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Symposium on Leadership in Academica September 14th, 2017

‘“But I am a scientist, not a leader!”: Why Leadership Matters in Academia’

What is leadership? Why does leadership matter in academia? When and why is it ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Is leadership a natural talent or can leaders be created? How do leadership styles differ between people and contexts? Do gender differences and roles affect leadership? And which stand does Radboud University take regarding leadership?

To get an answer on these questions, Radboud University’s Female Full Professors Network and the Halkes Women Faculty Network organised a joint symposium on Leadership in Academia on Thursday September 14th 2017 from 14:00-17:00. The symposium took place in the Grotius building room 1.176.


The programme was as follows:

14:00-14:10 Welcome by Chairs of RNVH & Halkes
14:10-14:20 Opening by prof. Daniel Wigboldus
14:20-14:55 Keynote speech by prof. Tanja van der Lippe
15:00-16:15 Workshops
16:15-16:30 Reflection on leadership in academia by prof. Hans Thijssen 
16:30-17:00 Drinks

The symposium kicked off with prof. Daniel Wigboldus, president of the Executive Board of Radboud University, who presented Radboud University's view on leadership. The keynote speech was given by prof. Tanja van der Lippe. Van der Lippe is professor of Sociology of Households and Employment Relations at the Department of Sociology and Research School ICS of Utrecht University, head of the Department of Sociology and research director of ICS Utrecht. She presented insights from her research on women in leadership positions and from her own experience as a leader in several functions.


After this plenary session, attendees participated in one of three workshops, focusing on different areas of leadership.

1. Personal Leadership with Working Soft by dr. Claartje van Sijl
How to make time for what truly matters? When to say ‘no’? How to make sure you have abundant energy to creatively build your dream? In this workshop Dr. Claartje van Sijl invited participants to reflect on how habits of working hard and working soft direct their work and life by means of various games.

2. Group Leadership in an academic environment by Martin de Ruiter and Manon Dahler (Het Consulaat)
Leading a research group in academia: how to value individual qualities and contribute to the interests of the research group? In this workshop, a realistic leadership situation in academia was simulated and participants were invited to take a seat in the director’s chair. Participants reflected on the added value of different team roles and qualities and dealing with diversity in daily interactions.

3. Leadership at Radboud University by drs. Wilma de Koning and Jeannette Heldens
In this workshop, Wilma de Koning (Executive Board) presented the new vision on leadership at the Radboud University. Participants gave their feedback on this vision as input for a leadership document that will serve as a best practice for leadership at Radboud University.


The symposium closed with a short reflection on leadership and identity by Hans Thijssen, professor of History of Philosophy and former Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious studies at Radboud University, and attendees gave their own ideas on leadership, summarised in a wordcloud.