Tracking Chinese doctoral experiences over time : navigating the Dutch academia
Chan, Tung Tung (2018)
Chan, Tung Tung
MDP in Research and Innovation in Higher Education
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External PhDs are those who are not employed by the university and may be self-funded or funded through scholarships – usually by foreign governments, funding agencies, or employers. In the Netherlands, empirical knowledge about the employment status, academic experiences, career path development and career choices of external doctoral candidates are hardly researched even though they make up almost 50% of the doctoral population, with Chinese being the largest group of external foreign PhDs from outside of Europe. Given their substantial contribution to the Dutch knowledge economy, understanding their doctoral experiences will be useful for the recruitment of, and full utilization of intellectual overseas Chinese. This qualitative study focuses on the doctoral experiences of external Chinese doctoral candidates funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) in various disciplines through 10 narrative interviews. Results show that nine participants experienced positive doctoral supervision and increased intellectual confidence over time. However, the external PhD status inevitably excludes CSC-funded doctoral candidates from developing the institutional and networking strands in the Dutch habitus. The only link between the PhD candidates and the universities is their doctoral supervisors. The lack of institutional engagement is detrimental to the individual’s formation of academic identity and led to an isolated doctoral education experience.
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