«Ghent University is deliberately choosing to step out of the rat race between individuals, departments and universities. We no longer wish to participate in the ranking of people.»: lo scrive il rettore di Ghent sul sito web della sua università. «It is a common complaint among academic staff that the mountain of paperwork, the cumbersome procedures and the administrative burden have grown to proportions that are barely controllable. Furthermore, the academic staff is increasingly put under pressure to count publications, citations and doctorates, on the basis of which funds are being allocated. The intense competition for funding often prevails over any possible collaboration across the boundaries of research groups, faculties and – why not – universities. With a new evaluation policy, Ghent University wants to address these concerns and at the same time breathe new life into its career guidance policy. […] The main idea is that the academy will once again belong to the academics rather than the bureaucracy. […] We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility. At the same time, we want to pay more attention to well-being at work: the evaluations of the supervisors will explicitly take into account the way in which they manage and coach their staff.» Qualche vergogna per aver rifiutato le logiche della competizione? Paura di essere marchiati come quelli che non voglion essere valutati? Niente affatto. Il Rettore di Ghent rivendica la svolta con l’orgoglio di chi vuole assumersi il ruolo di guida delle altre università: «With this cultural shift, Ghent University is taking the lead in Flanders, and we are proud of it. It is an initiative that is clearly in accordance with our motto: ‘Dare to Think’. Even more so, we dare to do it as well.»

P.S. Le classifiche hanno poco o nulla di scientifico, ma se qualcuno volesse evocare la favola della volpe e dell’uva, ricordiamo che nella classifica 2019 di Times Higher Education, l’Università di Ghent, con la sua 143-ma posizione, precede tutti gli atenei italiani.

https://www.ugent.be/en/news-events/ghent-university-talent-rat-race-transformation-career-evaluation-model.htm

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‘We are transforming our university into a place where talent once again feels valued and nurtured’

(17-12-2018) Our university should once again belong to the academics, rather than the bureaucracy, writes the rector of Ghent University, Rik Van de Walle.

Ghent University is deliberately choosing to step out of the rat race between individuals, departments and universities. We no longer wish to participate in the ranking of people.

It is a common complaint among academic staff that the mountain of paperwork, the cumbersome procedures and the administrative burden have grown to proportions that are barely controllable. Furthermore, the academic staff is increasingly put under pressure to count publications, citations and doctorates, on the basis of which funds are being allocated. The intense competition for funding often prevails over any possible collaboration across the boundaries of research groups, faculties and – why not – universities. With a new evaluation policy, Ghent University wants to address these concerns and at the same time breathe new life into its career guidance policy. Thus, the university can again become a place where talent feels valued and nurtured.

We are transforming our university into a place where talent once again feels valued and nurtured.

With the new career and evaluation model for professorial staff, Ghent University is opening new horizons for Flanders. The main idea is that the academy will once again belong to the academics rather than the bureaucracy. No more procedures and processes with always the same templates, metrics and criteria which lump everyone together.
We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility. The quality of the individual human capital is given priority: talent must be nurtured and feel valued.
This marks the end of the personalized objectives, the annual job descriptions and the high number of evaluation documents and activity reports. Instead, the new approach is based on collaboration, collegiality and teamwork. All staff members will make commitments about how they can contribute to the objectives of the department, the education programmes, the faculty and the university.
The evaluations will be greatly simplified and from now on only take place every five years instead of every two or four years. This should create an ‘evaluation break’.

We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility. At the same time, we want to pay more attention to well-being at work: the evaluations of the supervisors will explicitly take into account the way in which they manage and coach their staff. The model must provide a response to the complaint of many young professors that quantitative parameters are predominant in the evaluation process. The well-known and overwhelming ‘publication pressure’ is the most prominent exponent of this. Ghent University is deliberately choosing to step out of the rat race between individuals, departments and universities. We no longer wish to participate in the ranking of people.

Through this model, we are expressly taking up our responsibility. In the political debate on the funding of universities and research applications, a constant argument is that we want to move away from purely competitive thinking that leaves too little room for disruptive ideas. The reply of the policy makers is of course that we must first do this within the university itself. This is a clear step in that direction, and it also shows our efforts to put our own house in order.
With this cultural shift, Ghent University is taking the lead in Flanders, and we are proud of it. It is an initiative that is clearly in accordance with our motto: ‘Dare to Think’. Even more so, we dare to do it as well.
A university is above all a place where everything can be questioned. Where opinions, procedures and habits are challenged. Where there is no place for rigidity.

I am absolutely convinced that in a few years’ time we will see that this new approach has benefited the overall quality of our university and its people.

Rik Van de Walle, rector.

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5 Commenti

  1. “Negli Analitici secondi Aristotele descrive il comportamento di certi opliti che, davanti alla disfatta e al dilagare dell’esercito nemico, decidono di cessare la fuga e voltarsi per continuare a combattere. Secondo Aristotele tale comportamento, diffondendosi per contagio, ha talvolta il potere di ribaltare le sorti dello scontro e trasformare la sicura disfatta in una insperata vittoria.” (debbo la citazione al blog di un collega che ha deciso di… navigare contro il vento dello Zeitgeist).
    Onore agli opliti di Ghent, dunque.

  2. Cervesato@ concordo totalmente, migliaia di paraculi universitari hanno consentito la lotizzazione del pensiero e della fantasia, l’accelerata sulla banalizzazione da anvur, se pensi che Ferraro fatica a raggiungere 10000 firme e che a Verona in pochi giorni ne hanno raccolte 350 e più contro il congresso sulla famigia tradizionale.. Bravi a scagliarsi contro i nostalgici medioevali ma incapaci di fare resistenza nei confronti di una marea soffocante di burocrati. Onore a Ghent

  3. La decisione dell’Università di Ghent è apprezzabile, ma purtroppo contiene elementi autocontraddittori che ne limitano l’applicabilità e la possibilità di copiarla in Italia. Infatti il Rettore dice “We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility.” Il problema, come è ovvio sta in quel “those who perform well” che implica la necessità di una valutazione, analoga a quella che si intende rifiutare. L’unica soluzione possibile, a mio parere è cambiare il concetto stesso di valutazione meritocratica e adottare quello di adeguatezza al ruolo: anziché valutare se uno permforms well ci si chede se le sue prestazioni lavorative superano una soglia minima prestabilita e nota in anticipo. In questo modello non esistono graduatorie, premi, e neppure mediane, ma soltanto la dimostrazione di svolgere correttamente il proprio compito, e in teoria tutti i dipendenti potrebbero rientrare.

  4. “Non abbiamo nulla da perdere se non le metriche a cui siamo incatenati”
    Si torna a parlare del “modello Ghent” in un articolo di Kathleen Fitzpatrick apparso su Times Higher Education:
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    “But the longer we remain locked into quantitative metrics of faculty excellence and hierarchical rankings of institutional excellence, the longer will we be diverted from articulating our own definitions of “excellence” more in keeping with the deeper, collective values of higher education.”

    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/universities-should-be-working-greater-good
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    So who will be brave enough not only to join Ghent University in refusing to rank people but also to opt out of the ranking of institutions? We have nothing to lose but the metrics by which we are chained.

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