Last August, we published the results of our 2019 Survey. We then presented these results to several instances of the Leibniz Association: the section meetings, the administrative board, and the Präsidium. We received a lot of feedback and the presentation started many interesting discussions. One of the first direct outcome of this survey was the creation of the task force “Mental Health” within the Leibniz Association.
Now, it is time to discuss the survey results with you!
We are hereby inviting you to join us on the 15th of December 2020 at 2pm via Zoom to discuss the results of the 2019 survey.
We are all mostly aware of the inherent flaws of the academic system. Short-term contracts, unclear expectations and a real or at least perceived lack of support in situations of conflict are just some of the challenges in the journey of our PhDs. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, hugely impacting our work schedules even more uncertainties around the progress of our research projects arose. It is no surprise that many of us have been feeling under more pressure than usual. Everyone in academia, from PhD candidates to academic leaders and administrative staff, have all been faced with an exceptional situation they may not have been prepared for. In response to these trying times we try to create a greater awareness of potential conflicts and the increased risk of power abuse in academia.
In order to raise awareness of the importance of preventing power abuse, to get a closer understanding of the implications of bad leadership and to come up with some practical advice, the Leibniz PhD Network hosted their second online seminar on 4th June. The topic of the online seminar was “Prevention of Power Abuse – Leadership, Uncertainty of Working Contracts and Conflict Resolution” The online seminar was organised through a collaboration between the Prevention of Power Abuse and Mental Health Working Groups. If you missed it, you can watch it here:
In the online seminar, we were fortunate to have two exceptional guest speakers to share their perspectives:
The online seminar was moderated by Dr. Elliot Brown (Neuroscientist, Scientific Advisor and Mental Health Advocate at Charité Berlin)
This is a summary of the advice given by the speakers on how to deal with bad leadership and power abuse:
Communication – is a two-way process, clarify expectations, ask for feedback, regard information as something that needs to be proactively spread, but also actively demanded, prepare for meetings beforehand and afterwards.
Find out what ‘type’ your advisor is and interact accordingly (see Prof Peus’ talk)
Find Allies – seek (and provide) social support among peers and join networks, like your local PhD network or others
Mentors – reach out to mentors in your field and beyond
Job crafting – Shape your job conditions proactively (link1, link2)
Report power abuse – if lines are crossed, don’t be silent.
Leave for a better place – toxic relationships can be a severe burden, be proactive
If you wonder who else to contact in various cases of conflict, we put together a guide for you that can be accessed here.
From the Prevention of Power Abuse and Mental Health Working Groups of the Leibniz PhD Network: Anja Jahn, Katharina Willenbücher, Anne-Kathrin Stroppe, Nicole Zerrer, Irene Broer, Dolly Montaño, Stefanie Do and Elliot Brown.
In recent times, good scientific practice, good leadership, and the prevention of power abuse have become a controversial debated topic in academia. Inherent flaws in the academic system like short-term work contracts, unclear or unrealistic expectations, and communication conflicts with colleagues, supervisors, or project partners could lead to the abuse of power.
We would like to come into conversation with you on that topic and therefore invite you to our second online seminar on the topic of “Prevention of Power Abuse – Aspects of Leadership, Uncertainty of Working Contracts and Conflict Resolution”. The online seminar will take place Thursday 4th June (this thursday!) at 10:00 am (CET) and has been organized by the working groups “Prevention of Power Abuse” and “Mental Health” of the Leibniz PhD Network.
If you are not able to attend, it is not a problem! We will upload the recorded online seminar so you can (re)watch it.
Our invited online seminar speakers are:
Prof. Claudia Peus (Technical University Munich), Topic: Leadership in Academia
Claudia Peus has been Professor of Research and Science Management at Technische Universität München since May 2011, Senior Vice President Talent Management and Diversity since October 2017 and Vice Dean of Executive Education at the TUM School of Management since April 2014. In her research Prof. Peus focuses on effective leadership and leadership development, research and science management as well as (international) HR management.
Prof. Thomas Rigotti (Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research), Topic: Leadership and workplace insecurities
Prof. Dr. Thomas Rigotti is Professor for Organizational and Business Psychology Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz Professor of Industrial, Organizational and Economic Psychology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Research Group Leader at the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research. His research includes the effects of work flexibility, health-promoting leadership, stress and resilience in the work context, and multi-tasking.
Meetings with the supervisors and chiefs are being held via Skype, Zoom or any other form.
Social meetings with the colleagues or other doctoral researchers are being postponed or done also via internet.
Doctoral researchers cannot do fieldwork or lab work they need to do for their projects.
Workshops and conferences have been cancelled.
Some doctoral researchers are even afraid to lose their job.
Some others are even right now somewhere outside Europe and will probably not be able to travel back in the next weeks.
These and many other things we are living right now as doctoral researchers. We are hearing these stories from colleagues, from doctoral representatives, but also from you.
We are facing a worldwide pandemic with COVID-19, which in many ways has not just affected our work, but us in a multifaceted way. PhD can sometimes be hard, in times of a worldwide pandemic even more. We, as the Leibniz PhD Network and doctoral researchers ourselves, understand this and we are right now trying to support you as much as we can until we overcome this crisis.
Until then, we encourage you to #stayathome and work from home as much as you can. If you have any issues do not be afraid to talk to your PhD representatives. We will provide you additionally with some useful information and links in a new subtab in the weblog. Additionally, we will still publish some articles here, we prepared last year and would like to share with you.
Finally, we would like to invite you to the first online seminar organized by the mental health working group. The online seminar with the topic “Strategies for PhD students and postdocs for copying with the COVID-19 pandemic” will take place on April 9th (this thursday!) at 10.30 am (Central European Time) and will be of course in english and via Zoom. The code you need to entry will be provided by your student representative at your institute. If you are not able to attend, it is not a problem! We will upload the recorded online seminar it in the next weeks so you can (re)watch it.
The invited speakers are:
Dr. Desiree Dickerson (Spain). Academic Mental Health & Well-being Consultant. Topic: Mental health and well-being resources during COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Hendrik Huthoff (Germany). Scientific Manager of the Jena School for Microbial Communication, Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Topic: The day after the COVID-19 pandemic in academia. How could COVID-19 affect doctoral-programmes?
Dr. Nicola Byrom (UK). Lecturer in psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neurosciences at Kings College London. Topic: Managing anxieties and low mood during social isolation.
And the online seminar will be moderated by Dr. Elliot Brown (Germany). Neuroscientist, Scientific Advisor, Mental Health Advocate, and senior research fellow at Charité Hospital & Health Care.
Hopefully many of you can attend the online seminar, if you can #stayathome, and stay healthy!
Around 100 doctoral researcher representatives from around 70 Leibniz institutes and research museums met this fall in Potsdam to exchange experiences, to network, to elect the new steering committee (SC), and decide on the future of our network. To get the full picture, read on!