Social Safety

Goal 3: Improve communications within the institute

Action 7: Survey other institutes on how to improve transparency concerning processes on promotion, performance, and development, as well as information management.

Realization pathway:

  • 5 – 9/2023: An initial round of investigations was conducted on best practices on information management within the institute.
  • 5 - 9/2023: The PhD Guidance Committee was asked to review our thesis guidelines, to clarify the rules to supervisors and students. These will be discussed at a staff meeting, implemented, and communicated to the students.
  • 10/2023: management will start with a regular “Observatory Email News” to improve the flow of information within the institute, and have an easily accessible record of information.
  • 10/2023: we plan to reinstate the Observatory Seminars, probably in a different form. These seminars serve to discuss the latest news (both scientific and non-scientific) at our institute. Investigations are ongoing how to do this most effectively. Room availability is a challenge.

Action 8: Investigate how to improve information flows about potential issues and general work-floor climate to management. One avenue is to stimulate the Institute Council, which has representatives from all groups in the Observatory, to take a more pro-active role.

Realization Pathway:

  • 5 – 8/2023: Institute Council members are now chosen with an election, with representatives from students, postdocs, scientific staff and support staff. This is aimed to increase the visibility of the Institute Council, and advocate it as a means to communicate with management.
  • 9/2023: It is agreed with the Institute Council that the Scientific Director is present at meetings for the final 30 minutes, to allow efficient feedback with management.
  • 9/2023: Creation of a easily accessible Social Safety website with all relevant information
  • 5/2023 & onwards: Postdoc representatives are scheduled to have a regular meeting with management: ~3 times a year. Currently they are Mathilde Bouvier, Florian Driessen, and Piyush Sharda.
  • 4/2023: Nienke van der Marel and Reinout van Weeren have been assigned as Postdoc Liaisons. They can serve as easy access point if there are issues.

Action 9: Reevaluate the governance structure within our institute

Realization pathway:

  • 3/2023 – 3/2024: The Faculty of Science is preparing for a restructuring of the governance of the institutes, including Leiden Observatory. While now all responsibility lays with the Scientific Director, this will be changed into a three-person, shared responsibility (collegial governance) between Scientific Director, Director of Studies, and Director of Operations. Since the position of Institute Manager will seize to exist, this is an official reorganization involving all the proper (legal) procedures. Current projection is that this process will conclude in March 2023, but could be delayed.
  • 9 - 12/2023: there are ongoing efforts to evaluate the current management structures. Is more help needed, e.g. using vice-director(s).
  • 9 – 12/2023: We are discussing implementation of possible substructures in the Observatory to increase the feeling of belonging and support. We are currently thinking in the direction of a matrix structure using many elements that are already in place, such as galaxy coffee/meetings, exoplanet meetings, astrochemistry talks. Each matrix element has coordinators. Every Observatory member should be part of at least one matrix element.