Mentoring and Qualification
GKAT aims at inspiring innovative doctoral dissertations in the field of American Studies, broadly defined. We have devised a multi-level qualification program designed to enable doctoral students to conduct their research in interdisciplinary and international networks and to complete their dissertation within a period of three years. The qualification concept includes measures tailored to academic as well as professional career paths. The research training group will hopefully produce excellent work, help junior scholars launch their careers, and teach them skills that are also useful outside academia. Our approach ties in with the comprehensive concept of graduate training that Heidelberg University has developed in recent years (heiDocs). It is our goal to combine clear-cut structures and cooperative research with a maximum of intellectual freedom for junior researchers.
Our mentoring and qualification program has three key aims:
- To support collegiates in the successful completion of their individual research projects within three years;
- To teach them profound theoretical and methodological skills linked to the various scholarly fields represented in GKAT;
- To equip collegiates with relevant qualifications and experiences which will help them to develop their career prospects both within and outside academia.
After being admitted to the Graduiertenkolleg, collegiates will take residence in Heidelberg and enroll as doctoral students at Heidelberg University. They will earn their doctorates from one of Heidelberg University’s faculties, depending on their academic background and the affiliation of their main mentor.
Both mentors and mentees must consent to the mentorship and sign a mentoring agreement. Collegiates are expected to submit a two-page annual progress report or, alternatively, demonstrate the progress of their work by submitting a draft chapter of their dissertation.
Mentoring: Thesis Advisory Committees
(Please click on the image to enlarge)
In addition to their main mentor, each collegiate will select an interdisciplinary Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). TACs consist of three persons: the collegiate’s main mentor and two other scholars to be recruited from the GKAT faculty or GKAT’s group of Associated Scholars. Postdoctoral Researchers may become TAC members. Collegiates may propose the members of their TAC; all members must agree to serve. The TACs will meet with the mentee twice a year to discuss theoretical, methodological, and content-related issues of her or his research project.
Our mentoring approach is designed to help collegiates to complete their doctoral dissertations within three years. Collegiates will receive advice and feedback in all phases of their research process, including conceptualization, planning of research trips, writing and revision. We encourage collegiates to start their writing as early as possible.
Peer mentoring is an integral component of our approach. Collegiates will repeatedly present their projects and interim findings in colloquiums and workshops. They will cooperate in organizing academic events related to their work on authority and trust. Collegiates will also receive feedback from Associated Scholars, guest lecturers, and visiting scholars at the HCA.
Our qualification concept includes measures tailored to academic as well as professional career paths. These measures encompass mandatory and optional components and relate to three structural levels:
Elements of the GKAT Qualification Concept (Please click on the image to enlarge)
The main objective of our research training group is the successful and timely completion of the collegiates’ dissertations. Collegiates will present their projects at least twice in the course of their three-year affiliation with GKAT. The first presentation will take place early in the program at a weekend retreat attended by collegiates, faculty and associated scholars. The second presentation, envisioned for a later stage of the collegiates’ research, will take place at the weekly colloquium.
We encourage collegiates to participate in colloquia and seminars at international partner universities and other research networks associated with Heidelberg University. Participation in self-organized reading groups and writing workshops is also an option.
In the third year, collegiates will have the opportunity to host an international conference on broader perspectives of authority and trust, followed by a publication of the conference proceedings.
The course program consists of two mandatory classes taught on a weekly basis (2 hours) during the first semester. These courses shall provide collegiates with a set of theoretical and methodological skills in the interdisciplinary foundations of American Studies and the basic concepts of authority and trust. Both classes will be co-taught by GKAT faculty from different academic disciplines.
- "American Studies from an Interdisciplinary Perspective" covers the conceptual, theoretical and methodological foundations of American Studies in relation to neighboring disciplines.
- "Authority and Trust" covers the history, conceptualizations, theoretical foundations and relationship of GKAT’s two key tenets.
These two classes will provide collegiates with a common basis for discussion and cooperation and help them to rethink and conceptualize their individual projects. In addition, collegiates may take part in other interdisciplinary seminars offered at the HCA.
GKAT aims at facilitating qualifications and experiences relevant to professional careers outside academia. Collegiates will have to select two out of six components designed to hone their communicative and organizational skills, including oral presentations, time management, teaching, and writing. These components will be offered by the HCA, the Graduate Academy of Heidelberg University, as well as other institutions at Heidelberg University. While English is GKAT’s working language, collegiates interested in learning German may attend courses at the Internationales Studienzentrum.