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How RUB is relieving pressure on its employees
In order to support its employees with care duties who are under particular pressure during the coronavirus pandemic RUB has been implementing numerous measures right from the start of the pandemic. A new working group spanning several administrative departments is now taking care of the concerns of the recently initiated Parent Network RUB. The Rectorate has also decided that any competitive disadvantages suffered by early career researchers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic should be taken into account in evaluating academic CVs for tenure track, RUB career track, and appointment procedures. The support fund for lecturers will also be continued.
Not just individual cases
Raising children, caring for relatives, housework: on average, women spend significantly more time per day on unpaid care work than men. The gender care gap is an additional challenge for mothers pursuing research careers – an effect that has been considerably intensified by the coronavirus pandemic. “The current stresses that we are seeing for those with care responsibilities on campus are not individual cases, but rather their accumulation indicates a structural problem,” says Professor Axel Schölmerich, Rector at RUB. “We are thus all the more thankful that the Parent Network gives a voice to these issues and raises awareness. This helps to see each individual case in context.”
Those affected can find numerous points of contact to turn to at RUB:
What actions does RUB take?
RUB has initiated several specific measures since the start of the pandemic – for example:
- The support fund for lecturers has since been expanded, it is being increased and continued. Lecturers with care duties can also apply for funds for assistants and teaching assignments to prepare for and conduct their teaching in the coming winter semester.
- With its decision on 29 June 2021, the Rectorate has sent a strong signal to early career researchers: declared competitive disadvantages resulting from family obligations during the coronavirus pandemic are taken into account in interim and final evaluations for tenure track, RUB career track and the appointment of professors when assessing academic performance. “Additional care workload caused by the coronavirus pandemic should be handled in these procedures in the same way as parental leave,” states the decision. The Rectorate is revising its procedure documents accordingly and is calling on all faculties at RUB to implement the decision in a timely manner.
- Other services are being developed in dialogue with the Parent Network RUB. For instance, the children of RUB employees will be given free access to digital care and learning services after the summer holidays.
- Career coaching is offered to postdoctoral researchers with care responsibilities to help them revise and develop their professional profile, and to integrate the impact of the pandemic into their academic CVs.
An overview of all services relating to is available in the internal RUB service portal (login required):
- Family, equal opportunities and diversity (German website)
- Health and safety (German website)
- Support in times of Corona crisis (German website)
- Coaching offer for postdocs with care responsibilities
Channelling concerns better
In order to channel the concerns and suggestions of the Parent Network in a more targeted manner, RUB has established a new central, cross-departmental working group – “Coronavirus and its Consequences for People with Care Responsibilities”. It is coordinated by the Strategic Unit Family-Friendly University within the administrative department for Human Resourcesand Legal Affairs, who collaborate with
- Administrative department 1 on matters relating to teaching
- Administrative department 2 on matters relating to students with children
- Administrative department 3 on labor law issues
- Administrative department 6 on the topics of professional development and leadership
- Administrative department 8 on matters relating to communication.
The Equal Opportunity Commissioner, Friederike Bergstedt, and her team are on hand to provide advice. The Strategic Unit Family-Friendly University is led by Kerstin Tepper.
Call to executives: take care!
Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt highlights the extent to which the pandemic has stretched the world, our country, and each and every one of us to our limits. She is particularly calling on executives in administration and research in their roles as supervisors and role models, and emphasises the importance of increased mindfulness: “We need to look after ourselves and show consideration for each other. Only those who are able to look after themselves well will notice how others are doing and also signal to the team that it is important at this time to stay healthy – both mentally and physically.”
14 July 2021