Successful examples for personnel development at higher education institutions
Higher education institutions have truly been experts in the field of personnel development, given that for centuries one of their major tasks has been to train young people to become accomplished personalities. However, the expertise of higher education institutions in the fields of coaching, mentoring, career planning and what else belongs to modern personnel management is not employed systematically enough, and moreover, hardly ever coupled to the strategy of organisation. “This is, however, what higher education institutions need if they want to respond to the challenges of autonomy, competition and social responsibility”, says Detlef Müller-Böling, director of CHE. Against this background, some German higher education institutions are beginning to improve the development of their scientific and administrative staff. At a symposium in Berlin, initiated by CHE and Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, stimulating ideas were introduced to an audience of approximately 200 participants from higher education institutions, research institutes, ministries and business enterprises.
In contrast to business enterprises whose personnel development aims primarily at keeping capable employees within the company, higher education institutions have to ensure a certain fluctuation. At least in the scientific sector, what makes good people stand out is that they often change employers. For higher education institutions – as has jointly been agreed upon - it is nevertheless a worthy investment to develop these “human resources”. “What we need is new approaches to the promotion of young scientists and support for vice-chancellors, chancellors, deans and administration employees working in higher education management”, says Müller-Böling.
One such practical example where young scientists were systematically promoted was presented by Hans Jürgen Prömel, vice president of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The university has introduced an incentive scheme which financially rewards professors supervising doctoral theses. Moreover, network meetings and further training offers for doctoral candidates and postdoctoral candidates were established and prizes for successful promotion of young scientists were offered as a reward. In this context, Gisela Klann-Delius emphasized the importance of considering the different needs of female and male scientists. As vice president of Freie Universität Berlin, she introduced a specialised programme for female postdoctoral candidates, which is supported by all three Berlin universities, and has been running for three years. For 12 months, 36 female participants will be prepared for the job of a professor by means of seminars on higher education management, talks with leading figures from higher education institutions and higher education politics as well as by an individual mentoring – and very successfully so far! A first evaluation of the programme has shown that many of the female participants have managed to become professors.
In the same way, also managers in the higher education sector have a particular need for qualification and support. Vice-chancellors, presidents and chancellors must increasingly undertake tasks, which in the past belonged to the responsibilities of the ministries. “Facing the enemy in the own house”– an unpleasant situation for all members of a higher education institution, analyzed Ada Pellert, vice chancellor of Donau-Universität-Krems. Against this background, managers must not only be qualified in handling management tools, but also need management skills. In this area, there is still a considerable deficit which is increasingly filled by individual coaching, many congress participants explain from experience. In this way, Ruhruniversität Bochum has currently conducted a coaching programme for deans, which was so heavily demanded that only a fraction of those seeking counselling got a place.
The visibly increasing need for individual counselling and qualification in the higher education sector is also an occasion for CHE to extend its offer in the field of personnel development. Starting now, the proven further training programme “Higher education course for the higher education and research management” will be extended by the following modules:
Coaching of managers/executives,
Counselling on establishing an internal personnel management in higher education,
Inhouse-training for individually arranged topics of higher education management and higher education development,
One-day specific tutorials for practically relevant topics such as the introduction of tuition fees.