| Max-Weber-Kolleg, Faculty of Philosophy, Research, International, Studies

University of Erfurt awards internationalisation prize again

The internationalisation of teaching, research and administration is a task that all universities must face today. However, this is not a process that runs on its own, but requires committed actors. The University of Erfurt has therefore announced a prize for international commitment for the second time in 2020/21. A total of six projects applied. The winners were announced today.

The first prize, endowed with 3000 euros, goes to the Master's programme "Global Communication: Politics and Society". The programme, which was established in 2018, makes a significant contribution to the internationalisation of the University of Erfurt through its content-related focus on media systems and communication cultures in international comparison, but also in particular through English as the language of instruction. Now in its third year since re-accreditation, the programme has 40 German and 50 international students practising global learning and understanding in formal university and informal settings. The demand is enormous; in each of the last two years there were almost 300 applicants, from whom the most suitable candidates are selected in an elaborate selection process. The students of the degree programme at the University of Erfurt are correspondingly motivated and committed. They participate in university groups and the student council, push processes, network and are visible everywhere. For example, the DAAD prize winner 2020, Dilara Ekinci from Turkey, also came from the Global Communication programme. Students of the programme wrote a paper on communication and racism prevention in Thuringia, which attracted a lot of attention from the state government. To promote the international mobility of students, the programme also maintains numerous exchange partnerships with foreign universities, works with institutions in Germany and abroad to arrange internships and offers guest lectures by international academics. And: the first international students have meanwhile embarked on the fast-track programme for doctoral studies. All this was reason enough for the jury to award the first prize to the Master's programme.

Second prize this time goes to the "Summer Program in Communications Erfurt" (SPICE) of the Department of Communication Studies under the direction of Prof. Dr. Patrick Rössler. The second prize is endowed with 2000 euros. In the summer programme, which has been running since 2006, around 200 students from the USA have so far spent three months studying at the University of Erfurt and 200 Erfurt students have completed seminars on communication science topics according to international standards and in English. An accompanying cultural programme with excursions provides the American students with knowledge of the country. The fact that the programme takes place in the summer months meets the trend of American students towards short-term mobility. Partners are the University of West Virginia, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Oklahoma, which regularly send lecturers to Erfurt. In addition, the Erfurt participants gain their first experience of the Anglo-American study system, and quite a few later decide to spend a semester abroad in the USA. There are numerous synergy effects between the universities, the participating students and other activities, so that the programme intensifies the cooperation of the University of Erfurt with universities in the USA in an outstanding way, according to the jury's statement.

The collegiate research group "Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations" (KFG) at the Max Weber College of the University of Erfurt with its spokesperson Prof. Dr. Susanne Rau receives the 3rd prize and thus 1000 euros. Since 2018, the KFG has been bringing together international and Erfurt researchers and young academics from different disciplinary contexts who are working on a common topic related to the mutual shaping of cities and religions. By 2020, 17 fellows from abroad had already conducted research at the University of Erfurt and were also active in teaching. Secondly, numerous digital cooperation and internationalisation formats such as blogs, newsletters and digital workshops had already been developed before the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, so that the pandemic did not lead to any interruption of the collaborations. The jury also emphasised that KFG cooperates with numerous universities and research institutions abroad, which are of great importance as partners for conferences and publications or as hosts for young scientists.