Priorities

Challenges and Priorities for the Development of the Faculty in Individual Areas

A. Studies and admission procedure

In the area of studies, we aim to evaluate experiences with distance teaching and learning during the pandemic. This opportunity will be used, together with the new system of accreditation evaluation, for the improvement of the quality of undergraduate programmes to prepare us for the demographic increase in the number of applicants. We will promote discipline diversity as the main asset of CU FA, strengthen the transfer of skills and individualisation of education, as well as create sufficient organisational and technical conditions for these priorities.

Priorities:

  • in cooperation with the Study Committee and the Science Committee, we will introduce a system of evaluation of approved study programme accreditations in order to identify functional solutions and support the exchange of good practice; in relation to this, we will start a discussion about the design of MA programmes, its goals, admission and graduation requirements (identification of the added value in comparison to Bachelor’s study, evaluation of the number of credits awarded for, and the difficulty of, the profile courses, support for specialisations, etc.)
  • we will take measures to support a favourable distribution of student numbers at individual levels of study (e.g. expanding the possibilities for entrance exam waivers, new types of campaigns aimed at applicants, analysis of the decline in student numbers in MA programmes and its causes, etc.)
  • we will reinforce elements of competitive and individualised education in undergraduate studies, including student research and support of student activities focused on social innovation (e.g. in the form of placements, project seminars with research or applied outputs, involvement of students in research teams etc.)
Further steps
  • we will support a favourable distribution of student numbers at individual levels of study by:
    • developing effective campaigns aimed at new applicants for the period of demographic increase in the overall number of university applicants (e.g. investing in audio-visual promotion and campaigns on social media with the support of our graduates; for selected disciplines, expanding the campaign to include the Central European area; developing cooperation with selected secondary schools etc.)
    • testing a larger number of methods for entrance exams waivers for different study programmes based on the experiences of other universities
    • analysing the decline in student numbers in MA programmes and identifying its causes
    • more on support of doctoral studies see Research (B.)
  • we will evaluate the experiences with distance teaching and learning in 2020 and 2021 and provide support for hybrid teaching (e-learning) in relevant areas (technical and methodological support, sharing of good practice from different courses, use of e-learning aids in different course types, etc.)
  • in cooperation with the Study Committee and individual departments, we will evaluate the design of MA studies within different programmes and study areas (e.g. identification of the added value in comparison to BA studies; evaluation of the number of credits awarded for, and the difficulty of, the profile courses; support of competency-based learning, individual student specialisation and internationalisation)
  • we will contribute to the expansion of placement and project seminar offers in different types of study programmes, not only within vocational ones where these are a prescribed standard (in cooperation with external partners)
  • we will support both existing and new interdisciplinary courses as well as course sharing between disciplines in relevant cases
  • we will create stable financial, personnel and infrastructural conditions for teacher training programmes (beyond the university’s current OP VVV programme); we will support the development of the Teacher Training Centre as an independent CU FA unit responsible for the cooperation between teaching platforms, quality development of the individual teacher training components, cooperation with secondary schools on internships and with other faculties of CU on inter-faculty teaching training
B. Research

In the area of research development of students and academics, we will emphasise the soundness of activities arising from institutional research support programmes, accreditation of study programmes and regulations related to the area of research development. We believe that regarding the individual requirements and steps in research development as transparent and meaningful makes them relatable and accomplishable. In all steps of our dialogue with the representatives of study disciplines, we will balance the generally valid requirements for quality scientific output at CU FA within an intergenerational structure and with regard to research and publication specificities of the given discipline. We will support good research within national and international perspectives, since we consider it vital to develop and link both of these aspects.

Priorities:

  • we will constitute the CU FA Research Board on the basis of two main criteria: a) its members see their position on the board as a privilege, which implies the continuous obligation to contribute to the cultivation of the research environment at the faculty; b) the membership is based on scientific brilliance as well as commitment to this mandate, i.e. the board is comprised of high-performing researchers and engaged educators
  • in the internal debate within the CU FA Research Board and Science Committee, we will create a methodology for associate professorship (habilitation) and professorship procedures, where evaluation processes will be transparent, consistent as well as legally and politically sound
  • we will support foreign-language publications by academic staff and doctoral students in major journals within their relevant fields as well as with major publishers (support of academic writing skills development and identification of suitable publication platforms); we will support faculty journals included in prominent databases (introduction of editorial processes, financial support for editorial work and review activities)
Further steps
  • we will strengthen the motivation for good research outputs by rewarding them on the basis of evaluations carried out by academic and scientific staff
  • we will promote the meetings of the CU FA Science Committee with associate professorship and professorship procedures on the agenda (distributing invitations, streaming lectures); we will create a register of habilitation theses
  • we will introduce a systemic support for postdoctoral positions at CU FA (using the experience from selected areas of the Progres institutional support programme)
  • we will support the preparation of applications for the accreditation of associate professorship and professorship procedures within disciplines cultivated at CU FA with the aim to keep all specialisations strategically important for successful qualification growth
  • in the area of PhD studies:
    • we will support the internalisation of doctoral studies, e.g. by introducing a larger number of international members of subject area boards (without the necessity of formal habilitation, or more precisely with equivalent publishing and research activity); a larger number of international consultants, opponents, and doctoral theses under dual supervision; by securing financial resources for such internationalisation of doctoral studies
    • we will emphasise the ongoing evaluation of the realisation of new doctoral programmes with the aim to a) monitor non-linear courses of doctoral studies (e.g. postponement of study duties, delay in dissertation writing after taking the state examination, interruption of studies due to parenthood and subsequent return to studies, etc.), identify difficulties and prevent their occurrence with appropriate support, b) identify good practice methods in the realisation of key study duties (doctoral seminars, state examination realisation methods, ongoing monitoring of the fulfilment of study duties, etc.) and share them across disciplines
    • in order to support the completion of doctoral studies in the standard period a) we will monitor, in the evaluation of doctoral studies attended by both PhD students and their supervisors, their communication and the supervisors’ workload over time, among other things; b) in discussion with programme guarantors, we will revise the admission procedure criteria; c) we will thoroughly monitor the annual evaluation of PhD students according to established criteria
    • we will support different ways of financial appraisal of doctoral students (sufficient amount of basic scholarships, support of individual project activities, involvement of PhD students in senior projects)
    • in cooperation with subject area boards, we will develop a cooperation between PhD students from various disciplines with similar topics (identification of connections between individual theses using a more sophisticated keyword system in SIS, shared doctoral seminars and presentations of research, etc.)
  • in the area of publishing
    • we will support a balanced publication portfolio of academic staff and PhD students, which will include publications in the leading international journals in the given field
    • we will evaluate the advantages of the branch division of the faculty publication series, and alternatively find a different method of division
    • we will support faculty journals included in prominent databases (Scopus, Web of Science), e.g. by using editorial software and through financial support for editorial work and review activities
    • we will support the individual steps in the area of open science (support of open access output sharing, support of research data sharing environments, etc.)
C. Project management

In the long run, CU FA needs to work systematically on a more balanced project portfolio which would include a larger share of prestigious European Commission projects. To achieve this goal, we will introduce a comprehensive project preparation system, which will take into account (in respect of financial compensation as well as skill) time demands and a relatively high risk of failure due to strong competition for the most prestigious grant schemes. The faculty needs to introduce mechanisms that will facilitate the cooperation between academic teams and administrative workers during the preparation and implementation of projects. Since 2018, we have accumulated valuable experience relevant to this goal within the KREAS project, but CU FA has the potential to build stable and truly prestigious research centres at the European level beyond this single project.

Priorities:

  • we will develop a strategy for CU FA project activities, which will motivate high-risk/high-gain research and preserve the traditional disciplinary division, but which will at the same time offer a simple opportunity for flexible creation of interdisciplinary teams and enable the involvement of active researchers across the institutional hierarchy, including doctoral students
  • we will investigate suitable calls for projects (preparation of structural projects, involvement in new schemes responding to challenges within the humanities and social sciences posed by the coronavirus pandemic, MSCA and European Commission programmes that include the so-called “widening countries”, etc.)
  • we will increase the efficiency of project preparation support, which will motivate project submission (support for departments and research teams at the stage of project preparation; introduction of a good-practice system in the area of recurring strategic calls, including content feedback on application drafts; retention of the KREAS administrative team for strategic activities within CU FA, support of central co-financing for strategic projects)
Further steps
  • for a comprehensive strategy of CU FA project activities, we will create a register of research teams; we will focus on increasing the competitiveness of projects in preparation (original research aims, establishment of international cooperation, interconnecting academic and non-academic spheres, etc.); we will focus on employing tools facilitating the presentation of CA FU research and better orientation within CA FU itself
  • we will identify suitable project calls, namely:
    • we will identify research areas in which CA FU, as a member of the so-called “widening countries” group, could apply for European Commission project schemes aimed at these countries (ERA Chairs; Twinning; Teaming); we will obtain funding for at least one such project
    • we will establish a functioning project support system at post-doc level with planning of project proposals for the MSCA programme; we will get at least one Marie Skłodowska-Curie project as a host institution and increase the success of our students and academic staff in getting MSCA projects
    • we will start the strategic preparation and support of other structural projects financed from EU funds (regardless of the likely break between the programming periods)
    • we will participate in new programme schemes, e.g. in the emerging National Recovery Plan (planned by the Czech government under the leadership of the Research, Development and Innovation Council), which takes into consideration the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences in addressing the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic)
    • we will seek opportunities for the active involvement of CU FA in institutions and bodies defining project calls at the national level
  • we will increase the efficiency of project preparation support, which will motivate new project submissions by both academic and administrative staff:
    • we will support departments and research teams at project preparation stages (identifying suitable calls with regard to specialisations, identifying suitable formats for the support of cooperation between faculty and international teams, feedback for unsuccessful but promising applications, resubmission support, etc.)
    • we will create a good practice system within CU FA in the area of recurring strategic calls (Erasmus+, MSCA fellowship, Horizon 2020, etc.)
    • we will announce calls for financial support in the preparation of prestigious international or national application projects
    • we will expand the capacity of administration offices so that they offer, apart from administrative support for projects, also content support in the form of feedback from (a) trained administrative staff (possibility of employing graduates); (b) other academic staff members (subject to setting up an internal system of remuneration); (c) external consultants (within the existing or emerging support centres, e.g. the new centre for support of ERC project submissions of CU and Czech Academy of Sciences)
    • in the new project proposals, we will commit resources to increasing professional qualification of CU FA administrative staff
    • we will secure central co-financing of strategic projects, see e.g. the PRIMUS projects
D. Internationalisation

Staff mobility abroad must be closely coordinated with research development and project activities of the faculty. It should have a positive effect on the quality of research and teaching, facilitate the identification of new grant opportunities, promote the key areas cultivated at the faculty and increase its prestige both at home and abroad. Student mobility abroad provides an opportunity to acquire theoretical knowledge and practical experience, and therefore contributes to personal growth and employability at an international level. The strategic development of the faculty’s internationalisation must be carried out in close cooperation with other faculty administration offices, especially with those in charge of promotion and project management. The faculty must also reflect the transformations in international partnerships caused by the coronavirus pandemic and react flexibly to them.

Priorities:

  • we will increase undergraduate students’ awareness about mobility options and schemes, maintain the wide range of mobility offers and support their relevance for domestic studies
  • we will support the introduction of foreign-language study programmes (including joint-degree) in prestigious and strategic specialisations at Master and Doctoral levels
  • we will increase the internationalisation of doctoral studies, including a greater involvement of foreign supervisors, consultants and members of subject-area boards
  • we will support mobility related to the activities of the existing disciplinary and interdisciplinary research groups, especially those with the potential to foster research, educational and project cooperation; we will facilitate the creation of international teams
  • we will simplify the integration of virtual mobility into both studies and academic practice
  • we will develop a new strategy of promoting CU FA abroad
Further steps
  • we will create a “Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Mobility” manual for students and staff – including a new offer of virtual mobilities within Erasmus+, we will share our experiences with building international contacts online, we will provide appropriate technical equipment
  • we will develop hybrid teaching for international students on a long-term basis and will ensure that the widest possible range of courses taught at CU FA is included in the international offer of the 4EU+ alliance
  • we will develop further the support programme for foreign-language education of doctoral students
  • we will be continuously removing administrative obstacles in the involvement of international academics and researchers in the cooperation with CU FA at different levels (short-time stays, visiting professors, post-docs, employees with foreign nationality) with the aim to open the faculty to international partners and cooperation; we will promote wider recognition of academic qualifications from abroad and the greatest possible openness of selection procedures for academic and scientific positions for applicants from abroad
  • we will expand the availability of information in the English language for staff, PhD, BA and MA students, including internal administrative processes of the faculty
  • we will create a system for the most efficient use of the different types of mobility financing so that stays abroad are open to the greatest possible number of applicants, and at the same time yield research outputs; we will develop a continuity scheme for the individual types of stays
  • in the case of renewal of the income from commercial education programmes for international students, we will reintroduce the conference and project mobility support fund for staff members of the individual departments, or provide a possibility of one conference trip per year per one CU FA academic staff member
  • we will intensively negotiate with the rectorate regarding the list of strategic partners of CU so that its composition corresponds to the needs of the faculty and facilitates its development in the area of research; we will ensure that the faculty has an appropriate voice in the creation of international policies of CU corresponding to its importance
  • we will produce a periodically updated internet manual for undergraduate and postgraduate students regarding the main types of mobility abroad that will include a description of solutions to common problems
  • we will promote a more organic incorporation of mobility into new and modified study plans, so that the trips do not lead to the extension of studies
E. External Relations and Public Engagement

The humanities can only compete with the natural sciences if it succeeds in offering holistic analyses of social phenomena to both colleagues from other faculties and the public. CU FA has excellent foundations for this: we view the faculty as an institution replete with outstanding ideas, publications and outputs. Our great advantage is that thousands of individuals who have passed through our faculty identify with its profile and often find positions in relevant partner institutions and within state administration. Our priority is therefore to support the internal network of dedicated people within the faculty, their public promotion and cross-institutional collaboration. On the basis of this continuously updated network, we will formulate strategies of presentation and cooperation aimed at different target groups: applicants, alumni, donors, academic and non-academic institutions and media. We will continuously consult the CU FA Public Relations Office regarding all strategic steps.

Priorities:

  • we will introduce new methods to promote CU FA and its research, pedagogical, and applied outputs in cooperation with new partners (podcasts, educational and outreach videos, educational games, an e-zine promoting humanities, expansion of our cooperation with secondary schools, patronage of secondary school competitions, outreach events aimed at new applicants etc.)
  • we will expand the portfolio of cooperating institutions, including non-academic ones, and set guidelines for such cooperation; we will increase the faculty’s activity in the fundraising area, especially for specific support of particular outreach and application projects
  • we will support student and academic project activity in terms of research output applications and social and educational innovation; we will establish a cooperation between the university science centre and Kampus Hybernská
  • we will expand the offer of lifelong learning courses for different target groups, including distance learning and teacher training courses; we will simplify and digitise the administrative procedure associated with these courses
Further steps
  • we will introduce a simple tool for the internal recording of outstanding outputs of students and academic staff in the fields of teaching, research, outreach and media appearances
  • we will implement a coherent strategy for cooperation with graduates with a view to support their relationship with the faculty even after graduation; we will retain the information newsletter for graduates and alumni email addresses for a certain amount of time, create an attractive portfolio of opportunities for graduates to contribute to the running of the faculty (providing feedback, realisation of placements, participation in teaching, financial and material support, etc.).
  • we will support student activities leading to the promotion of the faculty (support of volunteering activities, student societies and activities organised by them, including events for new applicants, possibility to carry out project activities aimed at the public and new applicants as an elective course, etc.)
  • in cooperation with partner institutions, we will secure technical equipment and facilities for the creation of audio-visual promotion content (podcasts, educational and outreach videos, etc.)
  • we will produce clear instructions for the principles of cooperation with external institutions of various types (academic institutions in the Czech Republic and abroad, companies, primary and secondary schools, etc.)
  • we will deepen the cooperation with the city of Prague (both in connection to Kampus Hybernská and in the form of project calls), we will contribute to the creation of its development strategy, cooperate on joint events for the public, etc.
  • we will start a wide debate within the academic community on which important dates and holidays will be regularly commemorated by CU FA and in what way
  • we will support the organisational and production arrangement of key CU FA events
F. Infrastructure and Information Resources

In the next term of office, we should focus on improving the quality of both physical and virtual work environments. Use of space is detailed in Part 1 (Sections 2 and 3). In the area of information resources, we will focus on both simple and more complex changes leading to the digitisation of administrative processes. Infrastructure in the broader sense also includes the fundamental contribution of the CU FA administrative and technical staff to the smooth operation of the faculty and its administration. Our main goals in this area are to secure adequate numbers of administrative staff in key roles for the development of the faculty, and to support the development of language skills of the administrative staff (see also Student and Staff Support).

Priorities:

  • we will carry out a workload audit of technical-economic administrative staff in the individual offices, identify insufficient staff levels to cover the needs of the faculty and adjust the distribution of administrative staff; we will encourage the development of English-language skills of the administrative staff
  • we will focus on consistent digitisation and simplification of administrative procedures (e.g. avoiding repeated entering of data into systems, reduction of documents requiring a physical signature and their circulation, digitisation of travel statements, merit scholarship calculator, etc.); we will ensure strategic and personnel development of the Information Systems Office in order to accelerate the digitisation of routine faculty processes
  • we will secure equipment facilitating online events (interactive classrooms equipped for hybrid teaching and online conferences, rooms suitable for participation in online teaching, etc.)
  • we will further enhance the development of library facilities respecting the needs of different groups of key users (simplicity and accessibility of library services, equipment of central study rooms, digital acquisitions and digitisation of print resources, preservation of the multifunctionality of departmental libraries)
  • we will expand the use of tools supporting open science (e.g. open access publishing and data sharing)
Further steps
  • we will examine and test the possibilities of centralised scheduling
  • we will revise and update the structure of the faculty web pages and intranet so that the information and resources for key user categories are clear and accessible from a single place
  • we will improve the connectivity in CU FA buildings (WIFI, fast direct printing from mobile phones, connection to AV systems in classrooms, etc.)
  • we will renew our involvement in the development of SIS, which in the past contributed to the introduction of important modules
  • we will introduce tools facilitating department management, e.g. comprehensive managerial overviews for department heads, or a time-tested budgeting template for department heads
  • we will focus on introducing and improving the interconnection of existing systems (e.g. connecting research data and publications from the GAP and OBD databases with public websites, using WhoIS data for automatic pre-filling of forms, etc.)
  • in terms of reduction of the documents requiring a physical signature and their circulation:
    • we will introduce digitally signed emails for students and staff
    • we will introduce and expand workflow apps (student applications, request forms, termination checklist, travel orders, etc.)
  • we will work to ensure the availability of electronic information resources and digitisation of printed resources
  • in the area of library services, our priorities are the opening hours of libraries, technical equipment and user-friendly facilities that will support both individual study and teamwork
  • for existing departmental libraries, we will place emphasis on balancing the professionalism of the services corresponding to the central library with retaining the library’s role within the given department, both in terms of availability of the library collection or the library’s role in teaching or research activities of the department
G. Student and Staff Support

In addition to financial stability, to which the measures outlined above will contribute, other aspects also add to job satisfaction, particularly various forms of staff support and the improvement of the psycho-social work environment. The strengthening of these aspects does not necessarily need to be costly, but it can accelerate and simplify the work itself or contribute to a better work-life balance. In accordance with available domestic research, we will focus – to a greater extent than has been customary at the faculty – on support in the area of occupational health (support in coping with heavy workload, work-related stress and burnout syndrome) and reconciling family and work life, as well as on increasing the quality of guidance, especially for younger academics, i.e. on (post)doctoral level.

Priorities:

  • we will create a new position of a Coordinator of Student & Staff Support and Teacher Training (see below): a part of this role will cover regular job satisfaction surveys and the identification of specific priorities of staff and students
  • we will support occupational health and the quality of the psycho-social work environment of CU FA staff and students: this includes individual social and psychological counselling for students and staff (including identification of suitable project calls and support in writing applications), and organising courses and project seminars for students and staff focused on: a) professional growth, b) career counselling, c) mental health in the work/studies context (e.g. prevention of and coping with heavy workload, work-related stress and burnout syndrome, work-life and study-life harmonisation), d) managerial skills for department heads and team leaders, since the quality of leadership is integral to the quality of the institution, performance and job satisfaction of academic and non-academic staff
  • we will improve information accessibility (information brochures for new members of staff, grant researchers, heads of departments, non-native academics and doctoral students; regular faculty newsletter)
  • we will offer support to academics with children: advertising projects for academic staff returning after family leave, support of the kids corner, introduction of individualised babysitting service, survey of supply and demand of kindergarten places secured for CU FA employees’ children as an alternative to the faculty kindergarten, identifying project funds for such external cooperation
  • we will expand employee benefits (personal development, mental and physical health, cheap mobile tariffs for employees, dining discounts and discounts for cultural events etc.)
Further steps
  • we will reward and further support student and staff outputs (we will introduce a transparent method of financial appraisals for outstanding outputs in the area of research and project activities; we will introduce the faculty prize for the best PhD thesis and best teacher)
  • we will introduce scholarship budgets for departments to cover the activities of student assistants, which will be administered in a similar way to department mobility funds, thus allowing the department heads to divide scholarships more flexibly on the basis of tasks completed
  • we will introduce a simple method of providing feedback on what can be improved about the faculty, which will be open to students and academic staff
  • for international project applications, we will develop a strategy of employee support and equal opportunities
  • we will regularly consult the steps leading to the improvement of employment conditions with the Trade Union board