The new measures at a glance

Here below are the new measures proposed by ETH Zürich in order to better improve leadership and handle conflict situations. Speak Up! will closely consider these measures and the weight they could carry in addressing misconduct within the school.

Prevention and leadership

  • Since the beginning of the year, the main selection criteria when appointing new professors are not only excellence in research and teaching, but also in leadership. Any evidence of poor skills in this area will always require additional information or references to be provided.
  • Academic staff and students are to be more closely involved in the appointment process, by inviting them to sit on review panels, and their opinion will be considered in the selection process.
  • A comprehensive induction programme for new professors has been devised and is already in place. A similar programme will also be put together for doctoral students.
  • Leadership skills will be continuously improved through a comprehensive “leadership programme”. This will include, amongst other things, increased attention to questions of human resources management and supervision in the academic environment and an expanded range of management courses and coaching for professors.
  • By 2020 ETH will have multiple supervision for all doctoral students.
  • A new guideline for recruiting doctoral students will help professors to clarify expectations on both sides, as well as rights and obligations.
  • The annual appraisal interview for doctoral students will be made more systematic and will specifically address topics such as leadership, collaboration and professional development.
  • To reduce the dependent relationship between professors and doctoral students, the contracts will be redesigned by 2020 so that it is impossible to put pressure on doctoral students by threatening to withdraw or shorten their employment contracts.

Handling conflict situations

  • From the Autumn Semester 2019 onwards, regular training will be provided for the various ETH contacts and specialist units.
  • The number of ombudspersons has been increased from two to three, and now two (instead of one) trusted intermediaries are available to deal with allegations of scientific misconduct.
  • In future, the Office of Equal Opportunities will focus on promoting diversity and especially increasing the proportion of women at all levels of the university. Reports of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with in future by a specialised reporting office within the HR department. ETH is considering whether to set up an external independent specialist unit as well.
  • The process for dealing with reports or complaints will be revised and streamlined by the summer of 2019. The aim is to ensure that all reports are addressed and if possible resolved within six months.
  • To this end, case management will be gradually expanded into a full team. It will ensure that the right entities are involved and that all parties concerned are kept regularly updated on the progress of proceedings.

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