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Excellent Teaching

Excellent Teaching

Principles, Structures and Requirements

Bettina Jansen-Schulz, Till Tantau (Hg.)


Preface from the Series Editors

Till Tantau & Bettina Jansen-Schulz

Part 1:  Structures and Requirements of Excellent Teaching – the Governance Perspective

Bettina Jansen-Schulz
Principles, Structures and Requirements for Good Teaching

Bettina Jansen-Schulz & Sandra Magens
Advancing Excellent Teaching through Academic Governance and Human Resource Development

Jonathan Kohlrausch
Gender and Diversity of Students – An Introduction

Juliana Wiechert
Consultation for Students in Crisis Situations

Part 2:  Research on Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – the Higher Education Research Perspective

Tobias Schmohl
Inquiry-Based Self-Reflections: Towards a New Way of Looking at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning within German Higher Education

Tobias Schmohl & Bettina Jansen-Schulz
Joining Institutional Policy with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Amir Madany Mamlouk, Christina Geick & Katrin Lämmermann
From Zero to Hero – New Methods for Motivating Students

Tim Kunold & Till Tantau
Discovering and Fixing Misconceptions Using Just-in-Time Exercises

Maria Noftz & Annette C. Seibt
Reflections and Perceptions of Medical and Health Sciences Students about Sexual Health Education – Teaching Strategies for a Highly Sensitive Topic in Universities

Susanne Gundermann
The Challenges of Teaching in English: Training Formats to Prepare and Support Lecturers

Dennis Kleinewalter & Philipp Rostalski
Teaching and Learning Concepts for Teaching in Medical Engineering

Part 3:  Methods in Higher Education – the Hands-On Perspective

Klaus Vosgerau & Ulrike Bulmann
Benefits of Research-Based Learning as Active Learning in Engineering

Désirée H. Ladwig, Michel E. Domsch & Sonja Beer
The Case Study Method for Teaching

Michael Breuker
Implementation of Intercultural, Instructional and Methodological Aspects in Teaching Concepts for China

Daniel Wiswede
Implementation of an Audience Response Method in Medical Education

Sonja Beer, Désirée H. Ladwig & Franziska Knedel
Fachlandkarten: Supporting Students’ Self-Organisation and Collaborative Learning

Bettina Jansen-Schulz
Aspects of Gender and Diversity in Higher Education Teaching and Learning and Educational Development

Part 4:  Teaching Awards and Evaluation – the Visibility Perspective

Till Tantau, Bettina Jansen-Schulz
Making Excellent Teaching Visible

Horst Pagel
Culture and Communication of the Deaf Community – a New Perspective in the Study of Medicine

Christian Hoffmann
Ethics of Innovative Engineering – A Commitment to Peer-to-Peer-Learning

Rosemarie Pulz
Practical Courses in Organic Chemistry

Christian Decker & Fabian Frielitz
Team Teaching in E-Learning and Blended Learning Settings

Linda Brüheim
Evaluation of Teaching – Characteristics and Challenges at the University of Lübeck

Till Tantau

Preface from the Series Editors

After a substantial increase in resources and workforce for educational development (Hochschuldidaktik, in German) in the recent years, many of the current efforts within the educational development community are directed towards increasing the quality of our work. This book series, deliberately named Blickpunkt Hochschuldidaktik or Educational Development in Focus, aims at documenting and reflecting past and current developments, as well as setting new themes and opening up new ways for future directions. Being the official publication organ of the German Association for Academic Development (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hochschuldidaktik, dghd), Blickpunkt Hochschuldiaktik has been doing this for almost 50 years now.

The present volume, edited by Bettina Jansen-Schulz und Till Tantau from the University of Lübeck, integrates three of the currently most prominent aspects in the discussion on quality: the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning approach, the increasing internationalization of educational development and higher education in general, and the multiplicity of perspectives on higher education teaching and learning.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

The book gives evidence of the reception of the SoTL movement in Germany. German educational developers are working on SoTL in both theoretical and in practical ways: in edited volumes like this one, but also in journals dedicated to SoTL, in work groups, at conferences and more. Like their colleagues in other countries, they try to reconcile teaching with research, thereby encountering all the problems associated with the traditional gap between the two.


Gone are the days when German educational development only took notice of developments within our own country. German educational developers visit educational development units all over the world, international colleagues are invited for keynotes at German educational development conferences and meetings, and teaching in German higher education is steadily focusing more and more on non-German students, instructors, and contexts. This also affects educational development, as evidenced in this volume, which is (to our knowledge) the first in the Blickpunkt series that is published in English. Congratulations to the editors for this achievement!

Multiple Perspectives on Higher Education Teaching and Learning

Last, but not least, with the process of improving educational development in the German context, it has become obvious that in order to be successful we need to take in the multiversity of perspectives on the topic on the macro-, meso- and micro levels. This volume proves the value of this: Starting with the governance approach, the editors take several disciplinary and theoretical perspectives to assess the topic in breadth and depth. Research and practice, again, appear here, but, most interestingly, the authors explore a visibility perspective on educational development. This latter topic, visibility, also may serve as an invitation to the expected audience of the volume.

With this English volume no. 133 of the Blickpunkt Hochschuldidaktik we specifically hope to present current developments in Germany to readers from different national and disciplinary contexts: Please explore, read, discuss and cite (if appropriate) the current volume for your own work. May the book serve the goal of continuing and increasing the exchange of ideas, good practice, and of research in educational development.

Our big thanks go to Bettina Jansen-Schulz and Till Tantau for all their efforts with the current volume, to the numerous authors who contributed to the book, and to the publishers at wbv Media for their ongoing support.

Paderborn/Aalborg, August 2018

Robert Kordts-Freudinger & Antonia Scholkmann

Editorial Board Blickpunkt Hochschuldidaktik


Till Tantau & Bettina Jansen-Schulz

Excellent teaching. Clearly a worthy goal for lecturers and their institutions to strive for. But when, where and how does excellent teaching emerge? What will facilitate it, what will impede it? Can everyone be an excellent teacher? Indeed, what do we actually mean by ‘excellent teaching’? An urge to at least partially answer some of these questions has led to the present book.

The answers that will be presented will, first and foremost, be of interest to teachers and lecturers1, both present and future. For them, this book intends to provide insights into particularly successful examples of teaching, into the different ways in which they can improve their own teaching in a systematic, research-based way – using the methods Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) or Scholarly Teaching (ST)2 –, but also into the mechanisms and institutional structures that can help or impede their work. In other words, many chapters in this book will demonstrate how good teaching can be achieved within the constraints of today’s university system.

At the same time, the answers and examples we present in this book are also addressed at decision makers, both present and future, who can shape the mechanisms and structures of today’s universities. Decision makers are not only university presidents, deans and politicians: Faculty members can influence the allocation of resources in a faculty, members of the administration can choose to further one project rather than another, student bodies can demand changes in the organisation of teaching. Our descriptions of institutional structures are not call-to-arms to change them in a certain way. Rather, different chapters of this book show which constraints there are in today’s university system when it comes to implementing good teaching. Not all of them can realistically be lifted, but we wish to create an awareness of their importance.

Lastly, this book is also meant as a contribution to the body of research on teaching and learning in higher education: A quarter of the chapters of this book address research findings on teaching approaches and methods. Several of these findings have been made during research projects that are part of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning movement, which will also be discussed and presented in detail.

Many factors influence whether teaching is excellent (or at least just successful) and one of the most important factors is undoubtedly the individual teacher in the form of his or her teaching skills and motivation. However, in higher education, teaching is always embedded into academic and institutional structures that have a strong influence on how the individual teacher can act. Institutions of higher education like universities implicitly or explicitly define principles and policies concerning discipline-specific teaching and they provide (or lack) structures that support excellent teaching.

For the last ten years now, the importance of these supporting structures and the conditions surrounding the individual academic lecturer have received increased attention in Germany and educational policies have started to explicitly focus on them. In 2007, the German federal government offered several grants for teaching research projects at universities and the Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, abbreviated just as Stifterverband in the following) started projects on excellent teaching as an answer to Germany’s Excellence Initiative, which aimed at excellence in university research. These activities have been precursors to Germany’s large Quality Pact for Good Teaching in which, during the period 2011 to 2020, over two billion euros will be spent on programmes in higher education.

These programmes specifically address the supporting structures for and the conditions surrounding teaching at universities. To a certain extent, they try to stabilise existing structures and conditions by pouring money into a chronically underfinanced system: Out of the 460 individual projects that are listed in the project database of the Quality Pact, 56 % finance additional teaching staff positions (but typically also have other objectives). However, the programmes also aim at a shift in educational policy directions and higher education research: Instead of looking only at the individual lecturer, the management level of universities and how it can improve the prerequisites for good teaching has become under scrutiny. For instance, 70 % of the projects of the Quality Pact aim at improving the qualifications of the teaching staff institutionally and 61 % aim at improving the quality management surrounding teaching – in both cases these percentages are higher than the 56 % that just aim lowering the student-to-lecturer ratio. Research projects aim at identifying the different disciplinary perspectives and at combining them into a theoretical, evidence-based set of conditions that lie at the heart of good teaching and that the management of a university can influence – in the form of an Educational Governance Policy (Becker et al. 2012, pp. 5–9).

Looking once more at the Quality Pact alone, some 16 research projects explicitly address these aims, see the working papers listed in the references for overviews. University managers increasingly implement professional development models for the qualification of current or future lecturers. Higher education teaching training becomes part of (continuing) professional development. Most lecturers are intrinsically motivated to strive for excellence in teaching, provided the structural conditions surrounding them are supportive (Heise & Zaepernick-Rothe, 2012). These conditions include a necessary amount of autonomy, sufficient time budgets, a diverse and appreciated teaching culture and how new academic staff is welcomed.

It is too early to draw general, definite conclusions from the empirical educational research done through projects like the 2008–2012 project Higher Educa­tion Research as a Contribution to the Professionalisation of Higher Education Teaching (Hochschulforschung als Beitrag zur Professionalisierung der Hochschullehre). Too little time has passed for changes in management structures to have had an empirically measurable effect. Heiner and colleagues (2016, p. 11) note that the empirical research carried out so far has, instead of consolidating the theory landscape, led to a proliferation of theoretical approaches. At the same time, however, it has also led lecturers to reflect explicitly both on their own teaching and on how it relates to the other actors (their students, their colleagues, their staff, their administration) in higher education – and for lecturers, this book can function as a contribution to this process of reflection.

After more than ten years of empirical research in higher education and a variety of practical concepts (many of which are part of the Quality Pact, including two projects at the University of Lübeck3), we think it is a good time to present examples of excellent teaching and supporting governance structures from a number of German universities as well as a Chinese university.

The book is structured into four parts, each of which addresses a different perspective on the book’s topic. These perspectives, described in detail in a moment, group the contributions of the different authors of this book according to how they look at principles, structures and requirements of excellent teaching – not according to which perspective the readers have or should have. For example, while the governance perspective from the first part looks mainly at the influence of institutional structures and institutional prerequisites on good teaching, the presented findings on, say, student diversity will also be of interest to lecturers and not only to administrators. On the other hand, the presentation of concrete methods in the third part in a very hands-on fashion is certainly of interest to teachers looking for ways to widen their methods repertoire, but can also help policy makers getting a better picture of the principles underlying examples of excellent teaching.

Part 1: Structures and Requirements of Excellent Teaching – the Governance Perspective

The first perspective we take on the topic of the book is the governance perspective. That is, we have a look at how the organisation of a university – both regarding its management structure as well as the roles of its members – can help (or hinder) how well teaching is or can be done at the institution.

In the introductory chapter, Bettina Jansen-Schulz describes principles, structures and conditions that support or hinder young scientists in their teaching and that influence the reputation of teaching in the scientific system.

Bettina Jansen-Schulz and Sandra Magens contrast existing and new structures of organisation development and (continuing) professional development for young researchers at the University of Lübeck. The ambitious aim is to offer a university career based on excellence in teaching and higher education training.

Jonathan Kohlrausch introduces diversity as both a feature of today’s student body and as an approach, theoretical and practical, to enhancing higher education.

Juliana Wiechert addresses the problem that lecturers often need to provide counselling to students in difficult situations – something that many lecturers feel was not part of their job description, but which clearly has a large impact on the success of their teaching. As programme coordinator for the psychology study programme at the University of Lübeck, Juliana Wiechert developed structures for equipping lecturers with the necessary skills to address and help students.

Part 2: Research on Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – the Higher Education Research Perspective

In the second part we look at the teaching process from the research perspective. The chapters in this part present research findings on problems in higher education, with the notion of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) playing a prominent role: Its premises are introduced and discussed first, then findings from several SoTL projects are presented, followed by findings from other research projects on higher education.

Tobias Schmohl opens this part by introducing us to the central notions underlying the SoTL idea.

Tobias Schmohl and Bettina Jansen-Schulz then discuss two implementations of SoTL at two different German universities: They describe the integration of SoTL into the teaching and learning framework of higher education and professional development of the Universities of Hamburg and of Lübeck.

In the subsequent three chapters, seven researchers from three different disciplines describe their SoTL research:

Amir Madany Mamlouk, Christina Geick and Katrin Lämmermann have studied, in the context of in the interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics, the development of their students’ expectations of their own likely performance and how their students’ motivation has increased dramatically over the years due to interventions regarding the grading system. They changed and improved their instructional methods through continuous interventions, especially through gamification. The Stifterverband has awarded the first author with a Senior Fellowship in 2016 to help him forward his research on this approach.

Tim Kunold and Till Tantau investigate the notion of student misconceptions in the field of mathematics and theoretical computer science and how they can be uncovered and corrected. Towards this aim, the authors present the new teaching method Just-in-Time Exercises (JiTE), which has similarities to Just-in-Time Teaching but focuses less on the lecturer and more on the student. Results are presented from two rounds of applying the method in a large, mandatory mathematics course.

Maria Noftz and Annette Seibt teach sexual health at the University of Lübeck and at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. The authors show that – even today, even in university teaching – sexual health is a highly sensitive topic that requires special instructional approaches to overcome taboos. They are currently testing the effectiveness of their instructional design through SoTL research.

Two final chapters on teaching and learning research conclude the second part:

Susanne Gundermann from the Language Teaching Centre at the University of Freiburg discusses the challenges non-native speakers face when teaching in English on several teaching and learning levels and comes to a surprising conclusion that has an impact on higher education trainings.

Dennis Kleinewalter and Philipp Rostalski present a teaching concept developed for courses in medical engineering at the University of Lübeck. They report on their findings from the first trial run of new, accompanying expert trainings and describe how it will be adjusted in the future.

Part 3: Methods in Higher Education – the Hands-On Perspective

As the name suggests, the hands-on perspective on methods shifts the focus from research findings to the presentation of findings how different methods can be used in typical teaching situations. The presented higher education teaching and learning methods come from different disciplines and different universities, spanning business curricula in Hamburg to computer programming courses in China, but a common feature of the presented approaches is that they apply to interdisciplinary situations as well.

Klaus Vosgerau and Ulrike Bulmann discuss how the concepts of research-based teaching and learning can be taught to young researchers. This teaching concept is getting increasingly popular in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes. Their training programme for higher education teaching and learning at the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg allows young researchers to acquire teaching skills in this area.

Désirée Ladwig, Michel Domsch and Sonja Beer teach professional and organisational development in the International Management degree programme at the University of Applied Sciences Lübeck and the Helmut-Schmidt-University of Hamburg. They describe the methodology of the case study method, which is often used in management teaching.

Michael Breuker is a laboratory engineer at the University of Applied Sciences Lübeck and obtained a teaching certificate in 2012–2013 from the University of Lübeck. Equipped with a large variety of teaching and learning methods and theoretical background knowledge on higher education teaching and learning, he taught at the Shanghai partner university of the University of Applied Sciences Lübeck within the framework of his university’s cooperation with China. He describes his teaching experience in a completely different learning culture and gives valuable hints on what to look out for when planning teaching in Asia.

Daniel Wiswede has gained a lot of experience with an audience response system (clicker system) at the University of Lübeck in teaching medical psychology and reflects on its use, its impact on the learning process and the possibilities of applying this method in other disciplines.

Sonja Beer, Désirée Ladwig and Franziska Knedel have developed and implemented the concept of module maps (Fachlandkarten) for the orientation of students at the beginning of their studies. The approach, which has been successfully tested, can be applied to almost any subject area, including programmes of higher education teaching training.

Bettina Jansen-Schulz concludes the presentation of methods in higher education teaching and learning with her presentation of the strategy of Integrative Gendering and Diversity in everyday teaching. The method has been applied by lecturers at many universities nationally and internationally for more than ten years.

Part 4: Teaching Awards and Evaluation – the Visibility Perspective

The visibility perspective addresses the question of how excellent teaching can become visible – in the sense that the actual teaching being done can become an object of critical discussion. One way to achieve this is to present the concepts and methods that award-winning teachers apply; and this is exactly what several of the chapters in this part do. However, student evaluations also provide a means to look at actual teaching through the eyes of the students who enjoy (or suffer through) it.

In the opening chapter of this part, Bettina Jansen-Schulz and Till Tantau first explain in more detail how visibility of good teaching is understood in this book. Their core claim is that excellent teaching should be as visible as excellent research and then they exemplify this by three different ways in which the University of Lübeck tries to work towards this goal. One of it is the teaching award of the University of Lübeck.

Horst Pagel received the first university-wide teaching award of the University of Lübeck in 2016 for his long-standing and proven teaching concept in the medical teaching of culture and communication of the deaf community.

The second university prize was awarded in 2017 to Christian Hoffmann for his approach to teaching the Ethics of Innovative Engineering. This best-practice teaching concept clearly demonstrates how innovative methods of higher education can be implemented and what a strong, positive effect in learning and teaching they can have.

In 2013, Rosemarie Pulz received an award for the best taught course in the STEM subjects at the University of Lübeck. She describes her interesting and student-centred approach to teach a practical course in organic chemistry. She illustrates the pedagogic background and the main organisational structures that are important for such a course.

Christian Decker and Fabian Frielitz, who received the teaching award from the Hamburg University of Applied Science, reflect on their experiences in team teaching and blended-learning settings during a course on Academic Research and Writing as a complex multi-level instructional scenario.

Linda Brüheim concludes the visibility perspective with a brief overview of an evidence-based evaluation that follows the students’ life cycle. She discusses the interrelationships between student evaluation and higher education teaching and presents first findings.

As always, such a book could not have been written without the support of many people. First of all, we would like to thank the authors who have reported so many different best-practice concepts, instructional ideas and research results in a short period of time. We would like to thank the German Society for Academic Development (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hochschuldidaktik, dghd), and the board of the dghd publication series, above all Tobina Brinker and Robert Kordts-Freudinger for including this book in their publication series and supporting us with our questions. We gratefully acknowledge the dghd’s financial contribution to the publication of this book as well as the contribution of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research through their funding of the Quality Pact for Good Teaching project Ein didaktisches Service-Zentrum für Do­zie­rende.

Last but not least, we would like to thank Susanne Gundermann for helping with the English editing and proofreading and Tim Kunold, who helped us enormously with the assembling and layout of this book.

Lübeck, August 2018

Bettina Jansen-Schulz, Till Tantau


Becker, F. (2012). Governance von Hochschulen: Einfluss von organisatorischen Rahmenbedingungen auf „gute Lehre“. In F. Becker, G. Krücken & E. Wild (Eds.), Gute Lehre in der Hochschule. Wirkungen von Anreizen, Kontextbedingungen und Reformen (pp. 31–50). Bielefeld: wbv.

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung: Qualitätspakt Lehre (2018). Project Database. Retrieved from https://www.qualitaetspakt-lehre.de/de/projekte-im-qualitatspakt-lehre-suchen-und-finden.php

Hanft, A., Bischoff, F., & Kretchmer, S. (2017). Working Paper Hochschulsteuerung. Perspektiven aus der Begleitforschung zum Qualitätspakt Lehre. Koordinierungsstelle der Begleitforschung des Qualitätspakt Lehre, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.

Hanft, A., Bischoff, F., & Prang, B. (2016). Working Paper Studieneingangsphase. Perspektiven aus der Begleitforschung zum Qualitätspakt Lehre. Koordinierungsstelle der Begleitforschung des Qualitätspakt Lehre, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.

Hanft, A., Bischoff, F., & Prang, B. (2017). Working Paper Lehr-/Lernformen. Perspektiven aus der Begleitforschung zum Qualitätspakt Lehre. Koordinierungsstelle der Begleitforschung des Qualitätspakt Lehre, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.

Heise, E., & Zaepernick-Rothe, U. (2012). Zufriedenheit von Lehrenden an deutschen Universitäten mit ihrer Lehrtätigkeit. In F. Becker, G. Krücken & E. Wild (Eds.), Gute Lehre in der Hochschule. Wirkungen von Anreizen, Kontextbedingungen und Reformen (pp. 115–136). Bielefeld: wbv.

Martin, L. (2011). Defining the Scholarship of Teaching versus Scholarly Teaching. Retrieved from https://www.stlhe.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/STLHE-Newsletter-46-2007-Summer.pdf

Potter, M. K., & Kustra, E. D. H. (2011). The relationship between scholarly teaching and SoTL: Models, distinctions, and clarifications. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 5(1), 1–18. doi://10.20429/ijsotl.2011.050123

Wissenschaftsrat (2017). Strategien für die Hochschullehre. Positionspapier (Drs. 6190–17). Halle. Retrieved from https://www.wissenschaftsrat.de/download/archiv/6190-17.pdf


Till Tantau, Prof. Dr., University of Lübeck,

Bettina Jansen-Schulz, Dr. phil., University of Lübeck/TransferConsult, Lübeck,


We will use the term teacher in a broad sense of a person who teaches in higher education, which encompasses everyone from university faculty staff to student teaching assistants. We use the term lecturer in the more narrow sense of teachers who are responsible for their own university-level courses.


For the discussion about and between SoTL and ST see for instance Potter & Kustra (2011) and Martin (2011).


The projects 01PL16096 Lecturers’ Service Centre (Ein didaktisches Service-Zentrum für Dozie­rende) and 01PL16099 Study Entry Phases (Einstiege ins Studium), both of which run from 2011 through 2020.

Part 1: Structures and Requirements
of Excellent Teaching –
the Governance Perspective

Principles, Structures and Requirements
for Good Teaching

Bettina Jansen-Schulz


Teaching in academia is linked to principles, structures and requirements that are often ambivalent for both junior and senior lecturers as well as for professors. In this chapter I take the perspective of junior researchers and junior lecturers and show what motivates them to teach, what they need and what demotivates them to teach excellently1 and how universities can support good teaching. Junior researchers and junior lecturers are often highly motivated to teach – just like most professors –, but German academia, which still assigns low reputation to teaching and high reputation to research, offers them few chances and little time to implement good teaching and to pursue teaching careers. This chapter describes – from the higher education perspective – the principles of structures, disciplinary cultures, terms, players and stakeholders in German academia in which junior researchers and junior lecturers act. I conclude with some ideas how to unburden the lecturers and their teaching and what higher education teaching and learning can do.


1  Principles of Good Teaching

2  Higher Education Policies and Politics

3  Structures for Good Teaching

4  Discipline Cultures

5  Curricula and Modules

6  Stakeholders and Actors in the Teaching System

6.1  Dimensions of Teaching

6.2  Dimensions for Examinations

7  Requirements for Good Teaching

1 Principles of Good Teaching

Principles of good teaching are linked in a specific academic system that is a ‘non-fixed system of several partial system’ (Kloke & Krücken, 2012, p. 14, my translation), which makes it difficult for the steering committees of universities to influence the teaching and the careers of junior scientists and junior lecturers (Kloke & Krücken, 2012, p. 20).2 Furthermore, the structures, discipline culture, players and stakeholders also have to be taken into account. From a systemic perspective of government, these principles are embedded in – looking on Bronfenbrenner’s (1981) ecologic model – macro, exo, meso and micro levels (Becker, 2012; Heiner, 2016): The macro level is the political level, the exo level is the university’s structure level, the meso level is the level of the discipline and the micro level is the level of the individuals – here the junior lecturers.

2 Higher Education Policies and Politics

Teaching is embedded in a political and institutional framework ranging from federal policies to state policies (macro level) to the universities’ institutional frameworks (exo level), the curricula and the teaching cultures of the university and the disciplines (meso level) – and each level has effects on the next level. Beyond that, the levels are embedded in different dimensions: structure, process and outcome (Braun et al., 2014, p. 435). However, a lecturer’s teaching competencies, their motivation to teach and interest in teaching do not have a high reputation in academia and are often irrelevant for their careers in academia, because the framework conditions in German academia are barely helpful for teaching careers (micro level) and tend to promote research (Egger 2016; Egger & Merkt 2016).

Figure 1 shows the different levels that impact teaching (Braun et al., 2014; Bronfenbrenner, 1981). The first three levels depend on and are subject to political influences in the macro level. The exo level and meso level are influenced by the university’s organisational structure and its strategies regarding organisational and human development – here concerning the lecturers. The two steps on the meso level influence the teaching contents as well as the teaching formats, and also the micro level, concerning the lecturers. On the micro level, lecturers can widen their teaching skills and can – when possible on this level – work on their career with or through teaching (Egger & Merkt, 2016).


Figure 1: The influences of higher education policies and politics in Germany (© Jansen-Schulz 2018)

3 Structures for Good Teaching

The appreciation of good teaching and its reputation depend on its societal and institutional framework conditions, on the culture of the university, on the academic socialisation of the actors and on the structures in which teaching is included in the disciplines. Universities are part of an educational system that is influenced by the national history of research and science, by internationalisation approaches and by the individual university’s overall and discipline history. Tertiary education is also influenced by overt and covert hierarchies among institutions, disciplines, sciences and universities as well as intra-institutional hierarchies of disciplines, departments, institutes and the (research) reputation of the professors (Schaeper, 1997). These hierarchies have a strong influence on the reputation of research, but not teaching. In result, the socialisation of academics puts research first and teaching second. In consequence, stakeholders act within a research-orientated system. This leads to the promotion of research in each structure of the universities, which has already been criticised on a high political level (Wissenschaftsrat, 2008, 2014, 2017) and political strategies for promoting teaching in academia have been proposed for more than ten years (Wissenschaftsrat, 2008).

In Germany there is a political strategy to promote universities with a high research impact, but since the Bologna reforms, teaching has also become more important. In 2007, the Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, abbreviated Stifterverband in the following) started projects on excellent teaching as an answer to the grand competition for excellent research universities. In 2006, the federal German government offered grants for teaching research projects at the universities and since 2011 there has been a Germany-wide Quality Pact for Good Teaching (Qualitätspakt Lehre) and higher education programmes, which will last until 2020 and hopefully longer as the German federal government promised (Koalitionsvertrag, 2018 p. 32). These projects3, research studies and pacts have changed the perspective on teaching and have begun to enhance the framework conditions for excellent teaching (Egger & Merkt, 2016). In some universities4, structures within the so-called third space5 have already been constructed and young lecturers have become more interested in teaching since this pact started in 2011. Highly motivated lecturers now enjoy increased recognition in academia in general as well as the higher education programmes, which have spread since the initiation of the Quality Pact (Heiner, 2016)

4 Discipline Cultures

Each discipline has its own culture, which depends on the history of the discipline and the classification within the hierarchical system of natural and life science, engineering or arts (or humanities; Schaeper, 1997). The learning culture of a discipline is connected to the culture of the discipline (Bourdieu, 2001a, pp. 112 ff.). Students, young researchers, lecturers and professors, having been socialised in the discipline-specific learning and teaching culture and being stakeholders in their specific teaching culture (Bourdieu, 1992, pp. 82 ff.; Brendel & Metz-Göckel, 2001, pp. 27 ff.), are often not aware that teaching and learning cultures can differ (Bourdieu, 2001b, pp. 144 ff.)6 – but, of course, there are different teaching cultures: In STEM and medical disciplines, there are clear prescribed hierarchies and sequences for the teaching contents, which leave the lecturers (and students) hardly any choice concerning ways of teaching and ways of learning. In the humanities more open and integrative models of teaching are being used (Brendel & Metz-Göckel, 2001; Schaeper, 1997, pp. 111 ff.)

The described teaching culture has an influence on the reputation of teaching and this reputation is still lower than that of research. The socialisation in the discipline together with the surrounding conditions of teaching are often not helpful: In particular, there is typically little time for the proper preparation of teaching activities. Young lecturers who want to teach excellently often have to spend private time on the preparation of their lectures. Furthermore, they are often forced to stick to the lecture notes of their professors and cannot prove themselves by employing new teaching conceptions. Young lecturers from my higher educational development courses have been consistently confirming these statements for more than ten years. The (hidden) message they hear: Concentrate on your research and not on teaching, that is a different job. Such hidden messages still exist even if university leaders strive to establish better structures for teaching (cf. see Merkt, 2016; Heyne, 2016; Roxa et al., 2016; Selmhofer, 2016). The culture of disciplines and teaching that has evolved over time includes examination conditions as well as discipline-specific teaching methods. Implementing and advocating innovative and new instructional methods, approaches of transfer and examination formats is mostly driven by individual initiatives of lecturers while supporting institutional structures play a minor role. However, there are still highly motivated lecturers who experiment with different types of lecturing, examinations, and methods.

5 Curricula and Modules

In Germany’s higher education institutions, two systems exist in parallel: the classical disciplines with their own teaching cultures and the goals and new structures for good teaching that university leaders define and fund. Young and innovative lecturers interact with both systems. In addition to these two parallel systems, which are part of the meso level, there are the curricula of a discipline and the modules. With the Bologna reforms in Europe starting in the year 2000, the framework conditions for teaching at bachelor’s and master’s level have changed. There are now precise requirements for content, which are defined in modules. Modules describe the study objectives or learning outcomes, the workload, the contents and the instructional methods and also the examination conditions. Lecturers perceive that they have only little freedom regarding the curricula and the modules and refrain from changing contents, teaching methods or examination formats – even if they actually have this freedom. Lecturers who are highly motivated for teaching sometimes have to fight or use a backdoor to implement innovative teaching under these terms. These backdoors can be closed shut or opened widely by the stakeholders in the hierarchy of the university and the departments – meaning that is may depend on the generosity of an institute’s director whether the lecturers get enough time and rooms for their teaching and learning arrangements or to change examination modalities (see Madany Mamlouk et al. in this volume).

6 Stakeholders and Actors in the Teaching System

The stakeholders of a university interact both at the meso level and as individuals at the micro level of the academia. The head of a university and the deans of departments preferably interact at the meso level. Professors who chair an institute interact as stakeholders at the meso level as well as at the micro level when they teach or do research. They have a strong influence on young lecturers’ perceptions of teaching. They are stakeholders of a discipline culture as well as of a teaching culture. From the perspective of teaching, the (young) lecturers interact as individuals at the micro level. They work with and for students at the meso level. Trigwell and colleagues (1999) show the teacher’s perceptions of the teaching environment (which includes curricula, modules, discipline cultures and the university’s teaching culture) to shape their ideas of teaching and learning besides individual educational beliefs of how students learn. These authors have explored the missing link between the teachers’ approaches to teaching and the students’ approaches to learning. They compared teacher-oriented teaching with student-oriented teaching, which needs more freedom in the curricula and modules and which depends on the teaching environment. Other parts of the teaching environment are the individual dimensions of teaching: goals, contents, methods, students and learning outcomes. The promoted change of perspective from teaching to learning needs these freedoms of teaching and planning, too. This approach implies the changing of the lecturers’ roles from instructors to learning consultants (Wild, 2006) to support the students’ independent learning.

6.1 Dimensions of Teaching

The goals and contents of degree programmes are defined in its curriculum and particularly in its module descriptions, causing lecturers to have little flexibility to define their own goals and contents for a module. They do have freedom concerning the choice of instructional methods and can decide whether a lecture should be student-oriented or teacher-oriented. Student-oriented methods need more time for the preparation of lessons, need more time to account for the heterogeneity and diversity of students7 and need more active methods for and from the students – but it helps in terms of learning outcomes (Trigwell et al., 1999). Teaching and learning methods approaches such as problem-based learning (PBL), project-oriented learning, research-oriented learning8, case studies9, gamification learning10, online-blended-learning and other approaches for engaging students are still innovative in some teaching cultures and it makes sense to test them. Therefore, (young) lecturers need more flexibility here, just as they need more freedom to try out different examination formats and dimensions.

6.2 Dimensions for Examinations

Examinations are often defined in module descriptions without alternative formats, often one can find only the format ‘test’. In order to support deep and diverse learning outcomes, it is helpful to offer different options and ways of examinations: more dimensions of examinations mean more chances for student learning progress. Heterogeneous learning types and the diversity of students’ learning cultures have to be taken into account as well. The more student-oriented a course is, the more student-oriented dimensions of examinations are needed. There are dimensions of intercultural structures, which have to be considered. One of the most extensive and most strongly learning-oriented pedagogies is Constructive Alignment, developed by Biggs and Tang (2011). Examinations can be and mostly are content-oriented. Content knowledge can be examined through several approaches. Examining competences (OSCE11) is student-oriented, for example. Examinations can also be performed through several other methods and through different teaching and learning approaches and individualised approaches. Lecturers need freedom to plan various dimensions of examination, in particular when they prefer student-oriented teaching. If lecturers are granted the freedom to choose teaching dimensions and examination dimensions, there will be at least a chance for a change in the teaching culture, but they need the support of the head of the university and the deans at the meso level.


Figure 2: Dimensions for Examinations (© Jansen-Schulz 2018)

7 Requirements for Good Teaching

In this conclusion, I present requirements for good teaching and for a better reputation of teaching with some examples from the University of Lübeck. Research studies on the impact of teaching and on lecturers’ satisfaction show that students can learn intensively through student-oriented teaching and examinations approaches (Biggs & Tangs, 2011; Trigwell et al., 1999) and that lecturers are more satisfied when they apply student-oriented methods (Krücken, 2012, p. 69). They are also satisfied when they have different responsibilities, when they can choose their teaching approaches autonomously and when they are sure about their teaching competences (Heise et al., 2012, p. 128). These findings have been confirmed in older studies (e. g., Schaeper, 1997) as well as more recent publications (e. g., Egger & Merkt, 2016). These requirements for good teaching can be provided by university heads and deans. The University of Lübeck provides the framework conditions for good teaching at the meso-level via four steps:

  1. Higher education teaching and learning development programmes. Lecturers can attend an open course system and can obtain different certificates attesting to their teaching competencies (Jansen-Schulz & Tantau, 2016). This certification programme is helpful for a teaching career at the university. Particularly the younger lecturers attend this programme. The annual participant survey shows an increase of teaching competencies, a high motivation to teach and a better reputation of teaching (Brühheim, 2016; Wagner, 2017). These findings correlate with the results from Heise and colleagues (2012, pp. 128 ff.) in their study on lecturer satisfaction.
  2. Researching teaching with Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)12. In SoTL, lecturers can have a closer look at their teaching approaches with regard to contents, methods and examination. Their findings help other lecturers to improve their teaching methods. With research on the impact of teaching and of higher education, the University of Lübeck will look at teaching methods from several perspectives: the lecturer’s perspective, the student’s perspective, the institutional perspective and the perspective of teaching and learning.
  3. Both the higher education programme and SoTL are embedded in the institution’s continuing professional development. The university places an emphasis on its programmes to develop career paths. Lecturers who got the highest certificate in higher education development courses and who performed a SoTL project can get a tenured contract of employment with a raised teaching load13. This is an innovative way for young researchers to stay at the university. They are employed below the contractual level of professors (Salden, 2013).
  4. Making excellent teaching visible. To increase the reputation of teaching in academia, the University of Lübeck launched a campaign to making excellent teaching visible14. In addition to the certification programmes and the new paths for teaching careers, there are regular events in which excellent teaching is made visible and is talked about. The fact that the university’s teaching is constantly ranked very high in the German teaching rankings (Zeit Campus, 2017) is also helpful for showing excellent teaching approaches.

To increase the reputation of academic teaching, it is the responsibility of the stakeholders involved at the meso level to open internal structures in a top-down process (Jansen-Schulz, 2005).

To sum up, it is necessary to give lecturers more freedom in choosing their instructional approaches and in researching their own teaching in order to develop further approaches to excellent teaching.


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Table of Figures

Abb. 1   The influences of higher education policies and politics in Germany

Abb. 2   Dimensions for Examinations (© Jansen-Schulz 2018)


Bettina Jansen-Schulz, Dr. phil., University of Lübeck/TransferConsult, Lübeck,


The definition of ‘excellent or good teaching’ is difficult and depends on various criteria (Becker, 2012, p. 173; Heiner, 2016, p. 14) see also Tantau & Jansen-Schulz (this volume).


For an example of how careers could be steered through teaching, see Jansen-Schulz & Magens (this volume).


The Service Centre for Lecturers (Do­zie­renden-Service-Center, abbreviated DSC in the following) was established as part of one of the University of Lübeck’s Quality Pact projects.


As for example at the University of Lübeck, see Jansen-Schulz & Magens (this volume).


The space between research, teaching and administration.


When they join interdisciplinary higher education development courses, they meet lecturers from other disciplines with a different culture of teaching, which they often find very interesting.


For diversity of students see Kohlrausch (this volume).


See Vosgerau & Bulmann (this volume) and Schmohl (this volume).


See Ladwig et al. (this volume).


See Kunold & Tantau (this volume) and Madany et al. (this volume).


In medicine: Objective Structured Clinical Examination for the examination of student competences.


For SoTL see Schmohl (this volume), Schmohl & Jansen-Schulz (this volume) Vosgerau & Bulmann (this volume).


For more on this teaching career path see Jansen-Schulz & Magens (this volume).


See Tantau & Jansen-Schulz (this volume).

Advancing Excellent Teaching through Academic Governance and Human Resource Development1

Bettina Jansen-Schulz & Sandra Magens


Why are career paths within universities important for good teaching? Most of the teaching at universities is carried out by the so-called Mittelbau: young researchers who are typically very interested in teaching (Wissenschaftsrat, 2017, p. 32). Their employment contracts are usually limited in time, and they have a very tight time budget for teaching, since their academic careers are mainly based on research activities for which there are internationally accepted criteria. Teaching is only marginally important. In tenure procedures, teaching experience is often a requirement but there are no standardised criteria to judge the quality of teaching. The time for teaching, its preparation and implementation, the development of new teaching concepts, etc. is scarce for young researchers and they often work on their syllabi in their spare time. In this chapter, we present the approach taken by the University of Lübeck towards supporting young researchers with a strong interest in offering excellent teaching: teaching as a university career path. Our focus will lie on professional development and organisational development regarding the improvement of teaching – a focus that is often addressed in the literature but rarely discussed in depth.


1  Framework Conditions at the University of Lübeck

2  Qualifying Staff for Internal and External Careers

2.1  Organisational Structure of Training and Staff Development

2.2  Development of Career Paths within the University

3  Careers in Teaching

4  Careers in Science Management

5  Organisational Development and Staff Development in Science

6  Outlook

1 Framework Conditions at the University of Lübeck

The University of Lübeck is a small university with about 5,000 students and about 300 employees from the technical-administrative sector, about 1,500 academic staff (approximately 1,300 of them work at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein) and 130 professors. Since its foundation in 1964, it has developed from an adjunct medical faculty of the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel to first an independent medical university and then from the late 1990s to a university with a broad portfolio of medical, life-science and STEM research. It is in a continuous process of further development and has dissolved the faculty boundaries to better link different disciplines and to become a university with a clear, strategic profile. A major milestone on this path has been the conversion into a foundation in 2015. Although state funding is maintained and the basic funding remains on the same low level as at the other universities in Schleswig-Holstein, this legal form gives the University of Lübeck more freedom to raise funds from non-governmental third parties and to promote the strategic goals of the university more pro-actively and flexibly. In addition to the nation-wide developments described in the introduction to this book, for the past years this change of the university’s legal form has driven university management’s efforts to develop concrete professional development measures.

2 Qualifying Staff for Internal and External Careers

The university’s motto Focus on Life implies, in particular, a Focus on People. Personality development does not only play a major role in the education of students, but also in the overall concept of organisational development at the university. It includes the individual development of employees in the context of their current positions, ...

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