Balancing Work and Family
In 2013, WU earned basic certification as a family-friendly university as part of the hochschuleundfamilie audit. The auditing process entails a comprehensive review of the measures already in place at WU to help its faculty, staff, and students combine their studies or careers with family life. In addition, we have introduced new programs for employees and students with children, for example dual career services, available to assist the successful integration of the families of newly hired senior faculty. We have also expanded the available medical services, and provide comprehensive information on caring for family members.
To provide even better support for our students, faculty, and staff, we decided to apply for full hochschuleundfamilie certification after expiration of the three-year audit period in 2015. In a series of workshops, the Personnel Office talked to the representatives of all interest groups and with employees from different organizational units about how to make our university more family friendly for students, faculty, and staff. Based on the suggestions submitted by the project group, including improved communication of previously implemented measures and a number of other steps, a target agreement was drafted and evaluated by an external reviewer. Thanks to her positive report, our certification was approved for a further three years from the fall of 2016.
Planning an Academic Career
It’s important to WU that researchers employed on a temporary contract have the best chances for a successful career even after leaving WU. To provide additional support to this group of researchers, we have developed a Career Development program for post-docs. Researchers are invited to participate in the program by the Vice-Rector for Human Resources three years after commencement of their employment at WU. The following modules are available: career consulting, career talks, application seminar, and peer groups. As everyone’s personal and professional situation is different, the Personnel Development Office puts together a customized Career Development package for each individual post-doc researcher.
The participants of the Career Development program found it very helpful. Several of the program’s post-docs have already reached their expressed career goals; one of the program’s “graduates,” for example, has already been offered a professorship at another Austrian university.
Profiting from Experience
Many of our faculty and staff members want to remain active in their fields even after retirement. In 2016, we developed a concept that allows these employees, depending on their qualifications, to continue contributing to WU in custom-tailored areas. This can be in the form of a “Senior Professorship,” which keeps retired professors or professors emeriti connected to the university. In other areas, key members of the administrative and academic staff can continue to contribute their expertise as consultants and “Senior Experts” even after retiring.
Creating a climate of appreciation and respect for all of our faculty, staff, and students is one of our highest priorities. We see the diversity of the WU community as a huge resource and want to make use of the innovative potential it generates. To this end, we have developed a series of guidelines for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Under the terms of these guidelines, we obligate ourselves to:
- Promote a climate of appreciation and respect at WU
- Plan tasks and workplaces to allow employees to make optimal use of and further develop their individual expertise and skills
- Create awareness of inclusion issues at the management level
- Provide mentors to facilitate the integration of people with disabilities in the workplace
- Further expand our medical services and develop a portfolio of programs aimed specifically at employees with physical or psychological impairments
- Offer barrier-free events as part of the in-house training program
- Offer disabled employees the option of temporary part-time work if necessary
- Review the real-life implementation of the guidelines on a regular basis
All WU employees should have a fair chance, even if they have chosen different life and career paths. To this end, we have developed uLiKe, a multi-dimensional performance evaluation concept for faculty members. Under uLiKe, performance-relevant aspects include teaching, knowledge transfer, and university development contributions in addition to the traditional benchmark of research output. Biographical aspects of a person’s life are also factored in, for example periods of part-time employment or career interruptions. The project was selected to receive the Diversitas Award of the Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Economy in 2016.
Research and teaching are key areas of a university’s work, and the most visible. But what about the people in the background, working hard every day to make sure everything runs smoothly? The members of our administrative staff are not as highly visible as our researchers, but it’s their commitment that provides our researchers, teaching staff, and students with crucial services like a high-performance IT infrastructure, a modern library, effective teaching and research support, custom-tailored in-house training programs, or personal support in their everyday work.
To bring some of these people into the spotlight, we have introduced the Team of the Month program, which introduces selected members of the administrative personnel and rewards them for their important achievements.