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The Faculty of Arts and Humanities teaching and study mission statement

Adopted by the Faculty Council on 2 June 2020

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has developed and cultivates a teaching and study culture characterised by tolerance, openness, freedom and dialogue – between lecturers and students, within these groups and with everyone involved in ensuring the success of teaching and studies. This results in a joint responsibility for implementing and shaping this mission statement. As a traditional university that also offers digital learning, we assume this joint responsibility both in personal encounters and in virtual teaching and study rooms. As a community of teachers and students, the following values are key to this and guide our actions:

  • Appreciation
  • Equal opportunities
  • Diversity
  • Academic curiosity
  • Academic integrity


Our teaching activities are focused on goals, competencies and students.

What do we understand by this?

We understand the linking of research and teaching as ensuring that – where possible and appropriate – class content is based on the latest research results and findings. At the same time, the didactic approach of research-based learning and experience forms an elementary component of academic training from the outset. In order to produce graduates capable of critical thinking, our teaching staff concentrate not only on disseminating knowledge, but also on passing on skills that enable the evaluation and utilisation of the knowledge gained and on giving students the opportunity to practice skills in the preparation of personal research projects.

In concrete terms, this means that:

  • Classes focus on teaching academic theories and methods together with an ability to evaluate them critically and apply them appropriately.
  • Our teaching staff and students commit to observing the rules of good scientific practice.
  • Our students are entrusted with independent work from the outset as far as possible and are thus taken seriously in their role as future researchers.
  • Although bachelor’s degree programmes focus on the dissemination of basic skills, our teaching staff have sufficient scope to impart a range of research methods on the basis of various topics and give our students the opportunity to apply these methods and learn in a research-based manner.
  • Wherever possible, our teaching staff highlight the social relevance of the topics they cover. International teaching staff supplement the diversity of academic perspectives provided and encourage our students and lecturers to reflect on acquired knowledge in new ways.
  • A critical approach to questions, texts and other media lies at the heart of the capabilities taught by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Our students are encouraged to research independently and formulate other/own positions and are supported in questioning (the legitimacy of) research subjects.
  • Our teaching staff empower our students to develop their own questions e.g. when defining exam topics.

What do we understand by this?

We understand professionalisation as reflecting on and systematically applying the requisite didactic skills to ensure that our teaching is not simply a product of coincidental decisions that produce favourable results today but unfavourable results tomorrow. Our teaching staff can provide didactic justification for the content and methods they utilise. Professionalised teaching reduces the workload of individual lecturers, giving them more time.

Providing constructive and factual critique is a fundamental aspect of a professional attitude (also of supervisors). Efforts to improve professionalism in all status groups are welcomed and encouraged.

In concrete terms, this means that:

  • Our teaching staff are supported in their ongoing educational development by their supervisors (also in terms of time).
  • Our teaching staff utilise the instruments available (see below) to identify their own needs.
  • Our professors create the scope for utilising the insights gained by teaching staff in their personal ongoing educational development to improve the study situation.
  • Professionalisation not only occurs at an individual level, but also needs to occur at institute and study programme level.
  • Beyond the situational feedback between individual findings and the study situation at the institute, we also reflect on and monitor our study programmes at a strategic level, taking account of didactic aspects. The high level of fluctuation at teaching staff level is also considered. Developments must remain stable irrespective of the specific individuals involved.
  • Regular exchange between our study programmes ensures the various courses offered are appropriately coordinated.
  • Qualifications appropriate to university teaching play a relevant and documented role in staffing decisions and selection procedures.

What do we understand by this?

We understand constructive alignment as coordinating learning outcomes, teaching/study methods and exams. Constructive alignment relates to teaching staff, students and the study programmes at our faculty.

In concrete terms, this means that:

  • When developing concepts for classes, our teaching staff start by defining what learning outcomes should be achieved. They then align the teaching, study and exam methods to these learning outcomes on the basis of the level of degree to be obtained.
  • To strengthen the subject-specific, communicative, digital and academic skills of our students, our teaching staff utilise various exam forms.
  • In accordance with the HHU digitalisation strategy, e-learning is understood as a component of a course of study at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and is utilised both in teaching/learning methods and in exam forms.
    E-students learn how to take a critical approach to using and evaluating digital matters.
  • Our teaching staff develop the academic and didactic methods they use on the basis of the subject content, enabling the active integration of subject and methodological knowledge. Students at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities learn subject knowledge in tandem with methodological knowledge.
  • Our students are aware of the skills they learn. On completing their studies successfully, they obtain a degree that qualifies them to perform a professional role.
  • All study programmes at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities include both practice- and research-oriented elements, and enable interdisciplinary learning.
  • Our teaching staff empower our students to take responsibility for their studies. The study programme is characterised by personal responsibility – accordingly, independent learning of various competencies and skills, active participation, self-management and critical thinking are encouraged at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

What do we understand by this?

We understand study programme development as undertaking a regular and data-based process of reviewing and adapting the objectives and curriculum of a new or existing study programme with the involvement of students and teaching staff. Our study programmes must be academically feasible for people with different attributes (educational background, age, family situation...).

In concrete terms, this means that:

  • In the individual study programmes, teaching staff transparently set out which skills their graduates should possess on completing their studies and what they expect of students starting their courses.
  • We define clear teaching objectives and learning outcomes for our study programmes and take care to ensure that both our teaching staff and our students are aware of them.
  • We develop our study programmes further on a regular basis (e.g. within the framework of re-accreditation).
  • We apply the results of empirical teaching research in the didactic development of new curricula and the improvement of existing ones.
  • We use empirical methods such as targeted evaluations and analyses of key indicators to identify improvement potential and develop solutions.
  • Any issues such as structural challenges in the study programmes are discussed in talks between the Dean of Studies and those responsible for individual study programmes.
  • Our teaching staff and students are regularly offered the opportunity to discuss their personal concerns and suggestions for developing study programmes in corresponding groups and with those responsible for the individual study programmes.
  • The appropriateness of our study programmes for preparing students for professional practice results from the competencies they ought to have acquired on completion of their studies.
  • Course evaluation
  • Didactic advice and workshops
  • Study programme discussions
  • (Re-)accreditation (with corresponding training offers)
  • Advice on e-learning
  • Student surveys (in consultation with teaching staff and those responsible for the individual study programmes)

The Office of the Dean of Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities regularly informs teaching staff about the available instruments and offers.

Inspiring and insightful teaching has many facets and presents just as many challenges. As instructors, we strive to meet these challenges every semester and, together with students and other instructors, define how teaching at our faculty succeeds. Consequently, the mission statement will continue to grow and develop over time – and all members of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities are cordially invited to play an active role in this process.

Financing opportunities

A lack of money should not be a barrier to studying at university. Heinrich Heine University, the Studierendenwerk student support service organisation, the state and various foundations offer a range of funding opportunities to help finance your studies.

Virtually every student has a legal right to financial support from the government towards their education. Funding for students under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) usually comprises two equal parts – a grant that does not need to be repaid and an interest-free loan. 

The loan association of the Studierendenwerke e.V. student support service organisation (Darlehenskasse der Studierendenwerke e.V. – “DAKA”) supports students by providing interest-free loans. 

In addition to BAföG funding and DAKA loans, there are other ways to finance your studies such as the student loans offered by the KfW bank, educational loans, scholarships and education funds. 

HHU offers its students a wide range of funding programmes to support new students, students in later semesters, semesters abroad and graduate scholarships.

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