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|Name of Organisation:
||Karl-Franzens-University Graz, KFU
|Main implementing organisation:
||Karl-Franzens-University Graz, KFU
|Line of Business:
Catholic Theology, Law, Social and Economic Sciences, Art and Humanities, Natural Sciences
|Number of Employees
|Employees in R&D
|Number of Employees in Top Positions
|Transferability of the initiative||Programme has been taken from another context (i.e. country, sector or size of organization)|
|Programme has already been transferred or will be transferred to another context|
|Type of initiative referring to strategic objectives||individual|
Objectives of the Initiative
The basic idea was to establish affirmative action of promotion of women and to fulfill the goal to implement an all-embracing equality-oriented personnel development approach in university culture.
The broad and long-range career program meets different career stages of female researchers and was organized in a huge set of activities. One of the central parts is the one year lasting career program, on which the named objectives and demonstrable success focuses.
Short term objectives
Assistance on the career development concerning the involved:
Mechanism of status distribution
Access to research profession
Access to prestige
Long term objectives
Changing the fundamental structure of the university to make the access for female researchers transparent and possible.
Which barriers in the career stages of females does the initiative address?
At universities qualification and status distribution (who gets lectures, who gets lecture rooms, etc) do not run parallel and bound to another. In this context despite the high qualification of women they experience disadvantages in the status distribution.
Demonstrable success of the initiative
103 female researchers participated on the career program.
More than half of the participants feel better informed about career perspectives. The majority says that the career program was very helpful in learning skills of self-presentation, rhetoric and moderation but also leading strategies,
One third of the participants feel that the career program helped to get well informed about the organizational structure of the university. They attested that they got insights in the ambivalence of and for women at the university.
More than 70% made career developments or plan them for the near future but most did not see the tempo of reaching milestones (PhD, Prof., and executive Positions) was influenced.
The concept, that participants, experts, teachers and presented role models were only female is supported by the participants.
The project leader sees the next generation of university teachers as women who can start to change the structure of universities.
Motives for launching initiative
The motives to launch the initiative were the general reorganization of Austrian universities in 2000. Former equal treatment policies were organized by the ministries. Now the universities became the status of autonomy and had to develop equality measures by themselves. The very ambitious goal of the (female) Vice-Rector of the University of Graz in that time was to organize additionally to ‘”classical” women promotion the equality program as part of the human resources development of universities – a topic which was not considered by the Austrian university system until then. With this approach equality measures were to be settled in the routine of academic thinking.
Equal opportunity measures in the organisation before the initiative
The Coordination Centre was established in 1994 and has three main fields of activity:
1) Implementation and organisation of Gender Studies
2) Equal opportunities aspects in the contents of research and teaching. Co-ordination, information and PR services to academics and students with focus on gender
3) Child care (Uni-Kid) for university members
Target group(s) of the initiative
Direct target group
Female students and junior researchers
Indirect target group
All members of the involved universities
Implementation of the initiative
The project started 2001 and is a cooperation between the Universities of Graz, which are: KFU as Leading University, Technological University, University of Music and Performing Art. 2010 the program is (again) expanded to the Medical University Graz. The program is a collective wide ranging program for all universities with training initiatives and human resources development measures targeting women.
The program coverses three years in which different modules are offered for all Universities: Two one-year career programs for female junior scientist. 15 days with seminars on the topic equal opportunities, two appeal trainings, gender relevant activities to train gender competencies. Every three years a big event promotes the program.
The agenda for the three years training is fixed by the coordination centres of all included universities in 4 meetings a year. The responsibility for these meetings is at the Coordination Centre of the KFU. For the career program all participating coordination centres discuss the applications of the participants and decide on their admittance. A balanced percentage of participants from all universities are required.
The executives of the academic institutes are seen as important multipliers. They are regularly informed about the program so that they encourage the female scientists in their faculty to participate in these measures.
The main coordination is supported from the Vice-Rector of the KFU. The head of the KFU coordination centre is in charge of the offered activities. They are organized by one part time employee – who started to work in the project in the beginning of the first cycle - at the coordination centre. The necessary infrastructure is offered from all participating universities, the project budget is partitioned according to the participants of the universities.
The initial phase of the program from 2001 to 2004 where exclusively funded from the ESF. The second run through from 2004 – 2006 was funded by the federal ministry to implement the project sustainable in Graz. The following project 2007 to 2009 was again funded by the ESF, this time however only up to 75% of the needed budget. The remaining rest of 25% was added from the participating universities. The project costs for one cycle of three years result in approximately 75.600€, excluded the personnel costs which amount up to 70.000€. Since 2010 a reduced program is financed by the involved universities.
Factors of success
Intense contact of each coordination centre to female trainers and all participants is essential. Former participants are invited to engage in career programs for the upcoming junior scientists (Mentoring) or present themselves as role models. No problems to recruit trainers.
For the participants the factor of success includes to get insight in the structures of the university and to get familiar with the career of a university teacher.
Obstacles, barriers to implementation
A profound implementation process is essential to settle the topic in the agenda of a university. The decision of the federal ministry to finance the second cycle as an implementing cycle gave the opportunity to implement the project in Graz sustainable.
Training and exchange of experience cannot replace all that what traditional individualized promotion relations offer. The latter relations not only transmit information and knowledge but also the important contacts and can be seen as initiation into the scientific community. From there the program cannot be limited to transfer information and skill to female researchers. To reach a lasting improvement for female researchers in the university culture it needs a change in the university structure and system. And this needs time.
It is seen important that the activities focus on several different necessities with varied activities to improve long-lasting the situation for female researchers and transform university culture.
Benefit for the organisation
The image value of the KFU improved with the implementation of the program: KFU is seen as a university which is aware of gender issues and perceived as committed to open and restructure universities towards female researchers and is therefore a role model for other universities, research organizations and companies.
Sustainability of the initiative
After long time of implementing the program with external funding the program is financed from the participating universities themselves since 2010. So the sustainability is assessed in the settling of the project in the universities budget.
The contact to the participants and the trainers ensures that success stories are disseminated and used for further work and will have ongoing effects.
The change is a long process. Now the structural change is not visible jet, but probably with the next generation of university teachers it will. The systematic aspect is to be seen in the cooperation to promote women in science from all Universities in Graz and in the introduction of human resource development in the university culture..
For the university culture in Austria it was an innovative measure to try to restructure and implement the human resource development in the university culture.
Monitoring / Evaluation
Summary: This initiative is good practice because...
The project covers different aspects of promotion of female researchers in universities. It is not only used to promote individual careers but also to communicate structural aspects of careers in university, to foster networks between female researchers and to strengthen the cooperation between all universities in Graz. It is used as an initiative to implement human resource measures in the university culture.
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