Université catholique de Louvain
Two PhD Positions on ERC-funded project TeachersCareers (Educational Policy)
Université catholique de Louvain
The Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) is internationally recognized for research and teaching quality in many different fields of expertise.
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Published: 1 month ago
Application deadline: Apr 30
Location: Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
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Two PhD Positions on ERC-funded project TeachersCareers (Educational Policy)

The Interdisciplinary Research Group in Socialisation, education and training (GIRSEF) based in the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), offers two doctoral fellowships in the context of the research project TeachersCareers, a five-years research project funded by the European Research Council  (PI Pr. Xavier Dumay, StG – 2016_714641).

This project constitutes the first systematic comparative project in Europe aimed at understanding the changing nature of teacher policy, the evolving status of the teaching profession, and the increasing fragmentation of the labor markets for teachers and teachers’ careers. The study will be conducted in three national contexts (France, England, and French-speaking Belgium), in partnership with Oxford University, IREDU at the University of Burgundy, and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Lyon. ERC granted projects offer the opportunity to build up ambitious research teams addressing new and emerging fields that introduce unconventional and innovative approaches and research problems.

About the project

Existing research indicates a crisis in the teacher supply in many countries which reflects a decline in the relative social and economic status of the teaching profession. The teacher workforce tends to be diversified in terms of the paths for entering the profession (e.g. second-career teachers), contractual conditions and levels of qualification. The growing variation in teacher characteristics is reflected in the increasing fragmentation of the educational provision. High rates of teacher attrition are observed in all modern educational systems, particularly among novice teachers, who are more likely to be confronted with less favorable employment conditions.

In such a context, it is of fundamental importance to understand the occupational and job choices that teachers make in their careers and the role of institutional factors in determining the recruitment of teachers, their allocation across schools and their professional trajectories. This project will initiate a European research agenda by developing the first systematic comparison in Europe aimed at understanding the range of the institutional dimensions affecting the teaching profession and teachers’ careers, and provide a different, broader conceptualization of the evolutions affecting teachers’ careers and the teaching profession within more global transformations of education and employment systems.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To explain the nature of the shifts in teacher policy over the last thirty years in different educational systems (Belgium, England and France) considering the role of the Europe and its “discourse” on the teaching profession and the teachers’ careers (e.g paradigm shift from teaching to learning, the human capital view on education, etc.).
  2. To understand the evolution of the status of the teaching profession and its impact on the diversification of teacher supply in the three different national contexts.
  3. To analyse the processes by which teachers (with different individual, social and institutional characteristics, and preferences) are allocated into increasingly diverse working and professional conditions and the extent to which the matching procedures vary in nature and intensity across the three systems.
  4. To predict teachers’ attrition and migration within a common, but differentiated, multilevel framework as a function of the teachers’ individual objective and subjective characteristics, employment, working and organizational conditions and institutional dimensions.

Research environment

The interdisciplinary (sociology, education sciences, psychology) research group GIRSEF was founded in 1998 at the Université catholique de Louvain. It is one of the biggest research centers on education and educational policy in Europe. The Girsef is organized in three research units: education policy and comparative education, learning and instruction, and work, training and lifelong learning. With 7 permanent staff and regular research seminars, the research unit on education policy and comparative education offers a vibrant environment for research and intellectual exchange.

Girsef is a research center of the UCL, a university with an international reputation in the fields of education and research that promotes the international mobility of people and knowledge in a privileged environment closed to the European capital. In the context of the TeachersCareers project sustained collaborations with Oxford University, the IREDU at the University of Burgundy and the ENS-Lyon will participate to the international environment of the research team.

Responsibilities:

In the context of the Teacherscareers project, the PhD fellows will develop tasks of data collection and will elaborate a PhD dissertation. The PhD fellows will be employed for 48 months full-time, ideally starting on September the 1st 2017, and by the end of this period they will have to submit a PhD dissertation. Each dissertation will be comparative in nature.

PhD 1 candidate will:

  • write his/her PhD on teacher policy;
  • conduct interviews with multiple stakeholders on the European (participants to the OMC) and national (politicians, unions, experts, etc.) scenes;
  • analyze interviews and documents both from a situated (national political trajectories) and a transversal perspective (linking the Europe with national political trajectories);
  • disseminate the project’s results through research papers in international peer-reviewed journals, and communications at national and international conferences.

PhD 2 candidate will:

  • write his/her PhD on teacher supply;
  • conduct analyses of international survey datasets (TALIS, PISA) and national administrative datasets;
  • possibly conduct interviews with national stakeholders to validate interpretations supported by quantitative analyses;
  • disseminate the project’s results through research papers in international peer-reviewed journals, and communications at national and international conferences.

Qualifications:

Applicants must be in possession of a master’s degree in Education Sciences, Sociology, Political Sciences or Psychology, ideally with a research orientation.They should 1) write and speak fluently in English and French; 2) demonstrate experience in fieldwork-based research; 3) have a strong training background in qualitative (for PhD 1) and quantitative (for PhD2) methods; and 4) preferably credit some ability of independent thinking and writing through, for example, reports and peer-reviewed publications.

Selection process

Applicants should submit: a) a curriculum vitae, b) one writing sample (chapter of master thesis, article, paper, book chapter or similar), c) one motivation letter with, among other things, details regarding how the applicant meets the criteria for the position, d) a PhD project concept note (max. 1000 words), e) and the names and contact details of at two potential referees. Applications should be sent to Pr. Xavier Dumay (xavier.dumay@uclouvain.be) before April the 30th, 2017. Skype or face-to-face interviews with short-listed candidates will take place in May 2017. In the subject of the email, please specify the position: “Teacherscareers application PhD 1 or 2”.

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