During your PhD, there may be times when, for various reasons, you might feel anxious and all alone. To offset this possibility, a support network of colleagues and friends is essential. Building this network of friends may not be so easy at first, especially if you are new to the area. The best way to make new friends is to join activities and organizations (sports, leisure, culture, religious, etc.) that promote the things that you enjoy doing. The PhD Network of the UT (P-NUT) is an association created and run by PhDs with the aim to Inform, Represent and Connect all PhD candidates at the UT.
In troublesome times, it may be good to share your concerns with nearby colleagues and staff from your department. But when you need an outsider to listen to your situation or the challenges you are facing, you can always contact the TGS.
There are some online references to help you through your PhD track:
- The Dutch PhD Coach (Arjenne Louter, with a blog and PhD tips)
- Klaarinvierjaar (Finished in Four, Project Management for PhD students)
- Doing a doctorate (Vitae, realising the potential of researchers)
- PhD Comics (Lots of humour: a comic strip every day and the PhD Movie I and II)
… and more about stress:
- Make stress your friend (TED talk by Kelly McGonigal)
- What, Me Worry? (Stanford Alumni article by Kristin Sainani)
- R. Brewer: Your PhD Thesis - How to plan, draft, revise and edit your thesis. Studymates Ltd., 2007, 219p, ISBN 978-1-84285-070-1
- J. de Bruin and B. Hertz: Project Management for PhDs. Eleven International Publishing, 2010, 140p, ISBN 978-90-5931-619-5
- P. Gosling and B.D. Noordam: Mastering Your PhD: Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond. Springer, 2nd ed. 2010, 154p, ISBN 978-3-540-33387-6
- B.E. Lovitts: Making the Implicit Explicit - Creating performance expectations for the dissertation. Stylus Publishing, 2007, 409p, ISBN 978-1-57922-180-5
- E.M. Phillips and D.S. Pugh: How to get a PhD - A handbook for students and their supervisors. Open University Press, 4th ed. 2005, 220p, ISBN 978-0-335-21684-0
What if something really goes wrong?
IS YOUR PHD AT RISK?
For problems seriously affecting your PhD research and/or personal effectiveness all PhD and PDEng candidates (including employees) can contact the PhD counsellor. After a first screening you may be referred, for example to a psychologist or the company health services.
SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY ISSUES?
In case you experience a matter dealing with scientific integrity (ref. The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Academic Practice) you can consult the webpage on scientific integrity and read the University of Twente Scientific Integrity Complaints Procedure. The first point of contact is the university's confidential advisor for scientific integrity. Possible violations of scientific integrity as well as any follow-up steps can be discussed with him in all confidence.
You can talk to a confidential advisor for advice and support whenever you have to deal with unacceptable behaviour, such as: intimidation, (sexual) harassment, aggression, violence or discrimination, or when faced with a conflict in your work situation connected to such behaviour (ref. the Code of conduct on (sexual) harassment, intimidation, aggression, violence and discrimination).
The confidential advisors can also be a first point of contact when you are not quite sure where to go when faced with a problematic situation. Their names and contact details can be found here.
What if you don’t agree?
In case informal counselling through friends and colleagues, and also the above options do not lead to a satisfactory solution, you are entitled to lodge a complaint or objection as detailed below. This is a formal procedure, and before considering it you are advised to consult one of the confidential advisors who can inform you about the procedure.
A. You may not agree with a particular action (or lack of it). This may lead to a complaint. Your complaint may concern both an 'act' or an 'omission' you believe to have been improper. You may address the matter informally, but may also bring a formal complaint by way of a complaints procedure. You can initiate this procedure by writing a letter of complaint to the Executive Board. Students (including upcoming and former students) are to lodge their complaint with the University of Twente Complaints Desk.
B. You may not agree with a decision impacting your legal position. You may lodge an objection.
Various options are open to you when you do not agree to a decision impacting your legal position. You can respond informally, for instance by discussing your wishes or objections with your direct manager and/or your HR advisor. You may also object formally by submitting a letter of objection to the Executive Board. The formal objection has to be made within 6 weeks after the decision was made known. In the ensuing objection procedure the initial decision will be reassessed. An advisory committee - the University of Twente HR objections committee - advises the Executive Board on the decision it should make on an objection. Should you also disagree with the decision on your objection rendered by the Executive Board, you may bring an appeal against this decision to the district court. Appeal against the decision by the district court can be made to the Central Appeals Tribunal in Utrecht.