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Hard times ahead: the University administration are planning to increase the teaching workload for lecturers and readers on permanent posts by more than 100% from (now) 8 to (then) 18 teaching hours per week (THW). This is not only a massive imposition for the colleagues in question but will also affect your studies at our institute. For the projected increase would violate the minimal standards of academic teaching and is prone to reduce our – and your – study programmes to some ‘light versions’ of their former selves.
University teaching at an adequate level of state-of-the-art conceptual quality requires intense research in the planning phase and extensive preparation and continuous reflection and evaluation during the teaching period. It is not for nothing that most of Germany’s federal states (incl. Berlin, Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) restrict the teaching load for readers and lecturers to 8-10 THW, with 12 THW as the maximum in exceptional cases. Similarly, in their manual for university teachers the University of Vienna stipulates for every 90 minutes of seminar teaching load 4,5 hours of preparation and follow-up processing.
A teaching load of 18 THW would allow only for starkly schematic, didactically streamlined and thematically/conceptually superficial courses and for a high rerun frequency of the same seminars all over again, in effect leading to a set course curriculum that would disenable choice and specialization. Nor would such a teaching load leave adequate room for the individual supervision of seminar assignments or term papers, let alone BA or MA theses.
Should the administration plans fully materialize, due to that excessive number of teaching hours, colleagues would be forced to offer low-standard courses of poor or no academic stature whatsoever. Our institute would then cease to be an academic teaching institution at university level.
The Faculty Council of the UP’s Faculty of Arts has unanimously voted to defy the administration’s imposition and to refuse to advertise teaching posts with a workload of 18 THW. Moreover, in an open letter addressed to the government of the federal state of Brandenburg and to the university administration, the Faculty of Arts protests against the impending de-academisation of this university.
The Department of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies
Here you find the link to the petition „Bildung ist keine Massenware“ (Education is no mass merchandise)
Open Letter to the President of Potsdam University and the Ministry of Science, Research and Cultural Affairs of the Federal State of Brandenburg (MWFK)