The Senate meeting on Thursday, September 28, 2023, was opened by the Rector prof. dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski presenting congratulatory diplomas to two editors, prof. Mariola Bidzan and prof. Małgorzata Lipowska from the Institute of Psychology of the Faculty of Social Sciences UG, whose journal Health Psychology Report has received 2 IF points and is currently the best recognised in this category (read here).
Afterwards, the Rector, accompanied by the Vice-Rector for Research, prof. dr hab. Wiesław Laskowski presented outstanding young scientists with diplomas from the Minister of Education and Science. The laureates were Mateusz Cwaliński, Cezary Kucewicz, Agata Motyka-Pomagruk, Artur Sawicki, Piotr Śliż and Bartosz Wcisło.
‘We know that competition in the country is getting stronger, so I am even more pleased that we have so many talented young scientists at our university,' stressed the Rector. ‘We congratulate our young scientists and wish them further success.’
The Senate then gave a positive opinion on the motions for the position of university professor at the University of Gdańsk:
- the Faculty of Law and Administration’s motion for the employment of dr hab. Jakub Szlachetko was presented by dr hab. Anna Machnikowska, prof. UG, in place of the Dean of the Faculty,
- the Faculty of Biology’s motion to employ dr hab. Andre Viola de Moura was presented by the Dean, prof. dr hab. Dariusz Szlachetko,
- the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG and MUG’s motion to employ dr Zhi Jane Chen was presented by the Dean, dr hab. Ewelina Król, prof. UG,
- the Faculty of History’s motion to employ dr hab. Seweryn Rzepecki was presented by the Dean, dr hab. Arkadiusz Janicki, prof. UG,
- the Faculty of Social Sciences’ motion to employ dr Margot Stańczyk-Minkiewicz was presented by the Dean, prof. dr hab. Michał Harciarek,
- the Faculty of Social Sciences’ motion to employ dr. hab. Bartosz Mika was presented by the Dean prof. dr hab. Michał Harciarek,
- the Faculty of Social Sciences’ motion to employ dr hab. Oleksandr Radchenko was presented by the Dean, prof. dr hab. Michał Harciarek,
- the Faculty of Chemistry’s motion to employ dr hab. Paweł Niedziałkowski was presented by Dean prof. dr hab. Beata Grobelna,
- the Faculty of Philology's motion to employ dr Ewa Mazierska was presented by Dean dr hab. Urszula Patocka-Sigłowy, prof. UG.
‘As you can see, 30 per cent of the applications accepted now relate to the employment of foreigners, which is a perfect sign of our progressing internationalisation,’ concluded the Rector.
In the next item, the Senate took note of the request from the Rector of the Technical University of Łódź for a DHC review for prof. Bogusław Buszewski, which prof. dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski had been asked to prepare. The Senate unanimously gave a positive opinion on the review.
The Rector later presented a draft Resolution of the UG Senate on the approval of the proposal of the Assembly of the Daniel Fahrenheit Association of Universities in Gdańsk concerning the transfer of a part of the subsidy by the University of Gdańsk, the Medical University of Gdańsk and the Technical University of Gdańsk to the Association. The Rector pointed out that the University was maintaining its current level of funding. The Senate unanimously agreed to the transfer of funds.
The following two items were reported by the Vice-Rector, prof. Wiesław Laskowski. As he said, the resolution of the Senate of the University of Gdańsk on the procedure for awarding doctoral degrees at the University of Gdańsk is the result of a discussion prompted by the Council for Scientific Excellence concerning the role of the promoter in the course of the doctoral procedure. The amendment excludes the promoter from voting in the Doctoral Committee. The second resolution – on the Procedure for conferring the academic degree of habilitated doctor at the University of Gdańsk – concerns the obligatory habilitation colloquium, regardless of discipline. ‘The change is purely technical, and the colloquium is to be held in public and not in secret,’ emphasised the Vice-Rector.
Prof. dr hab. Mirosław Przylipiak asked about the legal aspects of introducing these changes concerning promoters. As the Vice-Rector informed him, the Act on Higher Education precisely gives universities the power to resolve this issue. The guideline for us was the court decision on this matter. The Rector also added that we had made initial arrangements not to exclude promoters from the committee against the opinion of the RDN. Still, after the court ruling, we have no choice but to exclude them from voting. Prof. Mirosław Przylipiak asked that these changes be widely communicated to the academic community, as they have been in force since the Senate adopted them. Vice-Rector prof. Wiesław Laskowski assured that everyone would be informed. Senator dr hab. Anna Machnikowska, prof. UG, declared that persons with legal doubts on this issue may contact her for clarification. The Senate adopted the resolutions.
The Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Education Quality, dr hab. Arnold Kłonczyński, prof. UG, informed that changes to the postgraduate programme in clinical psychology had been introduced due to changes to the regulation of the clinical psychology profession. He pointed out that recruitment is also unique in this case, as it takes place at the provincial level. The Senate adopted the changes.
Determining the number of members of the University Election Committee and faculty election committees for the term 2024-2028 was the subject of a vote on another resolution of the UG Senate adopted unanimously by the Senate. The UG Senate also voted ‘yes’ on changes in the composition of the University of Gdańsk's standing committees until the end of the 2020-2024 term. These changes are due to personnel changes – the retirement of employees and the appointment of new members in their place (2 persons).
The next item on the Senate's agenda was a report by the Ombudsperson for Ethical Conduct of Academic Staff, Prof. Mariola Bidzan. ‘Complaints are increasing. Last academic year, there were 11 and more arrived in the summer. They are challenging because they concern both the relationship between students and instructors, mutual complaints of faculty members and the employee-supervisor relationship,’ the Ombudsperson said. ‘Some complaints have not been confirmed, some have been resolved through mediation, and some are before the courts. Some of them could be resolved simply by talking to each other even before they started to escalate.’
The Rector thanked the Ombudsperson, Prof. Mariola Bidzan, for her commitment.
Prof. Anna Machnikowska reported on the need to publicise the conclusions of the proceedings as widely as possible, which may help to locate and resolve problems in the future.
Prof. Mariola Bidzan added it is also a big problem for superiors to treat the outsourcing of ordinary work duties that employees should perform as bullying. The Rector, prof. Piotr Stepnowski stressed that he had appointed additional ombudspersons at UG who should relieve the burden on the disciplinary ombudspersons. ‘We are trying to define a framework for action and cooperation between ombudspersons and offices. This includes ensuring competence and mutual communication,’ added the Rector.
In turn, the report of the Equal Treatment and Anti-Harassment Ombudsperson was presented by the Ombudsperson, dr hab. Joanna Kruczalak-Jankowska, prof. UG, and her deputy, dr hab. Maciej Nyka, prof. UG.
After a general presentation of the scope of the Ombudsperson's activities, the office's website and its staff, the Ombudsperson drew attention to the training courses conducted and available on the website, explaining, for example, what mobbing and unequal treatment are, both from the legal side and from the psychological point of view. Prof. Maciej Nyka also conducted training at the Fahrenheit University Union level. Discussing cases in general, prof. Joanna Kruczalak-Jankowska called for attention to be paid to the working atmosphere. ‘EU law also ensures a friendly working environment, so it is good that this is being discussed,’ she added.
The ombudspersons were thanked by the Dean of the Faculty of Management, prof. dr hab. Mirosław Szeder, who met with them on a matter concerning the faculty and, as he emphasised, appropriate help and solutions were obtained.
The Rector thanked the spokespersons and the office. He encouraged the deans to spread awareness of the website and the information there. The Director of the Intercollegiate Biotechnology Doctoral School of UG and MUG, prof. dr hab. Igor Konieczny requested that the website should also include information in English.
One case handled by the Office was also referred to by dr Paweł Śpica, who expressed reservations about its handling. However, as prof. Joanna Kruczalak-Jankowska, the Ombudswoman, pointed out, the escalation of the problem was caused by previous negligence in this matter over many years. The Rector also stressed the complexity of the subject and the enormous effort put in by both the Ombudspersons and the faculty authorities, thanks to which the problem was resolved.
The next item was the speech and report of the Ombudsperson for Academic Integrity, dr hab. Sławomir Steinborn, prof. UG.
The Ombudsperson presented information on prevention and training activities. The Ombudsperson emphasised that in the course of two and a half years of activity, 11 cases had been received, out of which nine should have been dealt with. The Ombudsperson emphasised the good practice of those departments which conduct a preliminary analysis of the case even before reporting suspected academic dishonesty. In presenting his conclusions, prof. Sławomir Steinborn emphasised the importance of clearly defining the principles of cooperation and the scope of contributions to the collaboration when conducting joint research and publishing results. As he added, it would be advisable to create rules of procedure for actions in cases of suspected scientific dishonesty.
Prof. Anna Machnikowska reminded everyone that it is the duty of promoters and reviewers to read the work thoroughly and take care of details at every stage of the publishing process.
The Rector, prof. Piotr Stepnowski, once again, thanked all the Ombudspersons for their work.
In the following vote, the Senate approved the list of organisational units of the University of Gdańsk.
The minutes of the meetings of the previous Senate sessions were then approved.
In conclusion, the Rector invited everyone to the parade of Fahrenheit and Pomeranian universities in Gdańsk on Saturday at 10.00 a.m. and to the inauguration at UG on Tuesday, also at 10.00 a.m., as well as to a whole day of planned events related to the year of Wisława Szymborska.
The Vice-Rector, prof. Arnold Kłonczyński announced that he would provide information about all Rector's Days in this academic year before the inauguration on October 2.
Vice-Rector prof. Wiesław Laskowski issued an invitation to the Pomeranian Researchers' Night, which will take place from Friday to Saturday.
Piotr Patalas, in turn, invited participants of the meeting to the Student Year Opening on October 12 at the Faculty of Social Sciences (WNS).