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Strengthening family orientation in times of crisis


Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Konstanz introduced several support measures for staff and students to increase compatibility of family and career in times of crisis. The CHE Centre for Higher Education Development spotlights some of these measures in a recent publication. 

The ongoing corona pandemic has impacted academia in various ways and poses major challenges especially for university staff and students with family responsibilities. Since family orientation has been one of the University of Konstanz’s core values for years, the university was able to react quickly when the pandemic struck in 2020. It rapidly extended existing structural and individual measures for a good work-life balance, such as its childcare centre, the “Academic Career with Children” programme, or other advice and support services.

To further relieve the burden on students and staff with family responsibilities, new measures were also introduced. For example, teaching staff can request additional student assistants to help prepare online teaching materials. Greater flexibility in working from home have made it easier for administrative staff to cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic. The university provides new online support on issues of equal opportunity and compatibility of family and career that arise during the pandemic. In addition, time concessions were made for the evaluation of tenure-track staff members.

The measures put in place by the University of Konstanz have already been very successful. They were very well received by staff and students and recently spotlighted as examples in a publication by the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development. Today they are an integral part of the university’s family friendly measures.

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Contact information: Tanja Edelhäußer, deputy director of the Equal Opportunity Office; email: tanja.edelhaeusser@uni-konstanz.de

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