Family at University club develops charter for family-friendly HEIs
Member HEIs of the Family at University best-practice club have been calling for family-friendly conditions in German higher education for more than five years. Club members have shaped special profiles for themselves over the years and now want to use this experience to develop a charter on the subject of the “compatibility of studies, work and academic life with family responsibilities”. The CHE – Centre for Higher Education will support the project and monitor the process. The Robert Bosch Stiftung will fund the development of the charter.
Family-friendly conditions and the support of teachers, employees and students with respect to family commitment matters are more than just key words for the member HEIs in the Family at University club – they are key profile characteristics. Their joint goal over the past years was to ensure the inclusion of family-friendliness in socio-political change and to improve the competitiveness of member HEIs by adopting family-friendly concepts. This goal also applies to the future. The club will continue its work and maintain the network in good working order.
Club members now want to use their wealth of experience in the area to develop a charter for family-friendly HEIs. It is intended that the charter will show how study can be combined with the family duties of all status groups: students, staff and researchers. The charter will set high family-friendly standards for club members and other interested HEIs. Signing the charter obliges HEIs to develop family-friendliness continuously. Frank Ziegele, CHE managing director, is supporting the project and monitoring the process. He said: “The charter is no longer about minimum standards for all HEIs but rather an obligation for signatories to the charter to become HEIs that make family-friendliness a key element of their strategies and profiles. This promotes diversity in the higher education landscape”. At the first club meeting at Fachhochschule Potsdam, members determined the basic structure of the charter and the action plan until 2014.
It is intended to make the expertise the HEIs have gathered in recent years available to all interested parties and to drive forward the debate about family-friendliness in higher education on a nationwide basis. Comprehensive handouts, tried and tested tools and activity guidelines for family-friendly offers, services and study conditions are all available on the Internet.
The Family at University best-practice club currently has the following members:
Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus
Technische Universität Dresden mit Studentenwerk Dresden
Leibniz Universität Hannover
HAWK Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst – Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen
Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
and the Dachverband der Studentenwerke (DSW).
The club hopes to recruit more members from among signatories to the charter.