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Short profile of Osnabrück University

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Osnabrück University, founded in 1974, is a young, vibrant university in northwest Germany that is renowned for its research and teaching in the areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Law and Business Administration/Economics. The University provides ideal conditions for about 13.500 students and PhD students to learn and conduct research. Both its structured PhD programs and modular degree programs feature high standards of quality; they are accredited, and lead to the conferral of internationally recognized degrees.

One feature of Osnabrück University is the extent to which it combines different scientific disciplines in research and teaching. Thinking beyond the borders of individual fields of expertise is fostered in the interdisciplinary institutes of Migration Research, Cognitive Science, Early Modern Intercultural Studies and Environmental Systems Research. Biology at Osnabrück is renowned both at home and abroad for its Collaborative Research Centre “Physiology and dynamics of cellular micro-compartments (CRC 944)”. The European Legal Studies Institute at Osnabrück University is one of Europe’s most important research facilities in the field of comparative law and the harmonization of law.

Additional key areas are the prevention of occupational skin diseases and early childhood education and development. In 2011, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence established a branch office at Osnabrück University. A Fraunhofer research group explores the topics of e-learning and knowledge communication in combination with intelligent methods of data analysis.

The medium-term planning horizons are described in the current University Development Plan, which stipulates Osnabrück University’s ten strategic key objectives and existing profile elements.

Osnabrück University employs some 1,700 people, making it one of the largest employers in the region. Numerous cooperative activities with commercial enterprises and institutions enable students to gain practical experience at an early stage. Other examples of the extent to which Osnabrück University is embedded within the region are the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center and the high-profile Osnabrück Peace Forum, hosted jointly by Osnabrück University and the City.
Internationalization
Osnabrück University is highly committed to pursuing its goal of enhancing international understanding and cooperation. The University attaches great importance to its relationships with international universities. International students and scholars are very welcome at Osnabrück.
In accordance with Section B.3. of the 2005 to 2008 Target Agreement between Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture and Osnabrück University, the Senate decided unanimously in 2007 to continue the internationalization strategy of December 2001, and recommended the implementation of the following measures to the President’s Cabinet/the Schools:

Central measures to foster internationalization

1.    Define the Schools’ concrete disciplinary internationalization goals in target agreements between the President’s Cabinet and the respective School
2.    Establish a Language Center
3.    Set up a fund enabling invitations to be extended to international visiting scholars; possibly create a job pool for international exchange professors
4.    Optimize the University’s English website and ensure the website is updated; the future Language Center should establish a central translation service
5.    Attract qualified students to Master’s and PhD programs at Osnabrück University in the departments in which the University wishes to sharpen its profile internationally by attending selected international education fairs: possibly become involved in international study guides and publications, and place adverts in them
6.    Analyze international students’ courses of studies and possibly develop recommendations to reduce the length of study periods at Osnabrück University
7.    Involve administrative staff in the University’s internationalization process, e.g. by providing cross-cultural training and improving foreign language skills within human resource development
8.    Devise framework regulations for the recognition of credits and examinations achieved abroad
9.    Consider the possibility of awarding scholarships to international students who are obliged to pay tuition fees in accordance with § 11 of Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (NHG) and who are not entitled to a tuition fee loan in accordance with § 11a NHG
10.    Assess the internationalization strategy at regular intervals.
 

Measures at School level to foster internationalization

1.    Professionalize the management and administration of international relations at School level by setting up a contact point, particularly for the ERASMUS program
2.    Raise international students’ success rates by introducing quality-oriented selection procedures (e.g. by holding general and disciplinary entrance tests); possibly request the University Management to clarify the legal possibilities
3.    Optimize the personal and disciplinary supervision of international students and graduates by introducing a mentor system
4.    Exploit existing research cooperation agreements to establish student exchange programs
5.    Make greater use of teaching staff exchange within the ERASMUS program (in particular, for the group of research assistants)
6.    Create degree programs to be held in English in suitable Departments
7.    Internationalize curricula, in particular by

  • integrating foreign language courses
  • offering disciplinary language courses
  • promoting studies abroad (one semester of study abroad should be possible without having to extend study periods)

8.    Create transparent procedures and guidelines for the recognition of credits and examinations achieved abroad
9.    Encourage young scholars to go abroad, e.g. by financing their participation in congresses, summer schools, etc.
10.    Award teaching assistantships to highly qualified German and international Master’s and PhD students to improve teaching.