Working on a safe and inclusive work environment

News - 31 August 2023

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering aims to be a good employer. We strive for a safe and inspiring working environment in which employees can excel. Progress has been made in this area in recent years, but there is still room for improvement.

On Tuesday 29 August, national news broke that earlier this year Associate Professor Daphne Stam left our faculty. We regret her departure. TU Delft does not comment on matters concerning individual employees - the same obviously applies to us as a faculty. What we want to emphasise is that we want to appreciate Daphne Stam's critical signal about her former working environment so that we can learn from it.

In an academic work environment, being able to share your thoughts freely is of great significance. An inclusive and collegial working environment contributes to people being able to speak up and be heard. Because we consider this incredibly important, the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering commissioned an external survey in 2021, the results of which were shared with all employees. Based on these results, we set up a faculty culture programme aimed at improving mutual communication and preventing transgressive behaviour, among other things.

Within a technical environment such as our faculty, gender diversity is an issue that deserves special attention. At the level of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor, the percentage of women was 14% in 2018; it is now 21%. The percentage of female first-year students has increased from around 14% to around 20%. This is progress, but unfortunately less than we aimed for. Therefore, we want to and will continue to work for equal opportunities for all. To start with, we do this by implementing TU-wide policies on recognition & appreciation (‘erkennen & waarderen’), career development, diversity, inclusion and integrity. Specific instruments such as the Delft Female Technology Fellowship are also bearing fruit. Moreover, the faculty has rolled out a unique programme to support women on maternity leave and all parents on parental leave to overcome significant delays in their career development. We are open to recommendations from, for example, DEWIS, the network of women scientists at TU Delft.

We are working on solutions, fully aware that structural changes require focused and continuous attention. I, in my role as Dean, take to heart the signal sent by Daphne Stam. The management team, together with colleagues within the faculty and key actors within TU Delft, will continue to work on necessary improvements to create a safe and inclusive working environment.

Prof.Dr. Henri Werij, Dean Faculty of Aerospace Engineering TU Delft