The re-audit and consolidation for the Family-Friendly Higher Education Audit (in German only) began in summer semester 2016 and is due to be completed in winter semester 2016/17. The aim is to continue to develop family-friendly measures at Universität Hamburg based on positive changes that have already been made. This will help students and employees to better combine academic study or work with family life, and enable the University to retain its family-friendly higher education institution certification.
In this third phase of the Family-Friendly Higher Education Audit—the consolidation, the focus was on reviewing the institutionalization of family-friendly measures at the University; evaluating the previous implementation of measures for combining study, work, and family life; and clarifying how university culture has changed for the better in terms of its family-friendliness over the past few years. At the same time, it was determined that further attention must be paid to certain areas in which improvements still need to be made in the future.
All of these issues were considered during professional discussions with University management, heads of faculties, HR Development, and staff councils.
In addition, individual conversations were held with employees from different levels and areas as well as with students (so-called “culture interviews”) in order to review how established the topic of combining study or work with family life has become. The aim was to determine how the students and employees interviewed assessed the existing offers at the University to support combining study or work with family life, how they rated acceptance of the topic (e.g., among management staff), and what specific experiences they had had in their own work or studies.
The procedure concluded with a discussion with the Executive University Board, an analysis of the results of the professional discussions and culture interviews, and outlining of the framework for the goals to be signed again as further confirmation of the Family-Friendly Higher Education Audit certification.
The goals agreed were signed by Universität Hamburg’s Executive University Board on 20 January 2017, along with other binding measures to be implemented by family-friendly higher education institutions over the next three years.
In 2010, Universität Hamburg participated in the Family-Friendly Higher Education Audit conducted by berufundfamilie GmbH (in German only) for the first time and was successfully certified.
In summer semester 2013, a re-audit was conducted with the involvement of the Executive University Board, heads of faculties and departments, University Administration, subject representatives in the faculties, AStA (student council), and Studierendenwerk Hamburg (student services).
In several workshops, the measures implemented to date and framework conditions were reviewed, and goals and actions were prepared for the further development of a family-friendly teaching and study environment and family-friendly human resources work over the next three years. Based on the outcomes of these workshops, Universität Hamburg’s President signed an agreement confirming the goals for the Family-Friendly Higher Education Audit in the next three years in August 2013. Universität Hamburg was once again awarded the Family-Friendly Higher Education Audit certification on 5 December 2013.
Universität Hamburg sees itself as a family-friendly higher education institution and aims to make combining academic study or a career with family life a normal part of the university culture. Having a family should be considered an asset, not a problem.
With the Family-Friendly Higher Education Audit, the existing regulations, activities, and opportunities are to be systematized and developed further as necessary. It aims to create a reliable framework offering space for individual arrangements. The solutions will take the differing requirements of the various status groups into account. Allowing employees and students to improve the balance between study or work obligations and family life.