Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz receives EUR 12 million to further enhance learning and teaching
Quality Pact for Teaching program of the German Federal Government and the Länder aims to improve study conditions and the quality of teaching at institutions of higher education
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has been successful in the Quality Pact for Teaching, a joint program of the German Federal Government and the Länder to improve study conditions and the quality of teaching and mentoring for students at institutions of higher education. The Advisory Board of the Joint Science Conference (GWK) has agreed to continue funding the LOB – Teaching, Organizing, Advising: Conditions for Succeeding within Bologna program at Mainz University that commenced in 2012 to the end of 2020. JGU will have additional EUR 12 million available through the second funding period of the Quality Pact for Teaching starting in 2016. The university intends to use the project to further promote sustained improvements, augmentation, and professionalization of its curriculum and structures in teaching, course organization, and advisory support.
"We are very pleased that our proposal met with such a positive response and that we can look forward to continued funding. We consider this a confirmation of the excellence of the work we have carried out over the past four years in our faculties, central institutions, and the administration of our university. At the same time, this will encourage us to systematically continue the way we have taken and implement in practice the new teaching concepts developed for the subsequent phase of the Quality Pact for Teaching," explained Professor Georg Krausch, the President of Mainz University. He is particularly elated that the decision of the Joint Science Conference provides JGU with long-term prospects: "This is the largest funded project in the field of learning and teaching. It will provide the university with the opportunity to continuously develop its quality specifications in the core areas of teaching, organization, and advising, and verify their effectiveness over a period of eight years. In September 2015, the JGU proposal for a Teaching and Learning Research Lab as a location for future-oriented cooperation in teacher training was also selected as one of 30 projects considered particularly worthy of funding within the Teacher Training Quality Offensive, which is a further initiative agreed between the German federal and state governments that provides extra federal money for teacher training programs.
Since 2012, more than 60 employees in nine faculties, three central institutions, and the central university administration have been working on more than 20 individual projects involving measures for the augmentation of teaching and examination skills, for the improvement of course organization, and for the professionalization of advisory services across the whole student life cycle. The results of the first LOB funding period at JGU demonstrate that the diverse measures in these three fields have already generated significant improvements in the conditions of studying.
In the now commencing second funding phase of the Quality Pact for Teaching program, the initial professionalization in the three fields of the LOB project, i.e., teaching, organization, and advising, is to be systematically continued and extended. One aim is to ensure that decentralized advice support services focus on the transitional phase between the first and the second academic years as well as on the final degree phases. In addition, greater emphasis will be placed on the internationalization of learning and teaching. Peer group coaching will be continued and will concentrate more on the various needs of the different faculties. With regard to the envisaged sustainability, targeted standards and structures will be put in place across the university while the professionalism of personnel will be boosted by means of continuing and further education programs. The JGU Center for Quality Assurance and Development has years of experience in the provision of quality assurance services in research and teaching and is helping in this process by developing a broad spectrum of quality assurance measures.
"The measures for improving teaching and course organization are based on the general action standards defined by Mainz University itself in its mission statement and institutional and teaching strategies," added Professor Mechthild Dreyer, JGU Vice President for Learning and Teaching.
With some 33,000 students from over 130 nations, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is one of the largest universities in Germany. "The university is committed to the task of preparing young people to take responsibility in society," emphasized JGU President Professor Georg Krausch. "We see teaching, in particular, as the area through which the knowledge and skills needed for the future need to be conveyed." In order to achieve this purpose, the university has over past years been subjecting its level of teaching commitment to close scrutiny and this has resulted in the creation of a standardized teaching strategy. The establishment of the Gutenberg Teaching Council (GTC) in 2011 was another important step in this process.