Supporting Doctoral Researchers' social isolation through a student-led community

Sum, K. 2022. Supporting Doctoral Researchers' social isolation through a student-led community. Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change. 8 (1).

TitleSupporting Doctoral Researchers' social isolation through a student-led community
TypeJournal article
AuthorsSum, K.
Abstract

Completing a doctorate comes with multiple unexpected challenges. Some embrace this independence; others struggle with ad-hoc support and collaborative conversations with peers and colleagues with limited non-academic-based social activities. However, doctoral researchers face the added pressure during the pandemic to continue their research under even more isolating conditions whilst adapting to their makeshift work-from-home environments. Often far from home, doctoral researchers are also at greater mental health risk in addition to the added layer of future fear and uncertainty.

This case study explores the PhD Society, a student-led society at the University of Westminster and how it has so far successfully engaged students to build a community, fostering digital wellbeing, overcoming the perceived barriers faced, whilst actively maintaining the enthusiasm and motivation they once had when applying to graduate school. An example of the student-organised collaborative activity that the PhD Society organised was the virtual conference in April 2021. The scope of this case study is not to evaluate the success of the activity, but rather to highlight the key areas developed by the doctoral researchers and the need for more support for the early careers community.

KeywordsEngagement
Higher Education
Doctoral Researcher
PhD
JournalJournal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change
Journal citation8 (1)
ISSN2055-4990
Year2022
PublisherJournal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Web address (URL)https://journals.studentengagement.org.uk/index.php/studentchangeagents/article/view/1098
Publication dates
Published11 Jul 2022

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