In the past year, an integrated integrity programme called House of Integrity has been designed for UT. In addition to academic integrity, House of Integrity also covers social and corporate integrity. This message is the first in line of several activities in House of Integrity with which we want to contribute to the Shaping2030 target of being 100% compliance with the standards for integrity and safety.
One platform containing all relevant information about House of Integrity
Under the umbrella of House of Integrity, we plan to send frequent updates, tips, important facts and other information to ensure both academic and support staff are acquainted with the applicable UT regulations. It is important to us that our campus is a safe living, studying and working environment for all. Experiences to the contrary must be discussed and the options for getting the right assistance should be clear, unambiguous and easy to find. In addition to the fact that managers naturally play an important role in this and that we want to use them to promote an open environment for discussing dilemmas and issues. There is now a platform specially designed to contain all information about House of Integrity, from the various schemes and regulations to information about confidential advisors and the Ombuds Officer: www.utwente.nl/integrity.
Scientific integrity: research committees for the assessment of scientific research
As a researcher, you need to be able to work in an open, safe and inclusive research environment. As a university we are taking various initiatives to create a working environment in which excellent research practices are encouraged and safeguarded. These steps allow us to align with the applicable Dutch code of conduct for academic integrity which came into force in October 2018. One of our areas of interest is that we believe that degree programmes should systematically pay attention to a proper way of conducting research for students and researchers.
In the past year, we have also established an ethics policy and four research committees focusing on the ethical assessment of research in the following domains: Natural Sciences & Engineering Sciences, Computer & Information Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences, Geo-Information Sciences.
For complex issues and quality assurance UT has a university-wide committee.
One of the steps in this ethical assessment is scientists’ personal responsibility to determine via a questionnaire if their research proposal needs to be assessed and if so, by which committee. In the long term we hope to make this questionnaire accessible in digital form.
Measures and social safety initiatives at University of Twente
Over the last two years many UT procedures that contribute to the creation of a safe working, studying and living environment have been introduced and updated. Examples include a ‘Code of conduct for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour’, a protocol for dealing with aggression and a reporting system for aggression and violence at work. Guidelines have been drawn up for the support and aftercare of victims and witnesses of violence in the workplace, the whistle-blower's regulation will be revised again in short-term, a code of conduct has been drawn up about relationships between colleagues and the Ombuds Officer pilot for students and employees was launched in the past year.
Of course drawing up regulations alone is not enough to ensure a safe living, working and studying environment. UT is aware that facilitating discussions on issues and dilemmas is also important and has planned various activities for this purpose. Examples include our Active Bystander training course and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course, in which 600 and 90 participants respectively have taken part since 2019. These courses can be found on the website of the Centre for training and development.
The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences has taken the initiative to develop a ‘Mindlab’ theatre production for University of Twente staff. The production premieres in February and was partly funded with a subsidy from the Social Fund for the Knowledge Sector (SoFoKleS). Mindlab is a unique production that explores what it means to live and work at a university and aims to inspire and challenge all staff members to come together to talk about their struggles, their expectations and their ambitions. Find out more about the production at utwente.nl/mindlab.
Within the faculties, various initiatives in the field of academic integrity are already well underway and the launch of House of Integrity is the next step. We are currently making an inventory of what’s already available and whether there are best practices that require extra attention or that might be interesting for other units within UT. More information about this will follow.