Humboldtian ideal: German university goes family-friendly

The world’s first research university offers to take care of those with caring responsibilities

March 21, 2018
Source: istock
One of Germany's elite institutions commits itself to support those with every kind of family structure

The Humboldt University of Berlin has adopted an ambitious programme of measures to transform itself into a family-friendly university.

Administrators and teachers will be expected to find flexible solutions to ensure the compatibility of career, study and family, utilising opportunities that arise from digitisation and offering options such as family-friendly work and study hours, and mobile work.

Pilot projects on how to improve the compatibility of career, study and family will be tested and, if they prove promising, implemented. Meanwhile, all legislation and internal regulations governing teaching, research and administration “will be continuously reviewed with respect to the compatibility of career, study and family”.

The mission statement, adopted by the university’s academic senate earlier this month, adopts a wide definition of family to include not only all forms of “child-parent communities” – “single parents, patchwork families and rainbow families” – but also “care communities…sibling relationships, marriages and marriage-like partnerships, and persons who provide care for dependants”.

matthew.reisz@timeshighereducation.com

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