University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 345-349
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.0124
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
ShanghaiRanking Consultancy is the official publisher of the Academic Ranking of World Universities since 2009, and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) first appeared in the Shanghai Ranking in 2012 in the range corresponding to the best 500 universities. In 2018, the position of the University of the Basque Country was improved to the top 400. Among other reasons, increasing the number of doctoral theses has been determinative to climb up in this list. In fact, more than 600 doctoral theses were defended in 2017-2018 while 10 years ago this amount was 268. Obviously, the higher the number of thesis, the higher the number of problems is.
An enormous effort has been done to increase the number of doctoral theses not only in the University of the Basque Country but, generally, in Spain and in the European Union. The European University Association published the 2019 survey “Doctoral education in Europe today: approaches and institutional structures” and the document reports on several decision-making processes like research proposals, the selection of doctoral candidates, contract conditions between the doctoral candidate and the supervisor or the funding institution, supervision rules and guidelines, required topics of doctoral training, required tasks of doctoral candidates (e.g. teaching, administration, etc.) and examination rules and guidelines. In relation to the contract conditions between the doctoral candidate and the supervisor or the funding institution, in Spain, the most common situation in the field of Science at universities is a doctoral candidate having a labor contract with an official institution, and the supervisors playing an academic role. In this situation, the supervisors are responsible for the annual evaluation of the activities performed by the candidates. Therefore, candidates play two simultaneous roles as students and as employees.
In this context, the objective of this work is to analyze the different roles of people involve in the formation of the doctoral candidates by considering both points of views: doctoral candidates as students and as employees. In particular, this work focuses a special attention on the responsibility when doctoral candidates show clear underperformance. This underperformance can be related to their autonomy as researchers which could be considered from a strict academic point of view. However, in other cases, underperformance could have a distinct nature and be related to the position of the doctoral candidate as a worker. In that situation, the fulfillment of a minimum work time or even the use of public resources (for instance, high-tech equipment) is an important aspect to be taken into account.
The methodology used is a case-study, and the results show certain confusion when the need of adopting labor decisions (disciplinary actions or even dismissal) emerges from clear underperformance. Thus, the conclusions point to the necessity of find a balance between the efforts directed to increase the number of doctoral theses and the need of keeping good standards of fulfillment.
Doctoral candidates, student-employee doble role, underperformance, academic responsability, labour responsability.