Kassel University Creates Over 200 New Positions
The expansion is made possible by the "Hessischen Hochschulpakt" (Hessian Higher Education Pact), which includes broader reliable funding for universities, by the 300 professorships program of the state of Hesse, by successes of the Kassel University in nationwide tenders and a number of other programs. In its development plan, the university has now set out its path until 2025 and underpinned it with a medium-term financial plan.
University President Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey described the package as a "major and necessary step." "It will noticeably increase the attractiveness of our university in northern Hesse and, in addition to other improvements, allows us to significantly sharpen our research profile." He said this includes, for example, but is not limited to, the planned Scientific Center on Sustainable Transformations.
The package of more than 200 positions includes both additional permanent positions and permanent positions that replace previously temporary positions. The additional professorships also bring with them positions for academic staff and secretariats.
Around 50 new professorships
In total, the Kassel University will increase the number of its professorships by almost 50, an impressive 15 percent. In addition, there will be up to 80 academic staff and secretarial positions in the relevant subject areas. Up to 17 of these professorships will go to the Scientific Center, with which the Kassel University will bundle its research on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and substantially strengthen sustainability-related teaching; the Center's founding board of directors will begin its work shortly.
Additional professorships will be established, for example, in materials science/mechanical engineering, teacher education, artificial intelligence, psychotherapy, and for the documenta institute, which is currently being established. "We can strengthen important and promising areas and increase the charisma of the Kassel University in the national and international research landscape. At the same time, we are creating new, attractive offers for students," commented Finkeldey.
Better support for students
The increase in professorships will also significantly improve the supervision ratio, i.e. the ratio of teachers to students. "That alone will noticeably increase the quality of teaching," Finkeldey commented. But that's not all. The university management is strengthening teaching with around 35 additional positions: in addition to ten permanent positions for teachers for special tasks (LfbA) created in 2017, the university is establishing another 15 LfbA positions permanently, supplemented by seven temporary LfbA positions. Together with additional positions, for example for pedagogical staff and other lecturers, this should also improve the range of courses offered, for example in teacher training; even if they largely replace previous temporary positions. "The Hessian Higher Education Pact and the more reliable permanent funding it brings will now allow us to implement our plans and create more reliable prospects for teachers and thus for students," Finkeldey said.
More service for students and researchers
The new leeway also allows for quite a few improvements in the deaneries, the central administration and some central facilities such as the IT Service Center, the Teaching Service Center and the International Study Center. "These areas have taken on additional tasks in recent years, for example with regard to digitization or internationalization," explained Chancellor Dr. Oliver Fromm. So far, however, this has not been reflected in additional permanent positions, which is now changing. These areas will be consolidated with around 65 permanent positions. This means that in the future, for example, the practical relevance of teaching can be better supported by positions in the dean's offices. Investments will also be made in the support of international students, as well as in IT services and support for the digitization of courses.
"The bottom line is that the service orientation of the administration and the central institutions will be further strengthened for the benefit of all members of the university," Fromm was pleased to say. Finkeldey added: "With the measures now adopted, we will become even more attractive as an employer, give teaching a powerful boost and be able to expand the research portfolio. In addition: Only recently, the state of Hesse provided 180 million euros for construction measures via the HEUREKA program, in particular for the new building for the natural sciences and the renovation of the art academy. These are all investments in the future of the Kassel University."
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