As set in the European Charter of Researchers, universities are bound to progress their researchers’ development, whereas researchers are obliged to develop their skills and qualifications. The actions should aim at minimising the employment uncertainty while increasing the employability. The information campaign “HR Excellence in Research at the UW in June” is revealing the initiatives of the University of Warsaw within this field.
The strategy for the scientific career development at the UW is duly presented in the Statute of the University of Warsaw, including the number of positions that are available to academic teachers and corresponding requirements for the positions. As in the 2015 strategy for the researchers at the UW, the university authorities established the Academic Staff Competence Development Section within the structures of the UW Human Resources Office. The funds from the university’s Integrated Development Programme and the “Excellence Initiative – Research University (2020-2026)” programme of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education allowed to prepare a comprehensive training offer for academic teachers.
Didactic and research career development
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the courses mainly covered didactics, and remote education issues. Now the trainings deal with other related areas, e.g. scientific training, courses for specialists and managers, education and science management training, IT training, personal and interpersonal skills training. Recently, we have been developing the offer of language classes, which are really popular with academic teachers,” Joanna Wąsowska, Vice-Director for the Staff Recruitment and Development, said.
In addition, the university offers more comprehensive programmes oriented on particular groups of attendees, such as Deans’ Academy, Academic Education Management Academy, Young Teachers etc.
“It is worth while emphasising that every activity was subject to substantive evaluation by the university experts: Rector’s Plenipotentiary for the Quality of Education, International Management Centre at the Faculty of Management, an advisory group for the pilot programme “Young Teachers”, Integrated Development Programme team, “Excellence Initiative – Research University” programme team, as well as many other teachers and trainers,” Joanna Wąsowska explained.
In 2021, the Academic Staff Competence Development Section had over 1,900 teachers who registered for training. The current educational offer is available on the web pages of the Integrated Development Programme, the “Excellence Initiative – Research University” programme, and the Human Resources Office.
“Those who take part in training usually suggest another necessary course. Year by year we tend to broaden our educational offer,” Wąsowska said.
Planned educational actions:
- a broader educational offer;
- activities focused on individual needs, e.g. tutoring, counselling, coaching, mentoring;
- a programme for research project leaders – consulting and a needs analysis start at the end of 2022;
- under the “Excellence Initiative – Research University”, the programme for young female researchers and teachers to highlight gender equality in science;
- a pilot tool named “Performance Review in Social Sciences” (the “Excellence Initiative – Research University” programme), as in the other partner universities of the 4EU+ Alliance.
Scientific staff recruitment
The University of Warsaw is bound to follow the open, transparent and merit-based recruitment criteria, which are described thoroughly in the European Charter for the Recruitment of Researchers and the OTM-R Questionnaire.
Further, detailed rules and appeal procedures, conflicts of interest, neutral committee members from other organisational units, cancelling a procedure when it might not conform the regulations in competitions for academic teacher positions were consolidated in the Ordinance No. 106 of the Rector of the University of Warsaw dated 27th September 2019.
“The ordinance also introduced a rule stating that a reviewer is indicated by a competition selection commission as well as an obligatory statement of reasons for a competition must be provided. An appeal procedure and possible cancelling of the competition that conforms the regulations marked another milestone towards fair and transparent principles,” Wąsowska said.
Upcoming years goals:
- redefinition of strengths of the UW as an employer and their implementation in the recruitment of researchers in order to attract best possible applicants;
- training and a guidebook for competition selection commissions to specify the principles of the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, thus encourage them to apply both various criteria of evaluation and selection practices;
- an IT tool for competitions and recruitment, which would facilitate online applications and their analyses by the commission members, as well as easier communication with applicants.