© AW Creative on Unsplash30.06.2020
From “Zoo School” to “Maternity Protection”: family-friendly universities
Juggling a degree course or teaching with the extra burden of the care of children or other family members is not an easy task. Both students and instructors have known this for generations. Fortunately, a lot has changed at the Brain City's universities over the decades. Family-friendliness is now firmly anchored in the curriculum and examination regulations of Berlin's universities and colleges and there's quite a diverse range of advice and support available. One committed example can be found at the Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (HWR Berlin). It was one of several Berlin universities to be certified “family-friendly university” in mid-June.
"A lot has happened since I started as a professor at the university 19 years ago," says Dr. Madeleine Janke, Professor of Business Accounting and Head of the Franco-German International Management course at the Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (HWR Berlin). “At the time, I was one of the few female professors with children at HWR Berlin. And the focus at the universities was not nearly as family-friendly as it is today.”
Combine teaching and research or studying for a degree course with the care of children or family members still remains a challenge that demands management skills and strong nerves from those affected. When Janke got her start, it was hardly to handle. “I probably wouldn't have been able to do it without the dedicated support of my family,” she recalls.
In the meantime, the mother of three is making selective use of the care programmes offered by HWR Berlin. As a working mother, she also benefits from other family-friendly measures at the university. These include, for example, flexible scheduling of appointments and converting classes into online seminars during this time of crisis, so that students can continue their learning without too any obstacles.
The ways that HWR Berlin supports family-friendly conditions for working and study conditions are extremely diverse. They range from individual advice and consultation hours to childcare at the two locations in Schöneberg and Lichtenberg to flexible working time options for university staff. For its family-friendly orientation, the HWR Berlin was once again certified as a 'family-friendly university' in audit results announced in mid-June. Other universities and colleges in Berlin also received the honourin 2020, including the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU Berlin), the Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin), and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin).
HWR Berlin had already adopted an Equal Opportunity Strategy in 2018, which included an extensive catalogue of measures to make the university more family-friendly. "For HWR Berlin, it is essential that we firmly anchor family-friendly working and study conditions in all areas of the university," HWR President Prof. Dr. Andreas Zaby explaines. "There are two main reasons: On the one hand, the mix of our students, professors, lecturers, academic staff and administrative and technical staff is clearly more diverse and heterogeneous than it used to be. We want to welcome this diversity by creating the best possible study conditions for everyone. On the other hand, we want to attract as many qualified people as possible to our university, from professors to administrative staff and technicians."
In addition to a wide range of childcare and advisory services, family-friendly curriculum planning is now an elementary university policy objective. This also includes the further development of blended learning models and ensuring that work, research, and family life are balanced in the personnel development concept. “The ability to plan times and appointments is essential for parents. We have therefore abolished committee meetings that used to run late into the evening. They must now end by 5 p.m. The dates are also set up to two years in advance. In this way, all of our employees can actually get involved in the committees,” Zaby further explaines. “Clear rules within the examination regulations also ensure that students before and after childbirth have no disadvantages with regard to exams or deadlines. In addition, we offer students with family commitments the opportunity to study on a part-time basis."
According to Andreas Zaby, the Brain City offers an ideal environment for academics: “Berlin was one of the earliest places to offer free childcare. The range of international schools in the city is also very large. Both are seen as a major plus in academic circles.” In addition, all of Berlin's universities also have access to the Dual Career Network Berlin, which provides support to specialist and managerial staff from academia and business who move to Brain City Berlin from abroad with their families.
One highlight at HWR Berlin programme this summer is once again childcare during school break. The format was offered for the first time in summer 2019, since the school break began before the semester's classes had finished meeting. Madeleine Janke, whose youngest daughter participated last year, remains enthusiastic: “While the Lichtenberg campus offered a zoo school, the Schöneberg campus had a one-week theatre workshop. Under the guidance of a theatre instructor, the children spent one week studying a play on a topic of their choice, which was then performed. My daughter had a lot of fun doing it. And for me the offer was extremely convenient. I was able to drop her off there at 8 a.m. and be in my lecture hall a few minutes later.” The short distances led to important time savings for the professor. But that is not all. "It was also very comforting to know that my daughter was nearby and in good hands." Due to the COVID-19, the summer holiday camps are not being offered on the Schöneberg campus this summer. In case they are offered again during the autumn holidays, Madeleine Janke is certain that her daughter would be happy to take part again. (vdo)
- Brochure "Studying as a Parent" from StudierendenWerk Berlin: A comprehensive overview of the advisory and support services at Berlin's universities and colleges. (Only available in German. )
- Information from HWR Berlin on „Studying with a Family"
- Dual Career Network Berlin
- Netzwerk Erfolgsfaktor Familie
- Information from the Berlin University Alliance
- Insights ©Matthias PicketInsightsDr. Anne Schreiter, Managing Director of the German Scholars Organization (GSO), reveals in the Brain City interview what alternative career...→
"Science is not just about research"
- Insights © Pocky Lee on UnsplashInsightsMatches in front of empty stadiums, virtual marathons, and many postponed events. Brain City Ambassador Professor Gabriele Mielke is tracking the...→
"Now is the time for innovators"
- Insights © HTW Berlin / Nikolas FahlbuschInsightsTeaching is currently only taking place online. Guest author Dr Dorothee Haffner, professor for Museology at HTW Berlin - University of Applied...→
Guest contribution: "Online teaching is more engaging than I thought"
- Insights Franziska SattlerInsightsIn the interview: Brain City ambassador Franziska Sattler on her series of events "Kaffeeklatsch mit Wissenschaft" (Talking Science over Coffee) at...→
"Science needs the trust of society"
- Insights Fotocredit: Ortner & Ortner / SiemensInsightsSiemensstadt 2.0 is a place of the future. The Berlin Senate has approved 9.9 million euros for the first research project "Electrical Drive...→
Siemensstadt 2.0: Research and industry closely linked
- Insights ©Credit Silke Oßwald/FMPInsightsBrain City interview: Professor Dr. Volker Haucke, Director at the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) and Professor of...→
In the balancing act between detail and overall concept
- Insights © hj barraza/UnsplashInsightsOur guest author Dr Barbara Schäuble is Professor for Diversity-Conscious Approaches in the Theory and Practice of Social Work at ASH Berlin and a...→
Guest contribution: A sudden change of course - classes moved online
- Insights ©DexLeChemInsightsLaunching a start-up while at university? Sonja Jost's success shows the way. Together with three fellow students, she founded DexLeChem after...→
"Bringing new knowledge to the market is very important to us"
- Insights ©Ivar Veermäe / Centre for EntrepreneurshipInsightsBrain City Berlin is the German capital of start-ups. Many young companies have successfully been founded through Berlin and Brandenburg based...→
"Society in particular benefits from high-tech start-ups" - university survey enters its third round
- Insights ©BIH|Thomas RafalzykInsightsAt the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) the main focus is on "translational research" - the transfer of findings from the research lab into clinical...→
“There are now many great female scientists, achieving great things”
- Insights ©fotografixx - istockphoto.comInsightsIn the digital age learning behaviour changes profoundly. It is student-centered and technology rich. As a member of the Erasmus+ funded project...→
Exploring the future of learning
- Insights © Brain City BerlinInsightsResearch results quickly and easily accessible online: The Open Access movement is campaigning for a paradigm shift in the field of publications and...→
Open Access: free knowledge for everyone
- Insights ©ESCP EUROPEInsights29.10.2019 | Professor Andreas Kaplan is a Brain City Berlin ambassador and Rector of ESCP Europe Business School Berlin. The economist's research is...→
"We have to be able to take everyone on the journey."
- Insights Gudrun Piechotta-HenzeInsightsIn time for the 2020/21 winter semester, ASH, the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin, is launching the first bachelor's degree to...→
"We have to completely rethink nursing!" | 27.09.2019
- Insights ©Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Matthias HeydeInsightsThe courses offered by the HUWISU Summer University are varied and exciting, the target group is international: students from abroad who come to...→
When Berlin becomes one large seminar room ... | 15.08.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:]InsightsThe literary scholar Dr. Betiel Wasihun was traveling for science. After stops in Heidelberg, Yale, and Oxford, it brought her to Berlin two years...→
“Berlin is a perfect location. Especially if you don’t want to pursue just a single avenue of scientific work.” | 12.08.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Berlin University Alliance/Matthias HeydeInsightsTogether we are stronger. And also more successful. As the "Berlin University Alliance," the Technische Universität Berlin, the Freie Universität...→
Congratulations: The “Berlin University Alliance“ receives funding of the Excellence Strategy |19.07.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] David Ausserhofer/IGBInsightsBerlin is one of the most water-rich cities in Germany. But climate change does not stop at the Havel, Spree or Wannsee either. Dr. Michael Hupfer is...→
"We're trying to take a look into the future." | 04.07.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Helena Lopes / UnsplashInsightsSend a digital lollipop or delicate fragrance notes via email or let the wind virtually blow against your face - research makes it possible. Learn...→
Experiencing the digital world with all senses | 18.06.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] HZB/M. SetzpfandtInsightsIn these times of fake news and pseudo-scientific publications, many people find it difficult to distinguish legitimate from dubious content. Only 54%...→
"Science needs to make us curious" | 11.06.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Tim LandgrafInsightsBrain City Berlin is considered one of the leading locations in Germany working on artificial intelligence. About 30% of all German AI companies are...→
Fish, bees, and self-driving cars | 07.06.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:]InsightsScience and cultural heritage, freely accessible to everyone at any time on the Internet: The Open Access movement is promoting a paradigm shift in...→
Knowledge for All - Open Access in Berlin | 28.03.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Thomas Rosenthal - Museum für Naturkunde BerlinInsights660 million euros in 10 years: The Natural History Museum Berlin - Museum für Naturkunde Berlin receives financial support for the further development...→
Future of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin | 14.01.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:]InsightsSpace exploration is experiencing a revolution thanks to commercialization by such companies as Elon Musk's SpaceX. But did you know that more facets...→
From Berlin to the moon: the space industry is booming in Berlin | 03.09.2018