A First For Israeli Academic Institutions: Hebrew University Will Adjust Departmental Seminars To Meet Needs Of Researchers Raising Children

Departmental seminars and colloquium talks to conclude by 3:30 p.m. to allow researchers and doctoral students quality parenting time with their children

Jerusalem, Oct. 31, 2012 — In a first for Israeli academic institutions, beginning with the next school year, departmental seminars and colloquium talks in most academic units of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will conclude by 3:30 p.m., in accordance with the recommendation of the Standing Committee of the University. The purpose of the new procedure, known as the "3:30 Procedure," is to enable young researchers who are raising children to attend seminars without sacrificing the time they spend with their children.

According to Prof. Orna Kupferman, the adviser on gender issues to Hebrew University's President, and initiator of the 3:30 Procedure: "Departmental seminars constitute an important place for researchers to exchange ideas, get exposed to the cutting edge of scientific research and get to know each other. However, many departmental seminars have traditionally been conducted in the late afternoon hours, while most children's school days end at 4 p.m. Since in today's reality the responsibility for child care still falls mainly on women, female researchers who have small children were forced to miss part of the seminars. The new procedure is designed to solve this problem and ensure that male and female researchers who are parents can fulfill their potential."

Prof. Kupferman emphasized that the 3:30 Procedure will not affect the number of hours that researchers can dedicate to their work: "The work of a true researcher does not end at 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. or 7 p.m., but rather accompanies him or her throughout the entire day. Researchers joining the Hebrew University choose to come here because they want to conduct as much research as possible, and they continue their work even after their children go to bed. Children and their parents have the right to enjoy each other, so there is no reason to establish departmental activities specifically in the few hours that the children's school day enables them to do so."

The 3:30 procedure is part of a wide-ranging program that the Hebrew University recently enacted to promote young female researchers. Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson said, "The University wants to accelerate the trend of integrating promising female researchers into academia and is working to remove psychological, social and bureaucratic barriers that prevent many women from developing an academic career."