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actionuni responded to the consultation on the new law for the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education (EHB)

The new law suggests that the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education is being recognized and accredited as a University of Teacher Education.

Our main feedback points were:

  • The new law shall include a paragraph on securing the autonomy of the institution.
  • Not only EHB will be active in vocational education, but shall do so in synergy with existing offers at existing Universities of Teacher Education.
  • A paragraph on proper participation rights for staff and students of EHB must be introduced.

Read the full Vernehmlassungsantwort (German).

Save the date: General Assembly 2019

We invite you to actionuni’s next General Assembly, followed by an Aperó:

May 13, 2018, 4:00-7:00 p.m. in Bern

Location: University of Bern
Building: UniS, Schanzeneckstrasse 1
Room: A 201

We are looking for candidates from all types of universities, in particular from Universities of Applied Sciences and Universities of Teacher Education for the following positions:

  • co-presidents: all university types
  • board members: actuary, treasurer, webmaster
  • Swiss Higher Education Conference
  • Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Student
  • Social Media Coordinator (German speaking if possible)

Please send your letters of interest to: president@actionuni.ch

«Er deutet damit an, dass es an der ETH Zürich einen Kulturwandel geben wird.»

Salome Adam, co-president of actionuni, recognizes the positive intentions of ETH-president Joël Mesot in a recent interview with züriost. Joël Mesot publicly apologized “to those affected by the unprofessional conduct of their supervisors” and presents a set of measures to improve prevention, leadership and the handling of conflict situations.

Read the full article here (German only).

«Die komplexen Abhängigkeiten begünstigen Ausbeutung extrem»

Salome Adam, co-president of actionuni, was invited to comment in the Zürioberländer News on the recent cases of mobbing and plagiarism at EMPA, the independent materials, science and technology research institute of the ETH domain.

Salome states that the complex dependencies of young researchers from their professors aid to cases of exploitation. At EMPA, two professors are being accused of mobbing, inexplicable cases of dismissal of employees, and copying of material from Phd-theses for publication under their own name without citing of the original author(s).

Read the full article here (German only).

Les doctorants de Suisse réclament de meilleures conditions de travail

Maximilien Stauber, secretary general of ACIDUL, University of Lausanne, got interviewed on the recently released position paper of actionuni.

Maximilien claims that “It’s hard to get into a job if you know that potentially, in a year, or even three years, it will be over. These are unstable and often shifting positions. It is necessary all the time to move, one pushes you to do it for criteria of excellence. It’s complicated to manage.

Read the full article at RTS (French only).

actionuni responded to the consultation on the new ETH legislation

actionuni has given feedback on the new ETH legislation. Our main points are:

  • criticism on the plan to increase the flexibility concerning contract duration for PostDocs and Assistant Professors. A minimum of four years in the first contract should be ensured.
  • salary equality within ETH needs to be ensured by the ETH-Rat, also in case of private third party funding.
  • professors may be employed beyond retirement age. However, we demand a new (young) professor must be employed nevertheless.
  • participation must be ensured and voting rights for delegates of the Hochschulversammlung sustained.
  • if a new HR information system is being introduced, data must not be used for any other purposes (e.g. research) without consent of the employees.
  • video surveillance data must not be used for other than its intended use.

Read the full Vernehmlassungsantwort (German).

actionuni der Schweizer Mittelbau strives for clear improvements for the non-professorial academic staff at Swiss higher education institutions!

Today, actionuni der Schweizer Mittelbau publishes its position paper (pdf German / pdf French / pdf English) on the promotion of young researchers at Swiss higher education institutions. The position paper was drawn up jointly with all members and unanimously adopted at the last delegates’ meeting.

Florian Lippke, former Co-President of actionuni and member of the Swiss Accreditation Council, commented: “We are aware that every university faces different challenges and that some are already considering approaches to improve the conditions for young scientists in their institutions. However, we know that there are fundamental problems in the Swiss higher education area for non-professorial academic staff, which we must tackle together.”

Our positions in a nutshell:

  1. Career diversification at all types of universities and alternative careers are needed to give young researchers multiple perspectives for their future.
  2. Professional human resources management will support the separation of administrative from scientific responsibilities.
  3. Double profile research/practice is seen to be of value for all types of universities, not only Universities of Applied Sciences.
  4. Transparency and career advice are needed to guide young researchers early on through the jungle of academic and non-academic careers.
  5. Strengthening of flat hierarchies and inclusive work models will enable us to share scientific responsibilities among all members of the team, from graduate students to professors and chair-holders.
  6. Minimal research time and fair employment conditions reflect that research is work and must be paid.
  7. Compatibility of scientific careers with family and other obligations should be self-evident as universities are role models for other employers and society as a whole.
  8. Participation rights are guaranteed by law and must be supported adequately

Media contacts:
–  Florian Lippke, Tel: +41 76 720 17 70, Mail: florian.lippke@actionuni.ch (D, FR, E)
–  Salome Adam, Tel: +41 79 249 54 33, Mail: salome.adam@actiouni.ch (D, E)

Full Press Release in English, German and French (pdf).

Continue reading actionuni der Schweizer Mittelbau strives for clear improvements for the non-professorial academic staff at Swiss higher education institutions!

Symposium Doctoral Supervision at ETH

Last week, an interesting symposium on the topic of supervising doctoral students was held by ETH in Zurich.

It was discussed, how better training for supervisors can improve quality of supervision, how a contract between the PhD-student and the supervisor can help clarify expectations, how PhD-committees help balance power, which platforms can help strengthen peer-feedback among supervisors and establish a commonly agreed on “code of conduct” for supervisors.

All inputs of the symposium can be found here: https://www.video.ethz.ch/events/2019/supervision.html

We are looking forward to see the ETH and other universities develop this topic further.