Summary of the Qualitative Responses from Female Faculty Network Twente Survey
Lunch meeting May 24th 2005
On May 24th 2005 an informative lunch meeting was organised that aimed at getting insight in the needs of female faculty in which the Female Faculty Network Twente could possibly support. Several themes were discussed in smaller groups, and participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire. The following summary includes qualitative responses of the questionnaire of 32 respondents. The FFNT committee will use these suggestions and ideas in composing a program of activities.
Qualities of professional females in academia
To achieve professionalism in academia the following qualities need to be developed (question 2)
1.One of the key skills mentioned is the networking skill. According to many females, it is not very natural for women to be a good networker. Therefore, it is one of the skills that many of females would like to learn. Especially, extra-organizational networking is of interest. This type of networking is important for acquiring research grants, etc. which also contributes to one’s career growth.
2.Leadership skill is another highly important skill for women to learn. Female respondents especially mentioned Academic Leadership and/or leadership in Academia, as well as managing politics.
3.Negotiation skill was associated with an art of saying “no,” debating, and more straightforward dealing with colleagues and other professionals.
4.Career development, was also mentioned as a skill. It is a skill of how to plan one’s career more effectively. One of the ways to learn more about this skill could be to hear successful women talking about their experiences in career development and growth. It is also important to hear why some women refused a “big” career.
5. Time management skill is important, since women usually tend to combine many responsibilities, and have difficulty to refuse being of help to others.
6.Personal skills. Among them is how to raise self-confidence, handling (and providing) criticism, and being more assertive and confident. Also, how to capitalize on being a women in academia, how to behave in a male culture, understand how men see females at work.
7.Specific academic skills. These skills include: publishing, teaching, i.e. problem-oriented education, research skills.
8.Writing successful proposals.
Which situations make you insecure (question 2b) ?
•Insecurity is mainly caused by our (female) shyness. Conferences, and other public as well as professional gatherings make many women insecure and shy. Networking feels very uncomfortable for many of them. One respondent even mentioned that dealing with people in general makes her feel insecure: “there is a risk of making a mistake that would affect people.”
•Academic ambitions include more research responsibilities, and a higher position in an academic career ladder.
What do you think of the planning of the network activities (question 4) ?
•The current program is good, although very ambitions. It will be difficult for all women to attend all events. It will be especially difficult to attend those meetings that are scheduled for a full day, or on Fridays. For professors lunch meetings are not possible.
•The workshops from which one can learn are the most interesting. One respondent mentioned that may be having a meeting every month is too much. 1 conference, 1 workshop, 4 lunch-meetings and some get-together may be sufficient.
•Given that many women are with children, it is important to inform women about activities in advance.
Do you have other comments, suggestions, ideas or initiatives for the network (question 7) ?
•E-mails of the network organizational board members often do not work, which makes it difficult to contact them.
•It would be great to have some career coaching sessions for young managers/academics.
•Ask NIMF to organize a joint activity. Connect via www.science.uva.nl/misc/nimf/
•An idea for a conference: Successful women: what is /was the key for their success?
•A newsletter or a newsgroup would be an informative way to communicate about experiences of females in academia.
•The network web-site could provide an overview of regulations within the UT for female employees.
•Why should this networking be only for women? May be is a good idea to organize some sessions mixed with men. Participating men could provide interesting insights about career development, leadership, networking styles, etc of women.
•To set up work-groups on specific themes.
•A useful set-up of network meeting could be as follows: To provide some theoretical guidelines in advance, to start session with hands-on experience and the workshop itself, and to conclude with feedback and discussion.
Female Faculty Network Twente May 24th 2005
2. a) What kind of (professional) qualities would you like to develop or to improve?
You could think of questions such as:
a)What do you admire in other professionals (in academia)?
b)What would you like to improve and what do you need for that?
c)Which qualities do you feel insecure about?
d)Which situations make you insecure?
e)Which tasks would you like to take over, and what skills do you need to fulfil them?
f)Do you have an idea of the next step in your career, and what would you need to realize it?
3. Is there specific training for developing your professionalism that you would like to do within the network, such as:
h)speed-reading and mind mapping
j)etiquette in academia
4. The network aims at one activity per month (ten times a year), and additionally, one conference per year. Our proposal for the next year (2005-2006):
a)One conference with speakers and workshops (one day + dinner)
b)Three workshops (half a day per workshop)
c)Five lunch-meetings (three of the lunches will follow a workshop; at the other two lunches one (external) speaker will be invited.)
d)Five informal get-togethers between 17.00 and 18.00 in de Faculty Club.
Our question is whether these activities are sufficient, overloaded, or too poor. Please explain your opinion..
5. Membership (free participation in all activities)
Are you planning to become a member of the network?
Would you like to be involved in organizing activities of the network?
6. Which days would be impossible for you to participate?
lunch meeting (12.30-13.30)
7. Other comments, suggestions, ideas or initiatives (e.g. speakers to be invited for the network activities)?
Thank you for your cooperation:
The executive board of FFNT:
Mieke Boon (GW): chair
Wilma Dierkes (TNW): secretary
Arianne von Raesfeld (BBT): activities
Genie Stoffels (CTW): finances
Willemien Wallinga (EWI): vice-chair.
Return the questionnaire to: Marianne Rietman (FFNT secretary at PAO), firstname.lastname@example.org