Doktorandenkonvent der Universität Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 370
69120 Heidelberg


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Frequently Asked Questions

All denominations for persons, offices and functions used in this FAQ apply equally to all sexes and genders.

§ 3 - Definitions and Classifications

What is a qualification position?

A qualification position is a position as academic assistant at the university which is dedicated to more than 50% for research with the purpose of writing a dissertation.

§ 4 - Executive Committee

Why is the executive committee composed of 11 members?

Both, the interests of the fields of study as well as the type of study should be represented within the executive committee. Since it is not automatically guaranteed that the different types of study are sufficiently represented by the fields of study representatives, in addition to the eight representatives of the fields of study, the positions of three representatives for each type of study were included. Since each field of study comprises several faculties which in turn are subject to individual regulations, the field of study representatives should belong to different faculties. With two representatives per field of study, the executive committee is still capable of taking decisions in case that an individual member drops out.

Why is the Executive Committee composed of representatives of fields of study and not, for example, of the faculty representatives?

One representative per faculty would complicate the cooperative work and thus, limit the committee's ability to act. In addition, experience has shown that there is no guarantee to find a candidate for the executive committee from each faculty. When necessary, a faculty-related working group can handle specific questions, so that the faculty can assert its claims.

Why is there a distinction between types of study within the executive committee?

The Doctoral Convention aims to represent the interests of all graduate students. Since each type of study involves different interests, issues, hardships and demands, each of these types is granted a voice in the committee.

Why are the stipend holders not represented by a distinct board member?

Scholarship holders do not constitute a distinct type of study since this is a form of funding and not a way of obtaining a doctoral degree. As a matter of fact, scholarship holders either pursue an individual doctorate or are part of a graduate program; the two types of study shape the framework of the doctorate the but not the form of financing.

Why is it recommended that representatives at the Graduate Council are also members of the executive committee?

The arrangement aims at facilitating the communication of results from the Doctoral Students Convention. In this way, the Doctoral Convention can be perceived as common body of interest representation of doctoral students by other university institutions.

§ 5 - Election of the Executive Committee

Can I run for several executive committee positions simultaneously and how does it work?

Each candidate may run simultaneously for her field of study and her type of study, but can obtain only one seat. In case that she wins both seats, she will automatically obtain the seat for which she has received the most votes in percent.

Katharina (Chemistry/Individual Doctoral Student) runs for the seat of the natural sciences representative and for the individual doctoral student seat. She receives 300 out of 1,000 votes that were cast by doctoral students of the natural sciences, i.e. 30%. Among the individual doctoral students she receives 500 out of 2,000 votes, i.e. 25%. For both seats she obtains the majority of votes, thus winning the election for both seats. Although she has received more votes for the seat of the individual doctorate in absolute numbers, she is assigned the seat for her field of study.

I am not accepted as a doctoral student by my faculty - can I still participate in the election of the Doctoral Convention?

Unfortunately, only doctoral students accepted by their respective faculty are entitled to vote; this is determined by the State University Law of Baden-Württemberg.

Why can a person be re-elected up to five times?

It should be supported if someone wants to stay committed to the position throughout her entire doctorate. In that way, the continuity of the work of the executive committee is supported. On behalf of the doctorate of the committee members, the mandate should last no longer than six years.

Which type of study do I belong to?

It is not exceptional that a doctoral student belongs to multiple types of study. You can for example pursue individual doctorate or be a member of a graduate program and at the same time hold a qualification position. In this case, you can choose freely for which group you wish to vote. If a doctoral student belongs to two types of study, it is necessary that she opts for a PhD type and casts her vote within this category in order to avoid overlapping of votes.

When and where do I have to decide for which type of study I want to vote?

You decide for which type of study you want to vote at the latest on the election, i.e. at the general assembly when on presentation of the proof of the acceptance as a doctoral student the ballots are issued to you.

How are the seats of the fields of study granted to the different candidates?

Generally, the candidate with the majority of votes will win a seat. However, in order to have representatives from as many different faculties as possible, the second field of study seat will be granted to the candidate (with the most votes) who belongs to a faculty other than the first seat representative.

Alonso (Geography), Barbara (Informatics) and Cem (Mathematics) are candidates for the field of study “natural sciences”. A. receives 25% of the natural sciences doctoral students' votes, B. receives 40% and C 35%. Although C. got more votes than A., A. wins the second representative seat, as C. belongs to the same faculty as B. who won the first seat.

Why is the principle of juniority applied in case of a voting tie?

In order to ensure the continuity of the committee's work, doctoral students at the beginning of their doctorate will be given preference to doctoral students standing at the end of their doctorate, who may need to focus on finishing their dissertation.

Why is it necessary to present at least seven new candidates in case of recalling the current committee?

If a recall of the current committee is initiated (e.g. if the committee neglects its responsibilities), it should be “constructive” (constructive vote of no confidence, as it is stated in the electoral law of Germany), so that the representation of doctoral students' interests is guaranteed.

§6 - Regular Meetings

I want to bring forward an issue of interest to the Doctoral Convention - how should I proceed?

A request for an issue to be put on the agenda for a regular meeting must be sent to the committee two weeks in advance. However, if the agenda has already been published, it is possible to put the issue on the agenda in short notice as long as it does not outreach the time frame.

Why is only the committee eligible to vote at regular meetings?

This regulation ensures that at regular meetings no single group can enforce its particular interests through disproportionate presence. The structure of the executive committee as well as the vote restriction exclusively to the committee members guarantees that all doctoral students are equally represented, even if they cannot attend the regular session.

§ 7 - Working Groups

I want to initiate a working group and/or I have already discussed a specific topic with other doctoral students - how do I proceed?

Once at least three doctoral students determine a topic as important, they may request to establish an official working group; write an informal letter or an email to the executive committee, which then confirms this in the next regular meeting. Motivation and concerns for the respective subject or faculty should be briefly described.

Can I participate in all the working groups in principle?

Yes, except for the faculty-specific working groups to which only the doctoral students of the respective faculty are admitted.

What happens to the results of a working group?

They will be presented at a regular meeting and a summary will be posted on the website of the Doctoral Convention.


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Latest Revision: 2021-01-18
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