It is my pleasure to introduce myself as your new Vice-Rector Academic Affairs. Since March 24, 2021, I have held this office as part of TU Dresden's Rectorate, and I am responsible for all matters concerning studies, teaching and continuing education.
The community of lecturers and students ("universitas magistrorum et scolarium"
) constitutes the basis of a university, also in the literal sense of the word. In my capacity as Vice-Rector Academic Affairs, I aim to ensure that this community does not remain a mere commitment, but one that is striving on lively exchanges, mutual trust, respect and appreciation. Teaching and learning must not be a burden, but should be a pleasure, including our joint questioning of interrelations, driven by critical curiosity and with the constant urge to arouse a little more enthusiasm and to understand a little more.
This shall be my guiding principle as Vice-Rector Academic Affairs, even in the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The current situation places great strain on lecturers and students alike, yet it also offers opportunities for new teaching formats, innovative learning environments, and possibilities of intense exchange. We want to continue to expand and develop these opportunities in order to strengthen the community of students and lecturers.
I took over the office of Vice-Rector Academic Affairs from Prof. Gerald Gerlach on March 24, 2021. Prof. Gerlach headed the Vice-Rectorate from August 2020 to March 2021. On medical advice, however, he had to resign from office for health reasons. On behalf of the entire university, we, the members of the Extended Rectorate, would like to thank him for his great commitment during this challenging time. It was thanks to the foundations he created that the transition proceeded very smoothly.
The 2021 summer semester will be the 3rd semester in a pandemic situation. In light of the current (infection) situation, the Extended Rectorate has jointly decided on the following guidelines:
Having spent a year living and studying under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the desire for normality is strong - including for on-site courses. The Extended Rectorate fully understands this desire and very much hopes that they will be possible again without restrictions in the foreseeable future. However, unlike what we still hoped for in the circular mail of March 16, reliable planning for the summer semester cannot be based on on-site teaching but must face the realities and continue to offer quality teaching in online formats for the time being. Against this background, initially until Pentecost, i.e. up to and including May 21, there will be no on-site courses. Exempted from this regulation - under strict compliance with the hygiene regulations and the wearing of protective clothing, if necessary - are events that require physical attendance due to the nature of
the acquisition of competencies (internships, laboratory experiments, etc.). The time until Pentecost as well as the lecture-free Pentecost week will be used to reassess the pandemic situation in order to discuss a possible return to on-site teaching.
Unfortunately, we cannot foresee at present how the situation will continue to develop. As Vice-Rector Academic Affairs and with a view to the examination phase at the end of the 2021 summer semester, I would therefore like to ask you urgently to plan and design your examination formats already now in a way that they can be conducted either online or in the form of alternative examinations. The Extended Rectorate will send out more detailed information on this in due time, and will keep you informed on the current stipulations on TUD's websites
I would like to thank you very much for your understanding of this ongoing tense situation and for your continuous commitment!
Finally yet importantly, I would like to draw your attention to the next two Future Labs: the Vice-Rector University Culture invites you to the fourth Future Lab "What does university culture mean (to us)?" on April 19. The Vice-Rectorate Academic Affairs is planning the Future Lab on Teaching on May 26, 2021. For more detailed information, please go to https://tu-dresden.de/zukunftslabore-2021
Safe. United. Digital. We persevere and keep the virus at bay. I wish us all a successful start into the new semester!
Prof. Dr. Michael Kobel
Vice-Rector Academic Affairs