Being a Postdoc at the GCSC
Since the foundation of the GCSC, postdoctoral researchers have played a crucial role at the Centre. Alongside working on their own projects, they are also involved in a variety of collaborative research contexts and international networks. At an early stage in their careers, our postdoctoral researchers already undertake important coordination and leadership roles in cooperation with the doctoral candidates at the GCSC. They work on projects in conjunction with other researchers on-site and also benefit from the GCSC network, which includes renowned institutions at both a national and international level. postdocs at the GCSC are situated in a decidedly interdisciplinary research context, where their work focuses especially on current research concepts and topics within the study of culture.
With its success in the second phase of the German Research Foundation’s Excellence Initiative in 2012, the GCSC further strengthened its commitment to developing the careers of its postdocs. In addition to a lively and dynamic local and international research environment, which includes regular postdoctoral colloquia and opportunities for research stays abroad, postdocs at the GCSC also benefit from the following provision and structures:
The activities of postdocs at the GCSC are varied, covering both research and academic management. Postdocs take responsibility as coordinators at the GCSC. As important contacts not only for doctoral candidates, but also for professors and external partners, they play a leading role in facilitating communication and thereby acquire important skills. The tasks and activities include, for example:
- Coordinating and supporting (inter-)national cooperations and networks
- Taking a leading role in Research Areas and Working Groups
- Coordinating graduate programmes and event offerings
- Advising doctoral candidates with proposals and applications
- Initiating, conceptualising, and organising conferences, workshops, film series, etc.
- Supporting publication projects
- Engaging in external funding applications
- Teaching and mentoring (Introductory/Advanced doctoral courses, research and methodology workshops, colloquia)
- Participating in committees (Equal Opportunities Committee, Selection Committee)
Tailored Offerings and Career Workshops
Holistic career development is just as important as it is challenging for young researchers in academic life today. In coordination with the postdocs, a tailored qualification programme has been developed, which includes core competence areas for a successful career in research and academic management:
- Research and Publishing Strategies
Research is at the heart of the Postdoctoral Qualification. Through tailored formats, postdocs are supported in developing their academic profiles and acquiring important skills for strategic planning, (inter-)disciplinary positioning, and the publication of their research.
[The first workshop on this topic will take place in the Summer Semester 2015. More information will follow soon!]
- Teaching and Pedagogy in Higher Education
The present offerings from the GCSC Teaching Centre are complemented by formats which are tailored to meet the needs of postdocs as advanced teachers. These focus on the provision of higher education pedagogy, which contributes to the further development of their personal teaching styles, as well as the exchange of methodological competences (e.g. task and communication management, learner engagement, and innovative teaching and learning styles). Equally, the postdocs are prepared for higher education teaching formats such as Master’s-level seminars and lectures.
- Third Party Funding
Procurement of third-party funding is an essential indicator for the assessment of researchers in higher education. Accordingly, ways of obtaining funding at both national and international levels are presented in workshops. The associated application and selection processes are clarified, with a practical component to deepen understanding where possible. In addition, the possible pitfalls in the application process and the relevant legal basis are to be discussed, focusing above all on ways of optimising opportunities.
- Higher Education Law (Wissenschaftsrecht)
Knowledge of the principles of university and higher education law is increasingly important for early-career researchers. Insight into the institutional and legal frameworks shaping academic careers within the German higher education system will therefore be provided, with particular focus placed on the structures intersecting at the various levels of federal states (Bundesland), the German state and international law. Of particular relevance here are the spheres of funding and grant management, managerial authority (Weisungsbefugnis) and the internal regulation of the higher education act.
- Communication (Kommunikation)
Reflection upon aspects of academic communication is just as important as the introduction to some fundamental techniques. The aspects covered here include the foundations and conditions of (academic) communication (rules on feedback, techniques for asking questions and an inquisitive attitude), as well as various genres and target audiences in the context of both academic and non-academic communication.
- Leadership (Führen)
By taking on leadership positions within the university, academics will be faced with significant challenges requiring professional and personal responsibility. This area of qualification aims to prepare early-career researchers for this task through a reflective examination of their own leadership roles and the expectations that come with such roles. Among the themes discussed here include staff management and development, decision-making strategies and conflict management.
- Diversity (Diversität)
Diversity as a resource for innovation and creativity is one of the central questions facing universities given the decreasing heterogeneity of students and academics. The objective therefore is to provide insight into both the theoretical foundations of diversity research and also the practical diversity skills required for profile-building, with the areas of gender, internationalisation and social demography among those covered here.
- Networking (Netzwerken)
Academic networks form an essential element of the development of scholars since such networks not only contribute to the formation of research profiles but to the long-term promotion of careers. The themes covered here include the building and maintenance of personal and institutional contacts in Germany and abroad (including examination of country-specific practices), the latest techniques and tools in networking, as well as providing strategic advice on the various forms of contact and relations.
- Application Procedures (Bewerbungs- u. Berufungsverfahren)
Application procedures in general, as in specific cases, too, pose complex challenges for both applicants and institutions. Workshops will explain the frameworks applied in selection procedures and in advertising vacancies, looking at both the German and also the international context, with discussion of official procedures and formal requirements also featuring here. The specific themes include application documents, trial lectures, sample lessons and interviews with selection committees. This section will cover both academic and non-academic application procedures.
Alongside the areas outlined above, the GCSC also offers support with the individual development of qualifications. This includes providing opportunities for individual coaching and specific further qualification opportunities that can be selected and applied for according to need. Furthermore, all postdocs have the opportunity to take up internships and research stays abroad in order to not only develop their own research profile but also to maintain the GCSC Network and contribute to shaping it in a sustainable manner.
Becoming a Postdoc at the GCSC
As well as the postdoc posts offering employment at the Graduate Centre, there is an opportunity for employees with a doctorate working in Faculties 03-05 at Giessen University to become associate members. This status requires members to collaborate actively with the GCSC by making an independent contribution to the centre’s research profile. Informal applications for associate membership can be submitted at any point through presentation of the usual set of application documents (a brief covering letter, an outline of a research project that indicates the relevance to the GCSC research profile, a CV and reference). We look forward to receiving your applications!