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2021/2022 Academic Year has begun

In her opening address, Rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein presents the foundations for the development of a coherent overall strategy for the University of Freiburg

Freiburg, Oct 20, 2021

The 2021/2022 Academic Year has begun. The traditional ceremony on the first Wednesday after the start of the semester on site was combined with a hybrid format this year. Thus, even in times of a pandemic, all interested members and friends of the University of Freiburg were able to participate in the new semester’s kick-off, which was also reorganized in terms of content. In a keynote speech, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, spoke about “Why the World Needs Diversity.” Rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein gave an outlook on the next steps in which an overall university strategy for the coming years will be developed together with the members of the University of Freiburg.

Photo: Sandra Meyndt

The words “passionate, committed, excellent” defined the opening ceremonial program for the 2021/2022 Academic Year. Film clips presented different people at the University who are passionate about their daily contribution to better science. In a subsequent round of talks, members of the University administration, the University Council and the Student Council engaged in an exchange about social diversity and science communication. Moreover, as Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein emphasized in her speech, these are the words that shape the impression she has gained of the University of Freiburg and its members during her first weeks and months as rector.

New Rectorate has set the course for the future

“With and after the Rectorate’s reorganization, we have begun to rethink the strategic goals for our University and set the first strategic course for the future,” Krieglstein explained. The core tasks of research and teaching will be supplemented, shaped and repositioned for the future in the coming years with a focus on innovation, internationalization, sustainability, university culture, science communication and digitization. Success in the next round of the Excellence Strategy is a central, but, as the rector emphasized, not the only goal the Rectorate has set for the University for the coming years. Rather, an overall strategic process is to be launched that will think beyond the excellence strategy in terms of content and time, think along the lines of other important interim goals, and involve the University’s members from the outset. “Our goal will be to develop a coherent overall strategy for the University of Freiburg, not only externally but also internally,” Krieglstein said. “At the moment, this is perhaps best summarized under the working title ‘University of Freiburg 5.0’.”

Self-image of the University, its culture, its diversity

For the coherent overall process and the development of an overall University strategy, the new development of a mission statement process, the updating of the structural and development plan, the full rollout of the European Universities Alliance, the development of perspectives for students and young scientists, the transfer of knowledge to society and the formation of the Sustainability Council will be important interim goals.

A joint project that will concern the entire University in the coming months is the discussion of the book Gegen den Hass (Against Hatred) by Carolin Emcke, with whose selection they were successful in the Stifterverband’s call for proposals “Eine Uni - ein Buch” (“One University - One Book”). The associated lecture series “For a University of Diversity and Against Hate” will start on October 27, 2021. “Because it’s not only the national and international external impact that makes a university,” the rector emphasized in her keynote speech, “but also the question of the university’s self-image, its culture, its diversity.”