PhD candidate 'Building Good Citizenship Through the Invisible Hand of the Teacher’ (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Updated: 4 months ago

PhD candidate 'Building Good Citizenship Through the Invisible Hand of the Teacher’ (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Job description

As part of an integrated research project (in collaboration with the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences/ERCOMER of Utrecht University) and funded by the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO-PROO), the Department of Education at Utrecht University offers a PhD position in Educational Sciences/Educational Psychology. The project aims to understand, by means of repeated classroom observations and sociometric measures, how teachers’ everyday classroom behaviors in primary schools affect students’ classroom and societal citizenship.

PhD project

Dutch schools increasingly serve students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds and thus have the opportunity to foster democratic citizenship. We expect that, next to explicit curricula, teachers’ everyday classroom behaviours have a critical impact on students’ citizenship and that “good” classroom citizenship promotes “good” societal citizenship.
This project combines (extended) contact theory with social referencing theory to examine how teachers’ daily classroom interactions with children of different ethnicities affect the democratic nature of the peer ecology and students more general citizenship attitudes. We investigate commitment (i.e., feelings of belonging and willingness to invest in the group) and acceptance (i.e., liking versus disliking and tolerating others) as two core aspects of democratic citizenship. The proposed study has a three-wave longitudinal design covering one school year (+/- 70 classes, grade 6-7 primary school) and uses intensive classroom observations, self-report, and sociometric measures.


  • Conducting the research (literature research, recruiting schools, collecting and analyzing data, reporting the results), resulting in international scientific publications and a dissertation;
  • Active participation in the research group of the project and of the department;
  • Receiving training (a.o. in the context of inter-university research school ICO and the local graduate school);
  • Teaching (max. 10%) can be part of the position.

  • Master in Educational Sciences, Psychology, Sociology or a related discipline, preferably a research master (completed or nearly completed);
  • Ambition to become a high-potential researcher aimed at excellent scientific research;
  • Social and organizational competencies;
  • Good communication skills (written and oral) and statistical skills;
  • Given the specific target group of this project, proficiency in Dutch and English (for foreign applicants: the intention to reach proficiency in Dutch within a short period of time);
  • Ambition to collaborate with (inter)national partners and to pay visits to these partners;
  • Some experience or affinity with socio-metric measures and social network analysis would be an asset but is not conditional;
  • Finally, some experience with the primary school setting and/or a bachelor for primary school teacher (e.g., academische lerarenopleiding primair onderwijs) analysis would be an asset but is not conditional.


The PhD position will be for an initial period of one year starting June-Sept 2019 (depending on the availability of the candidate) with an extension of three years after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility for 1.0 FTE. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis within four years. A 0.8 FTE for 5 years is also an option. The gross monthly salary starts with €2,325 in the first year and increases to €2,972 in the fourth year (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) of employment with a full-time appointment.

In addition, we offer attractive and flexible secondary terms of employment  such as an annual holiday pay of 8%, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year and partially paid parental leave. Finally, we also provide an attractive working environment and a vibrant research climate. More information is available at: working at Utrecht University .

About the organization A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.


The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands.


The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences  is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas:

  • Behaviour in Social Contexts;
  • Child and Adolescent Studies;
  • Cognitive and Clinical Psychology;
  • Education and Learning and
  • Methodology and Statistics.

More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. 

Additional information

For more information about the PhD position and a summary of the project, please contact Dr. Tim Mainhard, telephone +31 30 253 8761, email .


You can apply by using the button below. Please upload a motivation letter and your curriculum vitae.

The application deadline is 17/04/2019
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