Category Archives: PhD Seminar

Reflecting on the PhD Seminar experience: Building a community of emerging scholars

Guest post by Christiane Rudmann, 2014 PhD Seminar participant and organizing member of the PhD Seminar Alumni Network

IMG_4657 final 2x3When I received the email that I was accepted to ISTR’s PhD Seminar in Muenster in 2014, I couldn’t believe my luck! I had already been working for 2 years on my PhD at a smaller German university that did not have a nonprofit faculty. It will hardly come as a surprise to hear that I struggled to find the “right” literature, the appropriate conceptual frameworks, or like-minded researchers to discuss and eventually advance my project. The opportunity to attend ISTR’s PhD Seminar changed all of that.

We worked in groups of about 6 PhD students with our always-encouraging faculty members, discussed everyone’s project, asked and were asked many of the critical questions. And I believe we all received valuable advice on how to best proceed, solve a problem, rethink an approach, and just get it done.

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What was striking to me is that never before had I had to chance to work with a group of fellow researchers – graduate students and senior faculty – in such a respectful, collegiate, and encouraging atmosphere. We came from many a different country and with that from, at times, very different academic backgrounds. Some PhD students had the chance to work on a daily basis with the leading scholars in the field whom others only knew from the books they were reading for their literature review, yet it was always an atmosphere of true peer support where no question was ever off limits or “too simple” to ask.

I had the chance to attend and present at a few other conferences in the field in recent years, including at ISTR in Stockholm, and have to say that, to me, ISTR provides the most welcoming and encouraging setting for researchers to come together, think critically, and leave inspired for future projects. Yet the most wonderful aspect is that some of those researchers have become some of my best friends.

 

It is in that spirit of friendship and collaborative research that we are working towards establishing the ISTR PhD Seminar Alumni Network. We hope to see many of the PhD Seminar alumni in Amsterdam and are thankful that ISTR made sure all the PhD Seminar students and alumni can stay at the same hotel for the duration of the seminar and the conference, with that, providing lots of opportunities to network and to get to know each other.

 

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Time again for ISTR’s popular PhD seminar

Being a PhD student has never been easy! Learning the ropes, networking, writing and presenting papers, attending courses and much more. For us, when we were students, it was very much learning-by-doing process, and an important source of support in this process were the fellow PhD students and senior scholars we met at conferences and seminars along the way. It is because of these positive experiences from peer support groups that we are so enthusiastic about the ISTR PhD seminars. Therefore we very much look forward to next year’s event in Amsterdam, which takes place two days prior to the ISTR conference at Vrije Universiteit.

To that event we are warmly welcoming an exciting group of around 50 PhD students from many corners of the world. They will present and discuss their projects in a friendly environment facilitated by 12 senior scholars that are all engaged in civil society issues and committed to supporting junior scholars in their endeavors.

PhD Seminar 2014

2014 PhD Seminar Students – Muenster, Germany

Previous seminars have also offered a keynote lecture as well as workshops around various topics. This has been very popular, so we will continue this appreciated tradition. In addition to the work we will do facilitating peer feedback on the students’ research, we are also planning workshops around issues such as getting published, post-doc careers abroad and work-life balance.

However, ISTR’s PhD seminar is not only about projects, workshops and professors giving speeches. It is also a tremendous opportunity where we can create a sound foundation for future civil society research by connecting with scholars from all over the world, supporting and learning from each other, meeting old and new friends and just having a lot of fun.

Pelle-Åberg2

Pelle Åberg Co-chair, ISTR PhD Seminar and Associate Professor, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Stockholm, Sweden

Foto van Ophem

Rene Bekkers
Co-chair, ISTR PhD Seminar
Professor, Director of the Center  
for Philanthropic Studies
Vrije Universiteit
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Regional Network and Affinity Group Meetings

New Regional Network

Members of ISTR’s regional networks will meet on Thursday at 6:15pm.  Just announced is a meeting of those who wish to consider the formation of a new regional network group focused on Russia, Central Asia and the other former Soviet republics beyond the EU’s eastern borders.

To gauge interest, the organizers will convene an exploratory meeting of researchers with interests in this region. The meeting will be held concurrent with the other regional network meetings on Thursday, 6:15 pm, in the Aulan room on Campus Ersta.

Many scholars working on Central and Eastern Europe may well feel at home in the Europe regional network at this point, but would also be welcome to help discuss common issues and the proper boundaries of a potential new regional interest group.

The other existing Regional Networks and PhD Seminar alumni will meet at the same time – Thursday at 6:15pm – on Campus Ersta:

  •  Africa (Sal 2)
  • Asia Pacific (Sal 1)
  • Europe (Stora Salen)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean (Sal 4)
  • PhD Seminar Alumni (Sal 3)

New Affinity Group on Research on Volunteering

This year the ISTR Conference will convene the first meeting of the new affinity group for those with an interest in research on volunteering.  The affinity group is open and free for anyone to join who is interested in networking with a community of academics and practitioners advancing the field of research on volunteering.  The group will meet on Friday at 12:30 at the Ersta Conference Center in Clara Eckerstromstromsalen.

The formation of this affinity group results from an increasing interest in the distinctive features of research on volunteering, an increased awareness that there is a benefit in connecting the diverse research components in the field, and an increased awareness that stronger efforts must be made to build connections among those carrying out this type of research in all regions of the globe.  A major factor underpinning this interest results from the adoption in September of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which recognizes the important role of volunteers in the achievement of the goals and the publication in June of a report by the United Nations Secretary General on Integrating Volunteering in the Next Decade, which calls for increased research and policy action on volunteering.

The other existing affinity groups on Gender and Law and Regulation will meet at 12:30 at the Ersta Conference Center in Norrbysalen and the Biblioteket, respectively.

ISTR Pilot Mentoring Program

ISTR Pilot Mentoring Program

Call for Participation

ISTR is an organization known for friendliness and collegiality – which we hope will be enhanced by our mentoring/hosting program.  The Society will begin with a one year pilot program –that will begin in June 2016 with the Stockholm conference and continue until June 2017. The objective is to assist students with professional development and engagement. See below if you are interested in participating as a mentor or mentee.  All mentors and mentees must be members of ISTR.

Mentors. Mid-career or senior scholars, as well as professionals from outside the academy.

Mentees. Graduate students at any stage of their careers or post-graduates and junior faculty within five years of receipt of their terminal graduate degree (including PhD, MA, and JD).

How it Works

  • Mentors and mentees are matched by ISTR’s executive director.
  • This one-year mentoring relationship is intended for June 2016 to June 2017and will include the annual conference in June 2016, if both mentor and mentee attend this meeting.
  • Participants are encouraged, but not required, to meet once in person at the ISTR International conference.
  • Communications may take place as often as once a month, either electronically or in-person. At a minimum communications will include 3-4 conversations over the course of a year and will include an exchange of experiences and career advice.
  • While reading of dissertation chapters or grant proposals is helpful to every junior scholar, this program defers that labor to the mentee’s local networks. No commitment to reading is required of the mentor in ISTR’s mentoring program.
  • Instead, mentoring conversations will focus on career advice, professional advancement, and facilitating contacts.

How to Sign UP

If you are interested in serving as a mentor or in being a mentee, please contact istr@jhu.edu by June 10, 2016 with ‘Mentoring Program’ in the subject line.  Please include a 3-5 sentence bio that includes your primary research areas and teaching and professional interest areas.

Indicate your preference (mentor or mentee) and we will match people before the conference and send them one another’s contact info.

If you are a non-academic mentor willing to talk about your work and if you are a student or new professional who would prefer to talk with a non-academic mentor, please indicate that preference as well.

Note: ISTR is grateful to the American Society for Environmental History for providing a template for this program.

Time again for ISTR’s popular PhD seminar

The following is a guest post by the co-chairs of ISTR’s 3rd PhD Seminar, which will take place in the 2 days prior to the ISTR Conference.

Being a PhD student has never been easy! Learning the ropes, networking, writing and presenting papers, attending courses and much more. For us it was very much learning by doing and an important source of support in this process was all the fellow PhD students and senior scholars we have met at conferences and seminars along the way. It is because of these positive experiences from peer support groups that we are so enthusiastic about the ISTR PhD seminars.

PhD seminar 2

And, we’re not the only ones to be enthusiastic over this. Since the first seminar in Sienna, Italy, in 2012 the number of applicants has soared. We are therefore very much looking forward to this year’s event in Stockholm, which takes place two days prior to the ISTR conference at Ersta Sköndal University College.

Having served as faculty on the two previous seminars it is with great joy and pride to be involved once again, this time as organizers. This year we are warmly welcoming an exciting group of around 50 PhD students from most corners of the world. They will present and discuss their projects in a friendly environment facilitated by 12 senior scholars that are all engaged in civil society issues and committed to supporting junior scholars in their endeavors.

Previous seminars have offered workshops around various topics. This has been very popular so we will, of course, continue this appreciated tradition. We are presently planning workshops around issues such as getting published, post-doc careers abroad and work-life balance. The seminar this year will also be inspired by the renowned Professor Peter Frumkin who will not only be giving a key note speech, but also join the sessions at the seminar for a day.

However, ISTR’s PhD seminar is not only about projects, workshops and professors giving speeches. It is also a tremendous opportunity where we can create a sound foundation for future civil society research by connecting with scholars from all over the world, supporting and learning from each other, meeting old and new friends and just having a lot of fun.

Johan-Hvenmark2

Johan Hvenmark Chair, ISTR PhD Seminar and researcher, Ersta Sköndal University College

Pelle-Åberg2

Pelle Åberg Co-chair, ISTR PhD Seminar and researcher, Ersta Sköndal University College

Registration Subsidies Available

A friendly reminder that the deadline for submitting applications for registration subsidies is coming up on February 15.

ISTR will offer a limited number of registration subsidies. These subsidies will allow researchers to attend the 12th International Conference for a fee of US $150.

Members from countries on this list and PhD students are encouraged to apply.

Click here to download the form.  Please note that you must be a member of ISTR and must submit a copy of your CV to apply.

The deadline for submitting the form is February 15, 2016.

Questions? Let me know!

registration subsidy email

Preparing for the 3rd ISTR PhD Seminar

ISTR will host its third ISTR PhD Seminar preceding the 12th International Conference in Stockholm, Sweden in June 2016. The aim of the workshop is to provide doctoral students with the opportunity to receive extensive intellectual and methodological advice on their doctoral research, to introduce them to main theories and developments in the field, to reflect upon publication and career strategies, and to provide a unique opportunity to network with junior and senior scholars within the international ISTR research community.

Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim, PhD candidate, School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, participated in the first PhD seminar in 2012 and shares her perspective with this years’ group below.  

The two days of the ISTR inaugural doctoral seminar took place in what is remembered by many participants as a beautiful summer week spent in Sienna, Italy. During that week, the Palio horse race, one of the most famous popular Italian festivals, took place in the old city, providing participants an exciting and romantic setting for their morning walk to the university through the Piazza del Campo.

The doctoral seminar was an intensive two days academic learning experience for over 50 doctoral students and prominent faculty from academic institutions around the world. Students of various stages of research were divided into thematic groups and assigned with faculty familiar with their fields of research. During the sessions, participants delved into the dissertation of each group member and received comprehensive feedback, providing a refreshing outlook and valuable advice for research progress. Working sessions offered students a multi-disciplinary approach grounded in diverse theoretical frameworks. For me, participating in the philanthropy work group in an early stage of my studies was extremely inspirational and enriching.

The working groups were complemented by larger social and informal events such as mutual dinners that exposed participants to various cultures and provided a supportive social atmosphere to encourage the formation of connections between participants and faculty.

Hanna

Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim

 

Gathering doctoral students in various stages in their studies, coming from different institutions, cultures and countries, enriched the academic discussions. It created a fertile environment in which scholarly collaborations, academic cooperation and friendships were formed and carry on to this day. It was a truly one of a kind experience, generating a space in place and time devoted for asking questions and the creation of scholarship. Therefore, I view participation on the doctoral seminar an important professional and social experience that can be enhanced by the following steps: prior to attending the seminar to learn about the themes presented in your session and in other session. Read beforehand the materials distributed so you may engage in a meaningful discussion. As for your own presentation, write down some questions and dilemmas that you would like your group to discuss. Finally, reach out beforehand to fellow students and faculty with whom you share mutual research interests can enhance the creation of professional relationships and future research collaborations. 

Readers:

Did you participate in past ISTR PhD seminars?  

Will you be attending this year?  

We hope you will share your thoughts, advice, and questions with others in the comments section.