCOE Board of Directors represents the highest authority of the network and decides on the network structuring activities. This board meets at least two times during the academic year. The PhD Representative attends these meetings and presents the Mid-term Report and the Annual Report of the PhD Network.
The PhD Representative is required to execute and report the use of the PhD Network budget. An annual report of the expenses of the year has to be presented at the winter meeting of the Board of Directors. During the summer meeting of the Board of Directors, the PhD Representative asks for the budget for the upcoming year.
- Attending and coordinating Soundboard meetings
PhD Representative is part of many decision-making processes inside the PhD Network including Soundboard meetings. The PhD Soundboard is a council of active members of the PhD Network, having regular meetings (usually via Skype) to discuss ideas to be developed, the following steps, to approve what other groups want to accomplish and to support the PhD Representative.
- Active participation to PhD Workshop and PhD Assembly during Annual Conference
As an active member of the PhD Network, the representative contributes to the organisation of the PhD Assembly and the PhD Workshop during the IMISCOE Annual conference.
a. Logistics : the PhD representative in collaboration with the Workshop Committee and the local organisers arranges the logistics related to the PhD workshops
b. Soundboard dinner: the PhD representative organises and attends a final face-to-face meeting with the active members before the PhD Workshop
c. Organising and attending the PhD Assembly and other PhD sessions during the Annual Conference
- Selection process of new members and new PhD Representative
In collaboration with the current members of the PhD Network, the PhD Representative leads the selection process of the new members and the new PhD Representative.
a. Sending the call for application
b. Listing the applicants in the different Working Groups (Workshop Committee, Insights – PhD Blog Team, Nexus-Networking inside IMISCOE, Teaching Reflections)
c. Organising Skype meetings with candidates in order to explain the Representative roles and responsibilities
d. Receiving the applications of PhD Representatives (motivation letter and Representative related skills document) and circulating the applications with the Soundboard members
e. Reorganising the new and former members in the respective Working Groups for the upcoming academic year
- Commitment kind agreement
The PhD Representative is responsible for consulting with previous year’s representatives and informing new representative towards creating the most effective representation for PhD students inside IMISCOE.