Overall, 61 respondents filled out the survey and 7 of them were later interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of their experience with the narratives. Most respondents used the narratives as a conversation starter in their P&D conversation and most of them found the materials provided useful. Some did mention that the narrative writing meant extra workload and stress for them. Nonetheless, the majority stated that writing a narrative as part of the P&D cycle contributed positively to the quality of the P&D conversation.
The ESSB narrative pilot provided valuable insights and takeaways, which can be translated into future actions and developments. Looking ahead, EUR is introducing narratives as part of the new development cycle (the performance part will be taken out) for both academic and professional staff in 2024. EUR also aims to expand the use of narrative writing guidelines to promotion- and career path differentiation procedures and the renewal of financial allocation models. Furthermore, it aims to develop narrative assessment guidelines and scoring forms too.
With the six profiles, UMC Utrecht tries to formalise the diversity in ‘rewardable’ academic activities. If it sounds formalised and managerial, that is because it is a reflection of the organisation it was made in. I don’t know whether other universities or UMCs need these six profiles precisely, but I do know we all need a perspective on scientific quality that fosters diversity.
In this video, UMC Utrecht explains how they implement the six new academic career profiles.
Following that conversation, I was told that I could apply for an MBA student grant at VU Amsterdam. I think it is illustrative of my department’s forward-thinking nature that it saw added value in an academic with an MBA. With that degree under my belt, I can now act as a link between my academic field and the corporate world. I have a wider network and can bring the outside world in. I also understand how to put a programme on the radar more effectively and how to create an even stronger and more distinct profile. I use this valuable knowledge in my department by addressing such issues and expanding them further. I see this as an important leadership skill.
Now that I have completed my MBA, I also find that it is providing openings for conversations about horizontal development, including horizontal career development. Colleagues see that I am not following the traditional research path and are more likely to come to me with personal questions or to exchange ideas about their careers. This is making the Recognition & Rewards theme become even more alive in my department. I am all the more aware now that inspiring role models (who have not followed the traditional path) can have a great added value – for myself and for others.’
‘I think it is hugely important that people within my faculty and at VU Amsterdam as a whole will soon have even more room to focus on their own careers and that this can lead to vertical or horizontal growth. This development not only provides the flexibility to focus more on teaching as an academic, but also to move from an academic position to a board position, for example, with the recognition and rewards that go with it. These possibilities need to be anchored in our policy.
Jelske is an incredibly good example of an academic whose MBA education has given her the tools she needs to make an impact. It is great to see her then use that knowledge to enrich her teaching and research.’