The coronavirus crisis and the measures taken by the university were an important topic during the last two meetings of the Council of Academic Staff Members. The academic staff members still have an additional workload to carry and their work is affected by ad hoc decisions required by the unpredictability of the pandemic. Nevertheless, many ideas and concepts have proven to be successful and will also be used in digital teaching (and research) in the upcoming semester.
Besides coronavirus-related topics, we are also working on supporting post-doctoral fellows at our university.
Once again, times like these show that staff members who think ahead and participate in the university’s bodies and committees are highly needed to move the university forward. In the upcoming semester, we want to organize an information event on “academic self-governance processes” and to invite academic staff members to participate in the university’s bodies and committees.
We would like to give you a short overview on the support measures which may be relevant to academic staff members (central information on the university’s coronavirus measures are available here or on the Intranet):
Information on measures (such as FAiR@UMA which already took place) and information and assistance for the reconciliation of work and family obligations during the coronavirus pandemic can be found here: www.uni-mannheim.de/
The petition to take the additional workload of researchers with care obligations into account: https://mehrbelastung.de/ may also be interesting to you.
WUMAN has also organized a “voucher system” to help on a small scale and bring people together. Please register here if you need help or are able to help someone.
You can also contact the Staff Council, if you have any questions or issues you would like to discuss. For contact details and more information, please go to the Intranet: https://intranet.uni-mannheim.de/personalrat/euer-personalrat/ (in German)
The federal government has decided to extend the maximum contract duration under the academic fixed-term contract act (WissZeitVG) by the time the operations at higher education institutions and research institutions were restricted due to the pandemic situation. Temporary employment contracts serving to further the academic qualification which have existed between 1 March and 30 September 2020 may be extended by six months. The Bundestag approved the extension of the maximum contract duration on 28 May 2020 with retroactive effect from 1 March 2020. For more details, please see here: https://www.bmbf.de/de/karrierewege-fuer-den-wissenschaftlichen-nachwuchs-an-hochschulen-verbessern-1935.html (in German)
In addition, some external funding providers offer the possibility to extend projects, for example the German Research Foundation: https://www.dfg.de/en/research_funding/announcements_proposals/2020/info_wissenschaft_20_28/index.html
The University Library also continues to provide various services (e.g. a scanning and delivery service) as well as extended digital resources. These services are still available, even after the (restricted) reopening of the circulation desk. For more information on the services of the University Library during the coronavirus pandemic please see here: https://www.bib.uni-mannheim.de/corona/.
In order to discuss and exchange information on digital teaching a university-wide ILIAS group was created. The group is called “Digitalisierung in der Lehre” (Digitalization in teaching). Here you will also find a summary (ppt) of the online seminar of HDZ, UNIT and Student Services on digital teaching (of 21 April).
For more information on the services of the University IT (UNIT) during the coronavirus pandemic, please see: https://www.uni-mannheim.de/en/it/coronavirus/.
If you have any questions, would like to add something or have other tips, please send us an e-mail.
The last meeting of the Council of Academic Staff Members which was held online on 6 May 2020 from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the relevant measures taken by the university. In addition, succeeding representatives were nominated for four university bodies, since the term of office of the previous representatives of the academic staff members ended on 31 July 2020. The reports by the bodies, however,mostly dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, also, because the work of the bodies had to be suspended because of the crisis.
The lively discussion about the situation of academic staff members during the pandemic made it clear that academic staff members currently have an additional workload. The workload is individually different (e.g. due to additional care activities in daily life or due to new teaching methods and forms of examination). Academic staff members are concerned about the severely restricted research opportunities, especially for further qualification, and have existential worries with regard to the deadlines of fixed-term contracts. We collected ideas of how the university can support the academic staff members in the short term and how their workload can be reduced. In a subsequent meeting, the Council’s speakers have forwarded these ideas to the President's Office.
With regard to the upcoming semester, the members wished to participate in the planning process for the fall semester ahead of time to be able to distribute the workload and the resources accordingly. They also wished for a subsequent reduction of their workload to be able to allocate the appropriate amount of time to their research activities. This was also communicated to the President's Office. We are working on it!
In the last meeting of the Council of Academic Staff Members on 28 October 2019, the speaker and deputy speaker, Regine Zeller and Stefan Janke, stepped down from their offices. Thank you very much for all the work you have done in the past years. Subsequently, two new speakers, Pascal Kieslich (speaker) and Daniela Kuschel (deputy speaker) were elected.
We also voted on two amendments to the statutes (see section 2 and section 5 subsection 2 number 1) and confirmed these amendments. For the updated statutes of the Council, please see the PDF on the main page in the section “Related documents.”
The reports from the bodies dealt, inter alia, with new support measures (which were discussed by the Research Council). Interim financial aid should also be possible to bridge financing gaps until applications for third-party funding have been approved. The Senate Committee on Teaching discussed guidelines for good teaching and the Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity suggested to use the generic femininum in the German version of examination regulations. This is currently reviewed by the President's Office. In addition, we talked about the upcoming “familiengerechte Hochschule” audit (family-friendly university) and about the efforts we plan to make in different areas with regard to the topic relevant to the academic staff members and their career development.
The date for the meeting of the Council of Academic Staff Members in the spring semester 2020 will be announced in due time. We are looking forward to meeting interested academic staff members who would like to join us.
Merry Christmas! We hope to continue our successful collaboration in the next year.
In the elections of the Senate, the list of the Council of Academic Staff Members was very successful. In total, our list across all schools and institutions received about 89.3 percent of the votes. This means that all four seats in the Senate which belong to the group of academic staff members are taken by academic staff members who were on the list of the Council of Academic Staff Members. The members elected to the Senate from the Council of Academic Staff members (listed in accordance with the share of votes received): Christiane Koch; Dr. Hannes Beyerbach; Dr. Christiane Grill und Mareile große Beilage. The turnout at this election was 27.6 percent. This is an increas of fve percent compared to the last big election to the bodies, which took place in the spring semester 2019. In the bulletin of the President’s Office, you will find more details on the elections for the bodies (inter alia, on the results for the deputies as well as the results for the school councils). We would like to thank everyone who voted for us in trusting in us.