Blog

The Critical Friend Approach – A Somewhat Different Evaluation

The Critical Friend Approach – A Somewhat Different Evaluation

Author: Sarah Beranek and Florian Holzinger
23 April 2019

Critical friends often play important roles in our life by challenging and supporting us. The same can be said about their role in evaluations. In the SPEAR project, we made a deliberate decision for this special kind of evaluation approach in order to challenge, support and empower our partner organisations on their way of becoming more gender inclusive organisations. With this approach, we do not set the focus on judging and ranking the organisations depending on their progress, but on the identification of strengths and opportunities as well as highlighting room for improvement from an external perspective and providing assistance when needed.

Why are Communities Central to SPEAR?

Why are Communities Central to SPEAR?

Author: Eva Sophia Myers, University of Southern Denmark
10 April 2019

Structured reflection together with peers facing the same issues offers one of the most efficient ways to build skills, expand practical, strategic and political capacity to empower actors within organizations to address complex and systems-wide problems without clear boundaries, definitions, actors or even clear objectives. In other words, joint, structured reflection – on what worked and what could be improved, how intentions are met, how to engage people who can make a positive impact – makes us better at adequately responding, maneuvering, and designing intelligent (re)solutions in countering complex issues. Collectively sharing our problem definitions as well as potential resolutions may become key to our change efforts.

Getting started with Communities of Learning and Communities of Practice at next SPEAR meeting in March

Getting started with Communities of Learning and Communities of Practice at next SPEAR meeting in March

Author: Christine Steffens, RWTH Aachen University
28 February 2019
Our journey towards getting on the road with our project has begun. During the next meeting at SDU from 12th until 14th of March, our first workshops for our Communities of Learning and the first sessions of our Communities of Practice will take place. Together they build the interdependent groundwork for SPEAR. The interdependency of those two communities provides us with the opportunity to share upcoming questions, obstacles and observations and to react to them directly and in the best possible way.
So let’s look further into what these two concepts mean for our project.
A journey to an academic institution where women and men are equal

A journey to an academic institution where women and men are equal

Author: Minna Salminen Karlsson, Uppsala University
11 February 2019
During the next four years the nine SPEAR universities will be engaged in a common journey – though each starting from a different point of departure and each ending at a different destination. All of us head towards gender equality in our universities, even though it can be found through many different tracks. However, we will keep in contact each other, by means of modern information technology, giving each other advice and directions and sharing our good and bad moments.
Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 3

Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 3

Author: Liliya Levandovska
30 January 2019

As the kick-off was taking place in Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the organizers could not have passed the opportunity to present his legacy to the consortium in an engaging way – during the dinner the partners had to detect any gender/social bias indication hidden in one of writer’s stories.

Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 2

Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 2

Author: Liliya Levandovska
29 January 2019

Presentations

The kick-off agenda also included an introductory presentation about the project and its structure given by Ms. Myers, followed by the presentations on H2020 regulations for project implementation as well as Policy Perspective on Gender Equality in EU R&I delivered by Ms. Simona Misiti, Project Advisor and Ms. Anne Pépin, Senior Policy Officer respectively. The participants learned about H2020’s approach to the Gender Equality and relevant supported activities aimed at facilitating institutional change through Gender Equality Plans.

Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 1

Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 1

Author: Liliya Levandovska
28 January 2019

On January 23-25, 2019, eleven partners from nine European countries gathered in the Danish city of Odense to kick-start the implementation of SPEAR – a four-year Horizon 2020 project supporting and implementing plans for gender equality (GEPs) in research and academia.

The coordinator, the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) chose an engaging and creative approach to the meeting structure – all three days were filled with brainstorming exercises, culture presentations, interactive discussions, personal interviews and sharing personal impressions on relevant issues.

Launch of SPEAR

Launch of SPEAR

Author: Gabriella Lovász
03 January 2019

SPEAR (Supporting and Implementing Plans for gender Equality in Academia and Research) is a Coordination and Support Action project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Science with and for Society (SwafS) programme. Despite numerous EU-wide projects aimed at improving gender equality (GE) in academia, challenges persist, and GE practitioners and change agents experience fatigue and lack of support structures. SPEAR will initiate institutional change in nine European research performing organizations (RPOs) by implementing gender equality plans.