University elections 2022: Vote for better working conditions in academia

Dear colleagues,

The elections for the Senate of the Philipps-Universität will take place from 15 to 28 June 2022. Use this opportunity to push through your concerns as doctoral students and academic staff there! We would like to continue doing this for you in the coming years.

We are the only list that is running for election for the status group of academic members with temporary employment and have set ourselves the goal of representing the interests of doctoral students more strongly in the Senate. Our list proposal is also made up of colleagues from different departments, so that a broad representation of different subjects is given by our list. We are also characterised by the fact that international university members are also represented on our list and that we have gender parity.

The main focus of our list „Promovierende und GEW/ver.di“ is the work in the Senate and its committees. In these committees, we want to improve the representation of doctoral students‘ interests and reduce precarious employment conditions for academic members! Specifically, we advocate for the following topics:

Assign all doctoral researchers to the status group of Scientific Members.

Currently, there is no uniform representation of doctoral researchers in the committees of the Philipps-Universität. Some officially belong to the status group of academic members, others belong to the status group of students and many doctoral researchers do not belong to any status group at all and have no democratic representation in the committees. We advocate a reorganisation of the status groups in which all doctoral researchers can be assigned to the status group of academic members. Because some of us are also members of the general doctoral candidates representation we already want to offer all doctoral students the opportunity to participate in our Senate work.

Create participation opportunities for international university members. Reduce language barriers!

The important committees of the University of Marburg only work in German. International students and academics who do not speak German currently have no opportunity to get involved in university politics. We advocate for all important information (homepage, guidelines and other documents) to be offered at least in English translation.

Increase the share of permanent employees, make extension options fair!

The evaluation of the WissZeitVG has shown that major problems of the career path in science have only marginally improved. There are still short contract terms, which hardly do justice to the duration of a doctorate. We want to continue to work on making employment in science more attractive and secure. We want to advocate for more permanent positions, especially in the area of teaching, and for automatic extensions (Corona, educational and care duties). To this end, we want to enter into exchange with other Hessian universities to discuss alternative staff models and department structures and to develop concrete models for better employment conditions.

Take teaching seriously!

We support the promotion of engagement in (digital) teaching and advocate for better supervision ratios in seminars. Teamwork should be promoted and spaces for reflection on teaching should be firmly anchored in the university’s self-responsibility. Beginning teachers should be better supported, e.g. through the creation of a guide for different teaching scenarios, but above all through coaching that is tailored to the needs of beginning teachers. High-quality teaching takes time and this must be planned for! We want to continue to fight to limit the proportion of teaching assignments and create permanent positions, especially to secure basic teaching.

Make university truly family-friendly!

Combining an academic career and family work is still a major challenge today. From our experience, support structures and employment contract framework conditions do not yet fit the current life realities of employees with children or employees who care for relatives. We are committed to continuously improving the compatibility of academic career planning and family work and examine the impact of any statutes and regulations on issues of compatibility. In order to achieve this, we want to campaign, among other things, for the contract term to be automatically extended by 2 years per child if one or more children under the age of 18 are being cared for (cf. WissZeitVG § 2 para. 1).

Establish and promote good science communication!

We would like to promote science communication as a topic at the University of Marburg and thus re-contour the role of the university in society. On the one hand, we would like to create a guideline for scientists at the university to help them with public communication (e.g. in social media). New formats of science communication such as scientific blogging or new formats of publication (data publication, software publications) should be recognised and honoured as relevant scientific achievements. In addition, we want to create a prize for outstanding science communication for young scientists.

Promote a change in transport, strengthen bicycle mobility!

The situation for cyclists at Philipps-Universität, especially on the Lahnberge, is miserable. Too few or outdated parking facilities, non-existent changing rooms with washing facilities and the abolition of the bicycle bus make commuting to the Lahnberge by bike unattractive for many colleagues. We therefore advocate for the expansion of bicycle mobility at the university and demand a better infrastructure for cycling colleagues and students! This includes modern and sufficient parking facilities in front of all university buildings, a safe network of cycle paths through the city and up the Lahnberge, washing and changing facilities at the workplace, a reintroduction of the bicycle bus and uncomplicated financial support for the purchase of bicycles used on duty.

Defuse dependency relationships in the doctoral phase!

Not only the supervision and evaluation of the dissertation are in one hand, but also the employment relationship of the doctoral student. We are committed to breaking down this dense relationship of dependency – by setting up external assessment structures that enable an independent view of doctoral projects, but also by discussing alternative staffing models and departmental structures.

Further develop digital infrastructure!

During the past semesters, teaching at Philipps-Universität had to be converted to digital formats at a rapid pace. The fact that this has been comparatively successful is primarily due to an enormous effort on the part of the teaching staff. However, the deficits that exist in the area of digital infrastructure also became clearly visible. And even if the coming semesters can (hopefully) take place in presence again, in our view there must be no return to the state of affairs before the Corona pandemic. Digital teaching offers must continue to be used and meaningfully complement and expand face-to-face courses – also in international exchange. Digital formats offer a great deal of flexibility, especially for lecturers and students with CARE obligations and students who have to work a lot alongside their studies. To achieve this, the university must continue to consistently expand its infrastructure. It needs suitable rooms with conference systems, digital platforms for collaborative work, further training opportunities for staff and appropriate recognition of digital teaching services and efforts. In addition, common administrative processes that currently take up an unnecessary amount of time, such as applying for leave or business trips, urgently need to be implemented digitally.

Promote networking – between status groups and across the university!

We are committed to networking in the Mittelbau and are active in the Hesse-wide Mittelbau Initiative in the common fight for better working conditions! However, our concerns also relate to university policy issues of fundamental importance that affect not only academic members but all status groups. For this reason, we have founded the Progressive Alliance together with lists of other status groups, which serves as a forum for exchange on specific university policy issues and allows for joint action.

Make communication in the university more transparent!

The work of the Senate and the various other committees is important for the development of the Philipps-Universität, for working conditions and the framework conditions for research and teaching. In our view, however, there is a lack of exchange between the representatives in these bodies and the employees in the departments and institutions. We in the Senate are committed to a transparent and open university policy and would like to set an example. Therefore, all employees are cordially invited to inform themselves about our work in the Senate and to discuss the issues at hand and contribute their own ideas.

Proposed list of doctoral candidates and GEW/ ver.di for the academic senate

  1. Lea Reiff (FB 09, fixed-term employment)
  2. Daniel Moosdorf (FB 03, fixed-term employment)
  3. Pratiti Rout (FB 20 / FB 17, fixed-term employment)
  4. Nils Vief (FB 03, fixed-term employment)
  5. Henrike Arnold (FB 10, fixed-term employment)
  6. Janis Evers (FB 20, fixed-term employment)
  7. Dr. Kerstin Bach (FB 19, permanent employment)
  8. Jochen Taiber (FB 13, fixed-term employment)
  9. Constanze Erhard (FB 03, fixed-term employment)
  10. Stefan Schulte (MCDCI, permanent employment)
  11. Dr. Andreas Piper (HRZ, permanent employment)

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