The Executive Board of the University is reorganizing itself. The remits of the Offices of the Vice President are being optimized, the deans are given more responsibility, the faculties are more directly included in the decision-making processes of UZH, and a number of procedures are being simplified. These measures free up capacity in the Executive Board of the University that can be used for the strategic management and development of UZH. Overall, this reform increases UZH’s ability to act.
UZH’s new governance model is the fruit of several years of development work. An initial proposal for reform was submitted for consultation in 2014. On this basis, a follow-up project with the involvement of the deans was launched in 2015. The organizational model that emerged from this project was approved by the Board of the University in early 2018 and is set to be implemented gradually between 1 August 2018 and 2020.
The most striking change to the previous structure relates to the remits and names of the Offices of the Vice Presidents. Previously, the Vice Presidents were the representatives of the faculties in the Executive Board of the University. In the future, however, they will be released from their functions as “stand-in” deans, since the latter will now themselves be able to represent selected interests of their faculties in the Executive Board of the University. The Vice Presidents can thus focus on university-wide matters falling within their areas of responsibility. Special attention was given to scope and relevance in the allocation of tasks.
The role of Deputy President has been newly created and will be held by one of the Vice Presidents. This person will be responsible for diversity, sustainability, and quality management/evaluations at UZH in addition to their specific area of responsibility as Vice President.
To further professionalize the leadership of the faculties and the Executive Board of the University, the terms of office have also been increased from two to four years. The relevant roles, which are currently part-time, will be converted into full-time functions; however, individual solutions are to be made available to the deans.
The Executive Board of the University will be made up of five academic and two non-academic members. Besides the voting members, the meetings of the Executive Board of the University will continue to be attended by three participants in an advisory capacity: The Secretary General, the Head of Communications, as well as the General Counsel.
The future structure of the Executive Board of the University is as follows:
The renaming of the Offices of the Vice Presidents takes effect from 1 August 2018 onwards, while the other changes mentioned above will be realized gradually. During the two-year transition phase, the Vice Presidents will continue to act as the contacts for the faculties assigned to their role. The implementation of the new governance model is expected to be complete by the summer of 2020.
The reform of the Executive Board of the University takes into account the culture and history of UZH. The current decision-making bodies – the Board of the University, the Senate, the Extended Executive Board of the University, the Executive Board of the University, and the seven faculties – will remain in place, as will the autonomy of the faculties. In fact, their autonomy will even be increased: In the future, the deans will more often conclude business at the faculty level. As already mentioned, rather than the Vice Presidents, they will themselves represent the interests of their faculties in the Executive Board of the University.
To involve the faculties more closely in the strategic business of the Executive Board of the University, “strategic dialogues” will be organized whereby each faculty leadership will separately meet with the Executive Board of the University twice a year. Not all of the new roles and responsibilities of the deans have yet been determined precisely. Open questions will be addressed over the next two years in the course of implementing the structural reforms.