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Professional Development

A commitment to professional development is one of the guiding principles of Freie Universität Berlin in its role as employer. Professional development helps staff keep their skills up to date, but is also a way of ensuring that employees have access to ongoing training and development for the future.

Freie Universität Berlin has had a continuing professional development policy since 2002. Each employee has the right to apply to take part in professional development training courses. Their supervisor must then assess whether the training applied for benefits the organization and if so, in what area. Depending on the outcome of the supervisor’s assessment, the employee’s participation is paid for by the department or section of the university that is likely to benefit most from their participation.

It is important that professional development is tailored carefully to individual needs. For this purpose, various central offices in the university, as well as other departmental teams, offer advice from specialists:

Personnel Development, Welcome Service, and Apprenticeships

Division I C is home to Personnel Development, Welcome Service, and Apprenticeships. They are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding personnel development, training on the job, knowledge transfer, settling in, and apprenticeships at Freie Universität Berlin.

Center for Continuing Education

The Center for Continuing Education offers professional development courses and training programs for Freie Universität employees.

Career Service (for students assistants)

The Career Service provides information, advice, training, and helpful contacts with the working world.

Dahlem Center for Academic Teaching

The Dahlem Center for Academic Teaching is especially designed for people who teach at the university.

Berlin Leadership Academy (BLA)

The BLA offers a leadership program for university professors

Dahlem Research School (DRS) for junior researchers

DRS provides continuous and systematic support to doctoral and postdoctoral researchers.

Toolbox Gender and Diversity

Information regarding gender- and diversity-conscious teaching at university ranging from introductory information to videos and quizzes.

Annual Performance Reviews

Freie Universität Berlin uses annual reviews as a structured form of communication. They are intended to provide a structured space to better identify the skills and potential of individual employees and to highlight any training or support needs that they may have.

A further aim is to encourage an open dialogue between supervisors and staff based on mutual trust and appreciation of each other’s work, improving communication and helping employees and their managers to work together more effectively. Based on each employee’s abilities and requirements, they can also be used for career planning and to identify pathways for professional development. The annual review, as the name suggests, takes place yearly and should not be seen as a routine catch-up, but rather as a dialogue covering specific topics. The appraisal asks employees and supervisors to think together about tasks and how they are organized; the supervisor’s management style and the working relationship; and individual training and development requirements. To support the process, the university offers informational events for staff along with ongoing training for managers and facilitators. The latter represent an interface between employees and central administration/management. The long-term principle guiding the review process is to encourage a culture of openness and transparency, along with a working environment that facilitates staff wellbeing and development.

You can find more information about the annual review (e.g., the policy and guidelines on the process) on the Occupational Health Management and Personnel Development websites. Their staff are also available to help with any questions you may have. 



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Erasmus+ for Teaching Staff

The European Commission’s Erasmus+ program for teaching staff is a chance for Freie Universität employees to spend a limited period of time at a partner university in Europe and selected non-European countries. The application process is straightforward, and participants can look forward to broadening their teaching experience and becoming acquainted with new teaching methodologies.

The program is also intended to promote a European perspective at the host university. The visiting staff can share their teaching experience and expertise with students who cannot or prefer not to study abroad. The program is also intended to foster opportunities for developing joint teaching programs with the partner universities, along with the exchange of teaching content and methods.

Guest instructors must offer at least 8 teaching hours per week of their stay.

Funding is available for the following staff:

  • professors and lecturers with a contractual relationship with Freie Universität
  • research assistants
  • doctoral students with teaching responsibilities
  • staff from non-German organizations and businesses (can get invited to teach at a German university).

Erasmus+ for Administrative Staff 

Training opportunities are also available for non-teaching staff employed in a higher education institution. 
There are various formats for training as part of Erasmus+ such as: sitting in on classes or lectures, job shadowing, study visits, attendance of workshops and seminars (no conferences), and participation in language courses and continuing education courses.

The opportunities offered are geared toward administrative staff in the following areas: general and technical administration, libraries, academic departments, accounting, international office, public relations, student advising, technology & transfer, and continuing education.

You can find more information about the Erasmus+ program and other structured training programs on the website of Division IV: International Affairs. Team IV B, Academic Relations, will be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Coordinator Erasmus+ Staff Mobility
Stefanie Ritter
+49 30 838-734 41

Erasmus+ Staff Mobility – Outgoing
Sabine Erler
+49 30 838-734 17

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The “Bildungszeit” program in Germany allows you to take paid leave from work to participate in a state-recognized further education course. Anyone who is employed or in a de facto employment relationship can take advantage of this opportunity. Please note that special federal and state regulations apply to public officials (“Beamte/Beamtinnen”). This right is embedded in Berlin’s Educational Leave Law (Bildungszeitgesetz - BiZeitG).

You can apply for educational leave six months after your employment contract has begun at the earliest. The educational program must last a minimum of one day. Employees are entitled to five days of educational leave per year. The entitlement of a current year can be combined with that of a following year if approved by your employer, meaning you can take 10 days of educational leave in one year. This is based on a five-day work week, the entitlement for anyone working more or fewer than five days a week is adjusted accordingly.

You must inform your employer of your wish to take a Bildungszeit and the dates you want to take off well in advance – ideally at least six weeks before you plan to take leave. You can send your application and your “Anerkennungsbescheid” (a document from the educational institution or training organization indicating that the course is recognized by the state as Bildungszeit) to the personnel department via your supervisor. Generally speaking, an application for educational leave with pay may not be rejected, unless pressing issues at work take precedence.

You can find further information on the websites of the Senate Department for Integration, Labor and Social Services (Senatsverwaltung für Integration, Arbeit und Soziales) and Berlin’s Educational Leave Law.



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