Challenges

Challenges for the Forthcoming Term of Office

In the forthcoming term of office, the faculty is facing changes (in part introduced university-wide) which will significantly affect its future functioning and can visibly contribute to its development. We will propose implementation methods that will be the most beneficial to the faculty on both the organisational and financial levels, and will negotiate them within the university. Our aim will be to ensure that the individual changes are introduced at the faculty in concert with each other and with minimum administrative workload.
Principal challenges for the faculty in the coming years include:

1. Introducing internal faculty processes in accordance with new regulations and developments at CU
  • we will introduce a career development system and academic and scientific staff evaluation

The faculty attempted to introduce regulations for academic staff career development without success already between 2015 ¬and 2017. We agree that such a system is necessary at CU FA. The benefit of its introduction will be the establishment of transparent conditions for career growth for all relevant parties: individual members of academic and scientific staff, department heads and faculty management. We will advocate a coherent specification of the forthcoming university regulation at faculty level, so that equal conditions for all academic staff are secured and, at the same time, disciplinary and individual specificities of career growth are taken into account. We will ensure that the whole system is as advantageous for the faculty as possible and is at the same time as uncomplicated as possible. The system will be supplemented by support services that will create conditions for the successful realisation of career development plans.

 

  • we will introduce a system of continuous quality assessment of study programme accreditations

In the transition period of the previous years, a necessity for reaccreditation of all study programmes emerged due to changes to the Higher Education Act. Understandably, the faculty then partly withdrew from the system of evaluating upcoming accreditations, which had been introduced by Dean Stehlík. However, this type of evaluation enables the gathering and sharing of information on good practice across different types of programmes. The reaccreditation process is now complete, and the original practice can therefore be revived. CU is currently developing a system of mandatory assessment of study programme accreditations approved by the Internal Evaluation Board. We will ensure that the evaluation process is transparent and remains a useful tool for support and innovation of CU FA study programmes. We will focus on ensuring that the evaluation of study programmes does not result in additional administrative workload.

 

  • we will contribute to the refining of the evaluation system of research areas at CU

The international evaluation of research areas at CU, which was caried out as a pilot between 2019 and 2021, will be periodically repeated and will impact the distribution of financial contributions for research. We support this evaluation model as it privileges quality over quantity and demonstrates the faculty’s position within the international context of comparable institutions. However, certain components of the evaluation process in the pilot were not set precisely and transparently enough to allow for a reliable interpretation of results and the formulation of strategic decisions regarding the future development of the individual research areas. In our discussions with the university management and other faculties, we will promote further improvements to the form and course of this evaluation, ensuring a greater applicability of the feedback for our faculty. The finding of the International Evaluation Panel that the faculty, with regard to the quality of its scientific output, is underfunded within the context of the university, also offers an opportunity for negotiating an increase in the financial contribution to our faculty.

 

  • we will promote a coherent implementation of institutional research support within the Cooperatio programme

From 2022 onwards, Progres, the current programme of institutional support of research, will be replaced by Cooperatio. We will ensure that the operation of the Cooperatio programme is implemented rationally and that risks are considered (note e.g. the roles and remits of the coordinators and boards of the future interfaculty research areas within the programme, evaluation and relationship of the quality of ongoing outputs to potential impact on individual members of the Cooperatio programme etc.). We will ensure that despite the declared principle of inclusiveness the distribution of finances within CU FA supports and rewards high quality research activities.

We will attempt to harmonise new evaluation systems – especially CU’s evaluation at the level of research areas across the faculties, the evaluation of disciplines at CU FA, and the individual evaluation of academic staff – in order to ensure that the individual levels are interconnected and yield relevant information. This information will then also be used in the system of distributing finances to the departments (see below).

2. Stabilisation of the financial situation of CU FA and introduction of a sustainable system of distributing finances to the departments

The faculty periodically finds itself in financial difficulties, currently due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, no easy solution is available that would result from a single change and would be reflected year-on-year; the steps to be undertaken must be complex and will only take effect in medium-term at the earliest. The goal of such steps is to stabilise the financial situation of the faculty, increase its reserve funds and financially reward staff for their specific contributions to the development of the faculty. In all these areas, we first want to make available the most complete, up-to-date and interpretable data on the activities of the faculty, which will subsequently form the basis for discussions about their use. These steps will be connected with the evaluation systems mentioned above, thus enabling a systemically improved financial remuneration of the CU FA academic and scientific staff.
Our particular focus will be on the following areas:

 

  • we will introduce a transparent system of distributing finances to the departments

We will build on current and regularly updated quantitative data, incorporating into this system the profiles and diversity of the departments and, in dialogue with them, we will specify functional and preferred directions of development for the individual types of departments. The system will be primarily based on teaching and research data, interconnecting quantitative and qualitative data in both of these mainstays. It will be introduced gradually, with a decreasing share of the historical component, to enable the adaptation of the departments to the new conditions. We will establish a system of internal research evaluation at CU FA based on current data and the principles of qualitative comparative evaluation (benchmarking), which will take into account the specificities of each discipline.

 

  • we will expand the faculty’s sources of income

We will create and employ strategies with the aim to increase the number of ambitious projects with considerable benefit (Horizon Europe, Expro and JuniorStar GA CR, etc.). We will support the activities of research teams in order to improve the quality of research outputs, thus increasing the faculty’s income in the area of institutional support of research. We will focus more substantially on the acquisition of projects in applied areas, aimed at social and education innovation in cooperation with external partners. We will increase income from supplementary activities, income from sponsorship and other forms of support through fundraising.

 

  • we will expand the premises used by CU FA and ensure their effective use

Based on the results of a space audit, we will create a strategy for the use of premises both owned and rented by CU FA. Our priority will be the implementation of the Opletalova project (see below) as well as ensuring the effective use of the premises in Voršilská following the completion of KREAS, with the aim of supporting project and research activities. We will examine the possibilities of centralised scheduling for large classrooms and attempt to increase space for PhD students. In cooperation with relevant parts of the university administration and external organisations, we will carry out an energy audit in CU FA buildings with a view to reduce operational costs by 10% by 2025; we will consider introducing various elements of circular economy into the operation of the faculty.

3. Successful reconstruction of the Opletalova complex

The faculty begins the reconstruction of the buildings in Opletalova street at a time of financial instability and lacking sufficient reserves, while the deadline for the drawing of funds from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport investment programme is firmly fixed. It is clear that the faculty will not be able to provide the necessary financial resources for the completion of the entire project. At the same time, it is essential that the reconstruction of the Opletalova complex is successfully completed as soon as possible, so that the designated departments are able to move there according to the previously agreed plan. In this context, our focus will be on the following priorities:

  • we will provide careful monitoring, ensuring that the construction works take place within the agreed scope and time, thus reducing as far as possible the amount of extra work and additional expenses
  • well in advance, we will submit an application for the drawing of funds from the university fund for co-financing larger investment projects and negotiate the approval of the faculty application at university level
  • we will pursue a constructive cooperation between faculty management, the Office of Investments, the relevant departments, the architectural firm and construction contractors to avoid any undesirable delays in negotiations and realisation
4. Cooperation within the faculty and university

The Faculty of Arts is an organic community of people who share the belief that the humanities and social sciences are key to the healthy development of a free society. We will give priority to ensuring that members of the academic community and other employees share information, communicate and cooperate with each other. Only in this way can the faculty function well and at the same time defend its position as an important and prestigious component of Charles University. In support of this cooperation, we will prioritise the following steps:

  • we will focus on continuously providing information to the academic community about current events, including the upcoming strategic steps (e.g. in the form of a regular faculty newsletter)
  • we will enhance the close cooperation between faculty management, faculty bodies and other parties (partnership and communication with the Academic Senate of CU FA, department heads and research area coordinators, active cooperation with faculty committees on the development of respective administrative operations).
  • we will promote the proactive involvement of faculty representatives in strategic steps at university level, the interfaculty exchange of good practice within relevant branches, and effective and regular cooperation with CU FA representatives at university level
  • we will introduce the position of a Student & Staff Support and Teacher Training Coordinator as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board (see point 3)