Diss & Co – The Graduate Center podcast

25 Oct 2021

Diss & Co is LMU’s Graduate Center podcast. It helps doctoral students with useful tips. Dr. Isolde von Bülow and Dr. Simon Märkl explain exactly what their podcast has to offer.

Dr. Isolde von Bülow

MUM: Why did you decide to complement the services on your web pages and in the Graduate Center workshops with a podcast format? What value does that add for doctoral students?

Simon Märkl: Doctoral students ask us all kinds of question about the doctoral process, and some questions crop up again and again. But we feel that just answering them in the form of FAQs is a bit out of date. That’s why we decided to record the most important aspects relating to the doctoral process as a podcast. For us, it was important to provide an accessible service that people don’t have to click their way through.

Isolde von Bülow: And you can be doing other things while listening to the podcast. The radio is often on in the laboratory when students are examining things under the microscope, for example. It is just a really flexible format.

MUM: What content do you deliver? And how is the podcast structured?

Isolde von Bülow: Our podcast covers three main areas. First, we provide practical hints on organizing the doctoral process. We then address issues that touch on fundamental scientific considerations, such as open science and good scientific practice. Third, we examine tangential challenges such as studying for a doctorate while also bringing up a child.

Dr. Simon Märkl

MUM: Do you have any plans to enrich Diss & Co with interviews with doctoral students past and present, getting them to talk about their own experience?

Simon Märkl: We certainly do! We see that as very important, because personal experience, dialogue and testimonials show things from a different angle, creating an intimacy that you cannot achieve with lectures alone. This fall/winter semester, we want to follow through with this pattern, producing a podcast on the subject of “Doctoral studies on a scholarship”.

Isolde von Bülow: The important thing is to showcase not only our services, but also those LMU services that go above and beyond the Graduate Center. We want to make it clear how doctoral students can benefit from all these different offerings, which is why Diss & Co also includes interviews with representatives of other university facilities.

MUM: What are the typical, recurrent problems that doctoral students struggle with and for which you provide help in the podcast?

Isolde von Bülow: To take just one example: It is not unusual for a student to go down with the ‘doctoral blues’ halfway through the process. And we can combat this downer with a ‘mid-term booster’, where other people’s experience puts things back in perspective and encourages them to carry on.

Simon Märkl: Another specter we often encounter in practice is when students repeatedly delay completing their doctorate because they don’t know what they are going to do afterward. Here again, we have offerings specifically designed to counteract such eventualities.

MUM: Is there an English version of the podcast?

Isolde von Bülow: Yes, there is. This is a service we want to offer to incoming and international doctoral students. But we don’t just translate the German content: We adapt it to the special needs of these target groups. We do that in collaboration with other LMU units, such as Gateway LMU.

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