Mission Statement on Study and Teaching of the University of Münster

© Uni MS - Peter Grewer

The University of Münster is one of the largest institutions of higher education in Germany. Our 15 faculties offer more than 270 degree programmes and numerous advanced qualification opportunities in cooperation with cross-faculty departments. Ours is a dynamic academic environment, shaped by students and instructors from Germany and around the world.

Those who study, research, teach or take up employment here become part of an open-minded university community, dedicated to offering high-quality study and instruction. We are committed to offering an excellent higher education at the University of Münster. The following mission statement on teaching and studies reflects the self-image of our institution and serves to provide orientation.

University as a place of scientific and academic interaction

We, the members of the University of Münster, view our institution as a social environment where we study, work, discuss and collaborate for the purpose of learning and research. We are united in our scientific curiosity, an interest in academic discourse and a commitment to transferring science-based findings in myriad contexts.

The interplay of research, teaching and transfer constantly challenges us to reassess the validity of our methods and knowledge and to venture in new directions. To answer our questions, we consider the diversity of academic perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches. We examine various perspectives in a critical and open-minded manner and act according to the principles of the academic community: recognition and understanding, rules-oriented analysis, critical thinking and clear and precise communication of scientific considerations. We regard our faculties, academic institutions and research partnerships as vibrant locations of scientific interaction which give rise to a diverse array of teaching and learning processes.

Because recognition, comprehension, knowledge and thought occur in a globally interconnected academic community, we seek international exchange and promote mobility in the context of teaching and studies. We value the diversity of backgrounds and nationalities and promote peaceful communication between social, cultural, religious and ethnic communities at our university. In this way, the University of Münster is a place of common learning where barriers are surmounted, and new knowledge is created.

Taking action in a permanently changing world

We are all aware of our dynamically changing world, of dwindling planetary resources, of hunger, violence, suffering and injustice. We see it as our task to reflect academically on the fundamental circumstances and multiple changes which are impacting the individual, society and the environment, as well as research and teaching. In view of these challenges, building transformative competence for taking action is an important objective. To this end, we must address these challenges by acquiring knowledge by means of critical analysis of complex realities and experience-based examination.

We also recognise that fundamental crises are driving uncertainty, superficiality and polarisation to an ever-increasing degree. To counter disinformation and hostility toward science, we strive to engage in empathetic, multiperspective debate and introduce factual information and potential solutions to public discourse in an understandable way, e.g. by offering alternative models and theories. We see teaching and studies as domains where we can jointly develop the necessary skills for taking such action.

Cooperative responsibility for academic teaching-learning processes

We assume mutual and cooperative responsibility to ensure the success of studying and teaching, to develop diverse skills and to promote education. We understand that our time at university is a chance to actively shape our own educational background. We are aware that there are many different motivations and personal goals that are closely tied to teaching and studies. We reflect on our motives and openly express our individual interest in knowledge.

We regard teaching and studies as fields where interpretation and understandable communication of complex matters are of particular importance. By productively making use of discrepancies in knowledge and experience and mutually considering each other’s questions, we build an open, inclusive and inspiring relationship to one another. We see diversity and equal opportunity as assets and diversity as a chance for excellent education and innovation.

Our future-oriented teaching-learning concepts comprise various target dimensions of study – personality development, academic (and artistic) aptitude, professional qualification and responsible social participation – which engenders a productive form of interaction. We jointly reflect on and enhance the quality and attractiveness of our degree programmes and consider the feedback of internal and external experts, as well as that of our graduates. Together we build a supportive network that extends beyond the phase of study and instruction.

How our mission impacts our actions

Based on this institutional self-image, we strive to shape teaching and studies at the University of Münster. In accordance with our respective capabilities and responsibilities, we are jointly committed to engaging in the following fields of action.

  • Field of action A: Enabling students to create their own individual educational profiles

    We understand that learning at a university is an intrinsically motivated, independent endeavour, and we consider it the University’s task to create opportunities in this regard. In order to support learning and development, and to promote potentials, we offer a variety of teaching-learning paths.

    To facilitate individual profile-building and support the special talents of our students, we ensure that flexible study structures are in place which support our students’ broad range of academic and professional paths and allow them to engage in self-directed learning. We regard examinations as opportunities to demonstrate competence and reflect on one’s progress in building that competence.

    We support our students through subject-specific and cross-disciplinary counselling services. With innovative concepts to encourage continuing education in academia, we support and facilitate both lifelong and intergenerational learning.

  • Field of action B: Creating spaces for scientific and academic discourse

    The close connection between research and teaching is quintessential to our self-image. As a result, we encourage academic curiosity and promote the notion of research-oriented learning by bringing students in contact with research at an early stage and motivating them to examine their own questions and explore possibilities to solve them.

    To answer these questions, we take advantage of the full scope of disciplines that our university offers and develop interdisciplinary teaching-learning spaces. We mutually strengthen one another to develop critical thinking and analytical skills, apply suitable scientific methods to answer questions or solve problems, and generate new insights. We become well-versed in precise communication and open scientific discourse.

    In our teaching-learning processes, we take aspects of internationality and interculturality into account. We create spaces for international exchange and opportunities for engaging in intercultural dialogue. We support the expansion of multilingual and international degree programmes, as well as mobility in the European higher education sector and beyond.

  • Field of action C: Cultivating a respective, inclusive community

    Social integration, primary original experiences and direct contact are important to us. Consequently, we are proud of our profile as an “in-person” university. We encounter one another with respect and are open to a variety of learning prerequisites and (educational) backgrounds. We are especially committed to providing orientation to new members of the University of Münster in the areas of teaching and studies. We do this by transparently communicating and explaining our goals and requirements, as well as our academic structures, content and methods. We are particularly committed to promoting student exchange and contact.

    In-person interaction is complemented by digital and hybrid teaching-learning spaces in a didactically reflected manner. In order to facilitate participation by all University members, we design inclusive and disabled-friendly places and routes within the University of Münster – be it physical, virtual or hybrid in nature. We jointly examine how to create productive teaching-learning spaces, from which we draw consequences for the further development of our university.

  • Field of action D: Assuming social responsibility

    Another matter of key importance is to examine the current social challenges of our time in a regional, national and international context and to develop transformative approaches for addressing these. Consequently, we actively incorporate current issues, problems and potential solutions into the teaching-learning environment and provide sufficient opportunity to examine, discuss and reflect on them. At the same time, we offer continuing education courses and networking opportunities on central issues of importance, e.g. sustainability, digitalisation etc., and facilitate targeted qualification in these areas.

    We combine theory and practical application to generate dynamic and productive results. Together we practise engaging in understandable communication and transferring scientific findings to various practical fields. To this end, we take advantage of and cultivate partnerships with practitioners both within and outside our university. We explore the potential professional, societal and social fields of action of our students, which we use to shape the content-based and didactic design of our degree programmes.

  • Field of action E: Reflecting on and developing our actions

    As a learning organisation, we systematically reflect on the quality of teaching and studies. To this end, we employ coordinated processes, consult external experts and evaluate our practices. In consultation with all status groups which are involved in teaching and studies, we use these sources of information to jointly develop coherent, future-oriented concepts for our degree programmes.

    We create opportunities for professionalising teaching. To this end, we apply the findings of higher education research and subject didactics to reflect on our teaching-learning practices and demonstrate willingness to evaluate our own teaching-learning processes.

    We strive to continually improve the academic quality of our institution by identifying innovative concepts and practices in teaching and studies, making them visible and supporting them at all levels.

The Senate of the University of Münster approved the mission statement above on 6 December 2023. We are committed to adhering to these principles and reflecting on their significance in order to do justice once again to the central importance of teaching and studies at the University of Münster.