RWTH's Quality in Teaching Initiative Once Again Successful
Millions in funding for better study conditions and and more quality in teachingPeter Winandy
Student enrollments in the winter term of 2015/2016 are at a record high – currently, 2.7 million students are enrolled at German universities. In order to make sure that these students are facing favorable study conditions, the federal and state governments have launched the second phase of the Quality Pact for Teaching (“Qualitätspakt Lehre”). 174 higher education institutions have applied for continued funding in the initiative, and the universities whose concepts are approved for funding will receive about 830 million Euros until 2020 to further improve teaching and learning and the supervision of students.
In the second phase of the initiative, RWTH receives funding for two successful proposals, its “RWTH 2020 – Excellent Teaching” proposal as well as a collaborative project proposal jointly developed with Ruhr-Universität Bochum and TU Dortmund University. The budget for the approved projects is almost 20 million Euros. Professor Aloys Krieg is pleased with the good news from Berlin: “We at RWTH are very glad about this success, as it indicates that our good work in the past has been recognized. We take it as an incentive to tackle what lies ahead of us in teaching and learning.”
Better Conditions for Study and Improved Quality in Teaching
In implementing the “RWTH 2020 – Excellent Teaching” project, RWTH aims to ensure that 75 percent of students, to whom university studies were recommended, successfully complete their studies. The following measures, which have been already implemented and focus on assisting prospective students with choosing the right course of study, shall be continued: the central Coordination Office of Projects for Pupils, six Pupils’ Labs, and self-assessments in all fields of study all offer guidance and advice on school students’ future university aspirations.
These measures will now be further developed: in order to decrease drop-out rates at early stages of university study, 16 mentoring positions will be filled and additional professorships in four fundamental subjects created; furthermore, there will be mathematics bridge courses available during the entire degree program.
In order to secure the quality of teaching and learning, new methods of teaching will be implemented and evaluated, and further opportunities for the continuing education of instructors will be created. Furthermore, a comprehensive quality in teaching management process shall be in place by 2020.
A finding of past analyses of teaching and learning methods is that there is a strong demand for high-quality blended learning content. As a result, a new service unit for modern, media-supported teaching formats has been established.
ELLI – Joining Forces with Bochum and Dortmund to Optimize Engineering Education
ELLI is an acronym for “Exzellentes Lehren und Lernen in den Ingenieurwissenschaften,“ which translates as “Excellent Teaching and Learning in the Engineering Sciences.” Accordingly, the ELLI project, which has been jointly developed by RWTH Aachen, Ruhr-University Bochum and TU Dortmund University, seeks to further improve the quality of teaching in engineering subjects. Both engineering and pedagogical departments are involved the project, which already developed, implemented and assessed innovative teaching concepts during the first funding phase.
In the second funding phase, ELLI seeks to address the most pressing demands placed on engineering education in the upcoming years, including Industry 4.0 requirements, entrepreneurial thinking and practice, and the use of augmented and virtual teaching worlds. The project has a focus on four core topics: Remote Labs and Virtual Learning Worlds; Globalization; Student Life Cycle, and Entrepreneurship.