Creating an enabling workplace culture at a technical university


Professor Sarah M. Springman, Rector of ETH Zürich

Friday, October 28, 2016, 12-1:30pm, RWTH Aachen Guesthouse

The Lecture

The leadership of a university has to consider two essential questions: Are we completing our duties well and correctly? And are we even doing the right thing? The first question applies to leadership instruments, quality management and indicators of performance, by which the university can be measured and regulated. The second question is much more difficult to answer. Here the focus lies on governance, hearing and decision processes, as well as subsidiarity and autonomy.

ETH Zürich's leadership structure is characterized by the combination of a presidential system, which is distinctly shaped by comprehensive academic measures, with a well established system of collaboration between school leadership, faculties, professors and students. With these structures and processes in place ETH is able to foster an enabling workplace culture, which is based on academic freedom, trust and personal responsibility. This culture of enablement allows researchers, lecturers, as well as students to follow their visions and ideas – all within the scope of the university leadership's mandated overall strategy.

  Portrait of Prof. Dr. Sarah Springman ETH Zürich / Markus Bertschi