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6 February 2002

Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff outlines new structures for the University of Heidelberg 2001-2005

Structure and Development Plan 2001-2005 — Faculty reshuffle approved unanimously by Senate on 5 February — Hommelhoff: "Heidelberg University sees itself as a research university; accordingly, its teaching is geared to research."

There are two major topics on Heidelberg University's policy agenda for the new year: the Structure and Development Plan 2001-2005 for the entire University and the reorganisation of the Faculties. In addition, "Impulse", the ambitious reform project introducing a decentralisation of resource deployment responsibility, is expected to bring about lasting improvements in research and teaching throughout the University in the next three years.

"The Structure and Development Plan names those areas of excellence that stand out from the high general level of achievement"

After its passage through the administrative bodies of the University, the Structure and Development Plan is now ready for presentation to the public, both inside and outside the University. "Now in its 615th year," the Rector summed up, "the University of Heidelberg stands as a traditional university in the fullest sense of the word, with a broad range of disciplines and methodologies designed to reflect the multi-faceted complexion of the phenomena in the world around us: natural, social and cultural." Outstanding achievement, the Rector said, is to be found just as much in the more traditional departments of the University as in the interdisciplinary networks of scientific excellence, the latter being represented more strongly on the development side of the balance sheet.

Readers of the Structure and Development Plan will find a run-down of each and every Faculty and research institution belonging to the University. They will also find a chapter on future planning with respect to research and teaching, a chapter in which cross-disciplinary approaches and the international perspective are writ large. "Autonomy via Structural and Academic Management" is the title of a further chapter devoted to the internal organisation of the University. The Plan closes with ideas on how to increase the ratio of women active in research and teaching.

Hommelhoff: "The Plan makes it clear that the University of Heidelberg sees itself as a research university; accordingly, teaching is also geared to research." Its prime concern, he went on, is to train excellent young scientists and scholars. In the smaller departments above all, degree quality is more important than sheer quantity. Identifying research fields with outstanding potential for the future, the Rector mentioned not only scientific computing, the molecular life sciences and other scientific disciplines but also the classical and modern humanities departments, citing the interdisciplinary research network "Normativity, Religion, Ritual" as an example of the latter.

"The Structure and Development Plan names those areas of excellence that stand out from a generally high level of achievement," the Rector commented. The overall Plan is more than just the sum of the development plans of the individual Faculties and central research institutions but maintains an overall viewpoint in its designs for the University as a whole. This, said Hommelhoff, is a "must for everyone who cares about the University of Heidelberg", adding: "The Plan is fully in line with the motto coined on the occasion of the 600th anniversary celebrations: a tradition for the future!"

Senate resolution on Faculty reshuffle

At its public meeting on 5 February 2002 the Senate of the University of Heidelberg passed a unanimous resolution on the reorganisation of the Faculties. In future there will be 12 instead of 15.
Faculty of Theology
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Medicine at Heidelberg
Faculty of Clinical Medicine at Mannheim
Faculty of Philosophy
Faculty of Modern Languages
Faculty of Economic and Social Studies
Faculty of Behavioural Studies
Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics
Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculty of Physics and Astronomy
Faculty of Life Sciences
(newly structured Faculties in bold print).

The restructuring of the Faculties was on the agenda of the Senate on 18.9. 20.11. and 18.12.2001. These discussions were based on, and prompted by, the new University Law of March 2000, which increased the minimum size of Faculties from 10 to 20 professorial posts. Only in exceptional circumstances can a Faculty exist with fewer than 20 professorial positions. In Heidelberg's case this is true of the Faculty of Theology, which, however, has a special status because of an agreement between the Churches and the State dating back to 1931.

The newly formed Faculty of Philosophy is an amalgamation of the Faculty of Philosophy and History (without the Institute of Political Science) and the Faculty of Oriental and Classical Studies. Also new is the Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, representing a "merger" between the Faculty of Economics and the Institutes of Political Science and of Sociology. The future Faculty of Behavioural Studies consists of the former Faculty of Social and Behavioural Studies without the Institute of Sociology but featuring a new component devoted to Media Didactics. The new Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences brings together the two formerly separate Faculties, while the Faculty of Life Sciences encompasses the former Faculties of Biology and Pharmacy.

The finalisation of these changes is subject to approval from the University Council and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Higher Education.

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 24.02.2002


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