In maximum 7 meetings, spread out over a year, a group of 5 or 6 professors discuss and explore actual work-related issues. Participants share experiences. They explore and develop methods and strategies to deal with complex situations at work. During the meetings, professors receive practical tools and develop managerial skills (i.e. situational leadership, communication skills, dealing with conflicts, giving and getting feedback, negotiation strategies). The exchanges and analyses among peers, allow for personal reflection and new insights and ways to handle complex situations.

Typical for these meetings is that the participants are neither colleagues who work together on the same subject, neither are they working at the same department. Often they have never met before. Mostly they (hardly) know each other. Interests don’t interfere which makes it possible to exchange and explore in a safe environment. Most of the time, participants evaluate those meetings as valuable; their problems are not unique, their colleagues deal with the same type of issues. 

1.  Typical for the Peer Consultation Group for Professors 

–     all participants are professors at the university / a scientific (medical institute)

–     a group consists of 5 or 6 professors, plus the supervisor. 

–     a group that consists of 6 participants meets 7 times (5 participants meet 6 times) spread  out over a year. Every meeting lasts 4 hours (in the morning, afternoon or evening) and takes place at the office of one of the participants, depending on one’s possibilities.

–     the fee is € 975,- per participant. Because Van Og Advies is registered as an educational institute, costs are free of BTW.

2.  Examples of topics discussed and explored

–    where do I want to be in my career, within 5, 10 or 20 years? what are my priorities?

–     balance between research/ teaching/ management/ clinical tasks

–     dealing with and managing my position as a professor

–     dealing with annoying colleagues

–     tension between setting limits and giving freedom (towards colleagues)

–     supervising colleagues (PhD’s/ postdocs/ U(H)D’s etc.) in a constructive way\

–     dealing with ever expanding tasks/ setting priorities

–     negotiating in a successful way 

–     dealing with the Dutch/ the Dutch (academic) system/ UvA culture

–     dealing with conflicts / power relationships

–     dealing with gender issues 

–     balancing between work and private life (priorities)

–     how to balance between clinical and research tasks

–     how to set your limits (saying ‘no’)

–     how to become less overwhelmed by work/ demands of colleagues/ deadlines etc.

–     time management

–    visibility

–     dealing with the need to get grants/ enough publications/ discussions about authorship 

–    dealing with the balance between keeping your integrity and getting what you want  

–     it’s lonely at the top

–     when to say: enough is enough

Underlying topics:

–     self-confidence, self esteem

–     getting overview and taking a step in 

–     diminish (feelings of) insecurity 

–     personal efficiency

–     what is my place in the world

–     self-reflection: one’s strengths and weaknesses

3.  Strengths of ‘Professional Peer Consultation’ 

–     the combined approach (working in a structured way, offering broader concepts and  

      practical tips and tools and zooming in on psychological and sociological processes)entails that participants are addressed at various levels; what is discussed and explored sticks better.

–     the Peer Consultation does not take much time (6 or 7 meetings spread over a year)

–     the Peer Consultation group consists of a max of 6 professors. Under professional supervision the group can develop into a place where participants feel safe and explore situations that are bothering them and find constructive ways to handle them.

–     the fact that participants come from different faculties/ institutes and have different interests, contributes much towards the success of these groups.

4.   About Riky van Og, the supervisor, what does she bring with her

–     knowledge of and experience in the academic world and its various internal power structures en processes

–     20 years of experience as a psychologist in coaching and supervising university and medical staff with regard to complex situations at work

–     20 years of experience in supervising and coaching university and medical staff towards  a higher level of professionalism – at all levels (from PhD tot professor) – both at an individual level and in groups, at universities as well as other (medical) institutes of science. 

Riky van Og