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Focus Groups on Specific Topics

The strategy process opened with a kickoff event. The goal was for university members from all of Freie Universität’s different areas and status groups to attend the event, working together to define topics that are important for the development of teaching and education at our university. All suggestions were welcome and between November 2020 and February 2021, around 120 members of the university came together in approximately 20 focus groups to work on the different topics. The outcomes of the focus groups’ work have played a central role in the collective effort of developing a mission statement for teaching and learning and an educational strategy for the university.

The focus groups documented their discussions in the Freie Universität wiki. The outcomes from the focus groups in relation to the mission statement were published in advance of the first wrap-up event in March 2021 and discussed in forums open to all university members.

These were the focus groups:

  • The quality of in-person teaching in a digital age
  • Sustainability and university education 
  • Student participation and involvement 
  • Student projects on teaching and education 
  • Digitalization in teaching, examinations, and educational support 
  • Strengthening interdisciplinary education 
  • Diversity, heterogeneity, and inclusion in university education 
  • Internationalizing university education 
  • Quality assurance and evaluation in university education 
  • Innovative and future-oriented approaches to education and testing 
  • Appreciation of and incentives for good teaching 
  • Resources and working conditions for university students and instructors 
  • Professionalizing university instruction and teaching methods 
  • The university and society 
  • Types of participation, communication, and networking  
  • Orientation and transitions between secondary and higher education 
  • Doctoral study
  • Writing workshop 
  • Teacher education

The focus groups were open to new participants (who could choose to join one or multiple groups) from November 16-29, 2020, and it was still possible to set up new focus groups during this time.

How did the focus groups work?

Each focus group had its own overarching topic determined by the participants. The topic had to relate to two fundamental aspects of the process:

The mission statement, in which Freie Universität Berlin’s vision for the future of teaching and learning is made clear.

The educational strategy for Freie Universität Berlin, which should include specific examples of initial measures that can be put in place, ideas for projects, and innovative approaches.

Focus groups were ideally to include members from all of the various status groups represented at the university in order to ensure that the discussions about the different topics considered a full range of perspectives.

Each focus group chose a designated spokesperson. and the groups were provided with a set of guidelines and templates to help them organize and record the outcomes of their meetings.