Professors Bernardi, Green and Jendly were selected among many candidates for the H.I.T. programme. They explain why they wanted to take part and why such a programme is useful for female professors in general.
Full Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
"During my career I have had the opportunity to take up a number of leadership positions of various nature in the US, Germany, Switzerland and France. I am currently at a stage of my professional trajectory when solicitations to take up both scientific and governance responsibilities increase exponentially and I hope that H.I.T will provide me with the opportunity to reflect on my own previous experiences and the challenges related to future ones and to learn from those women in academia who are further along the path. My observations and experience so far tell me that gender plays a large role in decision-making processes in various ways and I would like to learn how other women in leadership positions face it. I am convinced that a more gender-balanced leadership improves the academic context through clearer and more transparent criteria as well as fairer opportunities for academic careers for everyone, not only for women."
"We often are thrown into the business of governance missing a specific training and transparent exchange with peers on what this may represent. I have been building my competences by observing what I felt as good or bad practices or taking advice from my predecessors (often men), by investing extra-time, and by improvising quite often. And yet, the different nature of leading a research project and leading other academic bodies is evident; the latter task often requires even more the ability to manage diverging objectives and interests, different perspectives and work cultures, caring for representation balance and for the sustainability of a cooperative environment. These requirements make the leadership role in academic bodies on the one hand extremely challenging and, on the other hand, worth investing personal and collective time to prepare for it.
Despite the uneasiness that may accompany leaving the comfort zone of research and teaching, I am convinced that women professors need to engage in both mentoring and leadership positions, since we contribute to science both by doing good research and by creating, managing, and sustaining good scientific policies and practices."
Associate Professor at the Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
"After a year of very interesting experiences as Vice-Dean for Junior faculty & Equality at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, I had to learn a lot of things "on the job". I am now curious to learn and reflect further on different aspects of academic leadership through workshops and sharing with other participants in this programme. I also hope to be able to discover new ways to develop an academic culture that promotes equality and that I can share with my colleagues. Even if our faculty's gender equality plan is ambitious, and several elements are already implemented, many challenges remain. In particular, how to encourage and support brilliant young women researchers so that they can remain in academia while knowing that work-life balance remains very complicated in Switzerland with a limited childcare and extracurricular system."
"It will be easier to answer this question at the end of the programme, but I suppose such training would be useful for BOTH female and male professors. While the objective of this specific programme is to encourage women to take on high-level academic leadership roles, the content of the programme applies equally to women and men. There is an implicit assumption that leadership skills are acquired when one occupies such positions, and no doubt one learns a lot by doing. However, without wishing to transform professors into professional managers, more generalized gender-sensitive training would provide some basic skills, for example in planning and institutional issues, human resources, and conflict management at different levels. Such training would then provide valuable support and tools for anyone starting in these roles."
Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, Faculty of Law, Criminal Sciences and Public Administration
"I want to play a more important role in promoting, in my University, a better representation of diversity in terms of gender, race, origin and sexual orientation, in particular. Through the H.I.T. programme, I hope to acquire new skills to encourage and participate more actively in initiatives aimed at a definitely more inclusive academia."
"The H.I.T. programme aims to formalize the leadership skills of female professors, strengthen their networks and give them the keys to impact the long-term vision of the Swiss university system. By expressly recognizing their power for change, it supports their commitment, strengthens their aspirations and values their place in the evolution of plural equality practices and policies in the academic world."