The central aim of the knowledge committee is to provide feedback on the educational program of the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH). This aim is fulfilled in two ways. First, the knowledge committee can be approached by the EGSH to review certain aspects of the educational program, for example the knowledge committee can be asked to provide feedback on a specific course. Second, the knowledge committee gathers feedback on the educational program of the EGSH from PhD-candidates in all departments represented by the EGSH. This is done once a year by providing all PhD-candidates with short questionnaires. The feedback that is provided by these PhD-candidates will eventually be presented to the Programme board of the EGSH. This makes it possible for the Programme Board to further develop the educational programme of the EGSH in a way that better fits the needs of its PhD students.
The Organisational committee of the PhD Council strives towards recognition of the council as an official body within the university. Our task has been to advice the Dean of the Graduate School on all matters that affect doctoral education, by for example providing feedback on courses and improvements for the curriculum. Additionally, we have published a handbook for new PhD’s to provide information on the PhD trajectory. However, until now, our work for the PhD Council has been voluntarily. We believe that institutionalising the Council will provide possibilities to broaden our activities, legitimate our concerns and make it also more attractive for representatives to join the council and voice their issues.
At the start of their career in academia, many PhD students often feel a need to prove themselves. The pressure to publish, present at conferences, organize and teach courses may be overwhelming. Recently, a number of studies have shown that many PhD's (24,9% University Utrecht; 36,5% University Amsterdam) experience mental issues such as extreme stress and anxiety. The PhD Council has therefore decided that mental health should become one of their main concerns. We are supporting a proposal to improve the support that is available for PhD’s and are working together with other councils to organize discussions on the issue, providing contact information, courses and tools in dealing with work pressure.
The main objective of the social committee is to organize stimulating social, academic, cultural and/or sport activities to promote the socialization of PhDs from the departments ascribed to the EGSH. To reach this goal, the Social Committee will act in three ways. First, it will promote participation of the EGSH PhD Community in social events organized by its PhD Council and/or the University. We find particularly important to consider the different interests and preferences across our PhDs Schools before planning each event. Second, it will serve as support network to smoothen the communication with other social committees at the university such as EPAR, the Erasmus Magazine, and other Schools. Third, its members will verify, compile and secure approval for the budgets necessary to carry out each planned activity.
We think that a secure and welcoming start to a PhD trajectory is imperative to building a prolonged sense of security towards one's career. The Welcome committee has been set up to foster a comfortable acclimatization of the incoming PhD candidates of the graduate school in Rotterdam on behalf of the EGSH. The primary goal of the Welcome committee is to provide a secure and friendly start to a PhD candidates' academic journey by making them feel welcomed and ensure they feel at home on campus. The Welcome committee intends to provide a smooth landing for the incoming new PhD's by firstly, giving them peer-to-peer support for all the questions they have upon arrival with regards to, for example, finding the right contact persons for specific questions, getting to know Rotterdam/The Hague, and support in general. Secondly, the welcome committee has come up with an idea to put together EGSH goodie bags, with EGSH merchandise which will be given to the incoming PhD's upon arrival to build a sense of belonging towards their alma mater.