Study conditions independent from excellence status
A critical eye is being kept on teaching quality at the nine universities praised for their future concepts in recent years as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments. Some believe that the heavy focus on research is leading to worse study conditions because teaching is being neglected. Others, however, expect the additional funding to lead to better preconditions and automatically better study conditions, as good research is the best basis for good teaching. But blanket judgements miss the mark, as is often the case, and an analysis of student assessments in the university ranking shows that excellence status has no systematic or general effect on the top rankings with respect to study conditions.
Based on 12 subjects, a comparison of student satisfaction was made between Excellence University departments (i.e. those successful in all three respects) with all other departments. But the Excellence Initiative showed no clearly positive or negative impact on the indicators analysed, namely overall study situation, tutoring, teaching offer and feasibility of study. Therefore, there is no automatic link between research and teaching excellence, nor is there a general tendency that academics at excellence universities are neglecting teaching.
This again shows that the conclusion that research excellence automatically means excellence at the university itself is rather limited; outstanding performance is a multidimensional phenomenon that can be seen in diverse forms in different areas, while different universities can be top-performers in different areas.
The study "Effects of Future Concepts on Study Conditions – a Baseline Study for the Third Round of the Excellence Initiative based on Student Assessments of the CHE University Ranking" is published as CHE working paper No. 156 and can be downloaded for free from the CHE website. The publication is in German.
Further Information can be found in the publication stated below.