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“Family-Friendly University” Mission Statement Adopted

The Academic Senate puts family friendliness on the agenda.

The Academic Senate of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) today adopted the mission statement of the HU on being a family-friendly university.

Prof. Dr. Martin Heger is the chair of the Commission for a Family-Friendly University ; in the video, he talks about the significance of the mission statement for the HU.

The video interview was conducted and filmed by Anne Tilkorn of the HU online editorial team.


Mission Statement: Family-Friendly Humboldt-Universität

The HU understands family-friendliness as a natural part of its university culture that has to be continually improved. The HU Executive Committee has developed the following principles for shaping a family-friendly university. They are to be respected in, among other things, personnel management and the education of the university's students. The HU's efforts to be family-friendly serve to promote the equality of opportunity, as well as to facilitate the participation of all members of the university in university life. The HU undertakes to ensure that this process is sustained by way of the consolidation of appropriate implementation structures and provision of the required resources.

The HU has a broad understanding of the family. It sees families wherever long-term social responsibility for dependants is exercised.
Hence, all parent-child communities – for example, single parents, patchwork families and rainbow families – are included as care communities, but so too are sibling relationships, marriages and marriage-like partnerships, and persons who provide care for dependants.

The HU aims to implement the following objectives:

Family-Friendly Organisational Structure

Since promoting the reconciliation of career, study and family represents an ongoing process, resources have to be available. To this end, a family fund is being established. In addition, certain institutions must exist and be responsible for steering the process: in particular, the Family Support Centre as the central coordinating instance, the Commission for a Family-Friendly University, and the Advisory Board for the family-friendly university (fgh) audit. In this connection, the HU aims regularly to receive the “family-friendly university audit” certificate.

Family-Friendly Optimisation of Regulations and Concepts

So that family-friendliness is continuously applied in the day-to-day practice of teaching, research and administration at the HU, the university undertakes to do the following: All regulations – both external regulations (legislation) and internal ones (guidelines, statutes, directives, service agreements) – and concepts (e.g., staff development and management concepts) will be continuously reviewed with respect to the compatibility of career, study and family and, if necessary, they will be optimised or optimisation processes will be initiated.

Family-Friendly Infrastructure

So that the participation of all members of the university in university life can be ensured, the HU undertakes to establish a family-friendly infrastructure. This includes, among other things, the provision of parent-child rooms and diaper-changing facilities, advising and networking possibilities (e.g., family parties, family café), and extensive information for all university members. In addition, the HU makes available its own internal daycare facility, which is designed to meet the needs of university members.

Family-Friendly Flexibility

Spatial and temporal flexibility is a necessary part of a family-friendly university. The HU offers its employees and students a wide variety of possibilities in this connection: these include family-friendly work and study hours and mobile work. The possibilities that arise from digitisation (e.g., of course contents) are being rigorously implemented. In individual cases, both administrators and teachers are expected to find flexible solutions in the spirit of the compatibility of career, study and family, including in their application of the ZSP-HU (the general admissions, study, and examination regulations) and related service agreements.

Family-Friendly Communication

In the interest of shaping a family-friendly university culture, the HU is initiating an ongoing discussion in which all members of the university should be involved. In this context, the HU offers information and advising on all aspects of the compatibility of career, study and family. The focus here is on increasing the awareness of all HU members in their respective roles. Among other things, the expertise of the public relations office and the possibilities of continuing professional training are to be used here. Examples of good practice and role models will be identified, publicised and made visible. Pilot projects on how to improve the compatibility of career, study and family will be tested and, when they are promising, implemented.

Family-Friendly Cooperation

In order to subject the strategies for achieving a family-friendly environment to a continuous process of optimisation, the HU actively networks with actors from the thematic context. It is particularly engaged in the dual career field. In the spirit of family mainstreaming, a regular process will be initiated in which all HU members will be included. The objectives and measures formulated by the HU in these principles will be subjected to regular evaluation, so that they can be continuously developed.

For More Information

See the website of the Commission for a Family-Friendly University.