Excellent teaching at the University of Kassel: two projects win prizes
The University of Kassel has regularly been one of the winners of the Hessian University Prize for Excellence in Teaching for years. In 2020 there are also two winners from Northern Hesse: In the project study Solarcampus (1st prize), students from various disciplines use their theoretical knowledge for real projects of the energy transition. Unlike in traditional courses, the students work like an engineering or consulting office, with a high degree of personal initiative and self-organisation. Accordingly, project management and teamwork skills are also on the curriculum.
The project study Solarcampus has now been offered for 30 semesters. It is named after the equipping of several university buildings with photovoltaic systems initiated by students in 2005. In recent years, projects running over several semesters have included, for example, the study of energy efficiency in the Kassel 1 prison or - in cooperation with Filmladen Kassel e.V. - a 'climate campaign' for CO2-neutral cinemas. Prizes were awarded to the specialist areas of Prof. Dr. Klaus Vajen (mechanical engineering), Prof. Dr. Astrid Dannenberg and Prof. Dr. Heike Wetzel (both economics). The three disciplines will receive a prize money of 60,000 euros.
The second prize in the category Working Group/Organisational Unit was also awarded to a team from Kassel, namely from the engineering sciences: In the introductory module Building Construction, the lecturers succeeded in tailoring a major event with 200 to 300 first-year students individually to the students with exemplary success. To this end, they supplement a classic lecture and practice-oriented tutorials with an extensive accompanying online offer; for example, obligatory multiple-choice tests regularly check the learning progress. Interactive elements are also built into the lectures, for example through smartphone-based feedback.
The Building Construction module teaches basic content for civil engineers, such as the function, structure and joining of essential construction elements. This project was led by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner Seim and his team from the Department of Building Maintenance and Timber Construction. This second prize is awarded with 30,000 euros.
The Vice President for Studies and Teaching, Prof. Dr. René Matzdorf, congratulated the winning teams and was pleased with the "meanwhile nice regularity with which the Kassel University is present at the awarding of this prize. This shows how many good ideas we have not only in research, but also in teaching". In the eleven years since the award was first announced, 17 teaching awards have been presented to Kassel. A central unit at the University, the Teaching Service Centre, supports lecturers in the development of innovative formats.
The Hessian Ministry of Science and Art awards the Hessian University Prize for Excellence in Teaching in the categories Working Group/Organisational Unit and Student Initiative. It honors outstanding and innovative teaching achievements. The prize endows a total of 115,000 euros. This year, the award was presented in a small ceremony at the Ministry of Science and Art in Wiesbaden.
Phone: 0561 804-1961