Current Council Members

Nico Naus, Faculty of Science

Nico Naus

After completing both my Bachelor and Master at Utrecht University, I started as a PhD candidate in 2015. I’m part of the Software Technology (for Learning and Teaching) group at the department of information and computing science (faculty of natural sciences). In my reasearch, I focus on software analysis, compiler technology and generic end-user feedback systems.
From the start, I have been a member of the PhD council of the Graduate School of Natural Sciences, to improve the position of PhD candidates. The council is in constant contact with policy makers to represent the interests of PhD candidates. I am also part of the PhD council of the national graduate school IPA, and currently I’m founding a departmental PhD council as well.
All graduate schools have PhD councils, which is great, but it is very important that PhD candidates are also represented at university level. The University Council is a great instrument for this, since it has a definitive say in policy decisions.
As we have also stated in our party programme, there are some issues regarding the quality of the PhD experice. Not every PhD candidate has access to good, affordable courses, for example. It is our mission to improve the situation, both for bursary and employed PhD candidates.

Stephanie de Smale, Faculty of Humanities

Stephanie de Smale

My background is in new media and communication studies, doing both my academic master and research master at Utrecht University. In 2015 I started my PhD on moral war games, which is part of an interdisciplinary project between conflict studies, new media studies, and software studies. Early on in my PhD I’ve been actively involved in the Humanities PhD council and since this year I am also chair of the board. One of the things I would like to improve if I would be elected in the University council is to improve the rights of PhD candidates. For instance by embedding the right to obtain a teaching degree (BKO) on a University-level. Currently, the threshold to obtain a BKO is too high, and right for PhDs to obtain their teaching degree is decided on a faculty level, creating inequality between PhDs from different faculties. Equal opportunities to obtain a BKO is especially important because it improves the didactic quality of teaching on the one hand, and increases the position of PhD candidates on the academic job market on the other. However, as we stated in our party programme, this should not be at the cost of the candidates’ research and teaching balance. This is just one point I hope to defend should I be elected as member in the University council.