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05/17/2019 | Pressemitteilung

University of Kassel again awarded for excellent teaching

Once again, the University of Kassel has done extremely well in the Hessian University Award for Excellence in Teaching. Two of the four awards presented by Hessian Science Minister Angela Dorn yesterday evening (May 16) went to the university in northern Hesse. The awards went to an international online seminar in English studies and the reconstruction of historical exhibitions in virtual reality.

Image: Sebastian Mense.
Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken (center) and Simon-Lennert Raesch (right) create digital reconstructions of exhibitions. With the help of VR glasses, for example, the documenta of 1955 can be revisited.
Image: HMWK.
Science Minister Angela Dorn (from left), award winners Wiebke Ost and Prof. Dr. Claudia Finkbeiner, laudator Maximilian Kafanke.

"We know that the University of Kassel is a place of good teaching and new ideas," said Prof. Dr. René Matzdorf, Vice President for Studies and Teaching. "It always pleases us when we also get it confirmed from the outside and the lecturers receive such a top-class award for their commitment. It is also visible here that the support of teaching programs by central units at our university is also fruitful." Both projects received financial and advisory support and funding from the University of Kassel's Central Teaching Support Unit.

Minister Dorn awarded the second prize in the working group category to the "Online Educational Initiatives" project. In this project, student teachers and master's students from Kassel connect with Jewish and Arab students from various universities in Israel for joint virtual seminars. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Claudia Finkbeiner, an English professor from Kassel (Faculty of Foreign Language Teaching and Learning Research and Intercultural Communication), they work in international teams on case studies, design educational projects, and develop websites or wikis with educational content. Through this "distance learning," the prospective teachers acquire intercultural and linguistic competencies in addition to subject didactic skills and learn how to use new media and teaching formats in the classroom. In addition to Finkbeiner, Wiebke Sophie Ost (tutor) and Marcel Foerster (tutor) are also involved. The second prize is endowed with 30,000 euros.


Revisiting the first documenta in 1955

In the same category, the third prize went to the project "The Virtual Dimension," which combines research and teaching. Here, students of art studies, with the support of computer scientists, recreate historical art exhibitions in virtual reality (VR); for example, they are involved in the reconstruction of the first documenta in 1955 or the legendary International Art Exhibition in Dresden in 1926. This is preceded by intensive research in archives and literature. In this way, the students learn how to use VR technology and cooperate with IT specialists, while at the same time exploring curatorial practice in the past and present. Leading the project are Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken, professor of modern art history at the Kunsthochschule Kassel (a part of the University of Kassel), and Simon-Lennert Raesch, a staff member at the Department of Software Engineering. This third prize is worth 15,000 euros.

The Hessian University Prize is awarded in the categories Working Group (1st to 3rd prize) and Student Initiative (1st prize). Last year, the University of Kassel received three of the four awards, and the year before that, one. In total, 15 teaching awards have gone to Kassel in ten years of competition. The prize is awarded for outstanding and innovative teaching achievements and is endowed with a total of 115,000 euros. It has a nationwide reputation. Any state university in Hesse can participate.



Sebastian Mense
University of Kassel
Communications, Press and Public Relations
Tel.: +49 561 804-1961
E-mail: presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de