Press Portal

Welcome to the summer semester at HU

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Prof. Dr. Obergfell, about the start of the semester at HU

Dear students,

Today marks the beginning of a summer semester that has never been seen before in this form at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The entire university continues to be in so-called emergency attendance mode, as a result of which all our buildings are closed and only a small core staff is employed. To the outside world, this situation gives the impression of a complete standstill of university life. In fact, exactly the opposite is the case: all employees of the central and decentralized administration, the science support department and all teaching staff have been working for weeks with the utmost commitment to make today's start of the semester possible. Although digital teaching formats already existed at our university before the corona pandemic, the short-term digital changeover this semester means a considerable effort for the entire university.

I am therefore all the more pleased to be able to inform you that we will nevertheless be able to provide about 85 percent of the regularly planned course offerings. Some institutes have even succeeded in digitizing their entire course offerings. These are figures that we would not have been able to imagine a few weeks ago, and which make everyone involved very proud. We will evaluate the potential of these figures later this semester to see what we can take up and use for our digitisation strategy.

However, 85 percent digital courses also mean that we cannot digitise 15 percent. This applies in particular to events such as laboratory placements, excursions, sports or music courses, where physical presence is sometimes irreplaceable in groups. In order to enable you to successfully complete these courses nevertheless, they will be made up for as soon as it will be possible under the legal requirements and hygienic safety precautions. We will, however, be offering our digital courses in any case for this summer semester, so that you will be able to complete courses online and earn credit points, regardless of where you are in the next few weeks, what additional occupations and tasks you have to do, or whether you are concerned about your or your relatives' health.

This brings me to the central concern of my message to you. All our efforts in the past and in the coming weeks are aimed at providing you with the best possible range of courses this semester under the given circumstances. We are aware that the implementation of this offer will be difficult in many areas and that there are still many open questions on your part which we must and will answer. We are also aware that many of you are currently facing a variety of challenges that will make it considerably more difficult or even impossible for you to begin or continue your studies. We are aware of these needs and are working to support you in as many ways as possible during these times. All employees of the university are committed to responding to your requests with goodwill, understanding and creativity. Therefore, please continue to use all available information channels as well as the known contact points at the Student Service Center and the faculties.

In spite of all difficulties, I would therefore ask you not to be discouraged, but to start the summer semester with curiosity, joy and confidence and to take advantage of all offers for (virtual) learning and exchange. I look forward to welcoming you back to our analog campus as soon as possible. For today, however, it only remains for me to welcome you all, and especially the first-year students among you, on behalf of the entire Executive Board, to our digital summer semester and to Humboldt-Universität.

I wish you every success for your digital studies in this unusual summer semester 2020!

With best regards

Prof. Dr. Eva Inés Obergfell

Vice President for Academic Affairs

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