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Johannes Gutenberg-Universität
Mainz, Germany


University description (as per official university website)

With approximately 35,000 students from more than 130 nations, Johannes Gutenberg University ranks as one of Germany’s largest universities and is the scientific and academic center of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). Some 2,800 scholars and scientists, including 560 professors, teach and conduct research at more than 150 institutes and clinics.

Solid placements in the respective rankings, numerous awards and a large number of projects supported by outside funds (including ten special research areas, eight DFG graduate colleges and six DFG research groups) testify to the outstanding research achievements of the university’s scientists. Examples of the research focus points at Johannes Gutenberg University include materials research, nuclear and particle physics, as well as nuclear chemistry in the natural sciences, immunology and oncology in medicine, in addition to intercultural and media studies in the humanities and social sciences. The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research are also located on the campus, and the university works closely with both institutions. The university is also characterized by the sophisticated, large-scale equipment that is used intensively by international teams of researchers, such as the key-down electron accelerator MAMI (Mainz Microtron) of the Institute for Nuclear Physics or the light water research reactor TRIGA of the Institute for Nuclear Chemistry.

Students have a wide range of options, covering almost the entire spectrum of university specialties. From the study of the law and economics to the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences, from medicine and dentistry to the integration - unique in the German higher education system - of music, the fine arts and sports. The Department of Applied Linguistics and Cultural Studies, located in Germersheim, trains translators and interpreters in numerous European and non-European languages.

This multiplicity of fields enables and promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching and – like its namesake Johannes Gutenberg – an innovative interplay of ideas and technologies.

From mission statement to strategy
In making the transition to a structured and profiled major university, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz sees its task and competitive opportunity in attracting the best researchers, teachers and students, as well as generating funding, which is becoming scarcer all the time. To this end, the university initiated a comprehensive process of reform in 1999, for which the Center for the Advancement of Higher Education (CHE) awarded it the title "best practice university 2002."

The entire process of reform centers on realizing excellence in the various fields: as an outstanding research center with a committed teaching staff, a customer-oriented administration and, finally, efficient and professional management. In this context, there is no conflict between "excellence" and "size". On the contrary: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz views its size and the multiplicity of its disciplines as positive, profile generating aspects providing opportunities and scope for development and interaction.

The profiling and positioning of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is conducted on the basis of a strategic concept that was approved by the senate. Starting with the mission statement, a concept has been devised that guides the development of the university as a whole over the next three to five years.

Science and research: excellence through concentration
An international research location with a clear profile: In science and research, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz consistently and conscientiously pursues the strategy of promoting excellence. The most important building block for attaining prominence as a center of scientific expertise and outstanding high-level research is the bundling of research potentials by establishing and strengthening focus areas. Ensuring quality is also a key function: Regular internal and external evaluations are designed to reveal potentials for scientific development and to promote and ensure quality in science and research.

Studying and teaching: commitment to students
The increasing international character of the academic labor market presents new requirements for the professional qualification of college graduates and demands courses of studies that are increasingly differentiated and practice-oriented. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz takes these developments into account by differentiating and modularizing the structure of its courses of study. In addition, one of the university’s central tasks is to continually improve the quality of teaching and the conditions of learning.

Further scientific education: lifelong learning
In our information and knowledge-based society, lifelong learning – research-based and research-related – is a necessity. In light of this fact, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz is enhancing the professional focus of its further education programs and expanding the range of market-oriented classes that are offered. At the same time, the continuing education programs continue to profit from the university’s potentials: the latest and most innovative level of knowledge available, the interdisciplinary integration of content and the opportunities to transfer directly to professional practice. In addition to research and teaching, the two traditional tasks of a university, the third pillar of the University of Mainz is scientific further education.

Internationalization: cosmopolitan outlook as a hallmark
Europeanization and globalization are changing the political and economic environment. That is why Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz views internationalization as an interdisciplinary requirement for research, teaching, continuing education and administration. For example, the university is further expanding its program of smoothly functioning international partnerships, improving international joint ventures in the research, teaching and continuing education departments, and increasing student mobility.

Opening up the university: "The experience of cooperation"
As a university of the Rhine-Main region, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz fulfills its responsibilities in the context of the national and international network of science, education and culture. It sees itself as a competent partner interacting with the arenas of science, politics, art culture and society. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz supports joint ventures with, among others, the City of Mainz, the State Theater of Mainz, various educational institutions and media outlets, but also notably with schools and corporations. In cooperation with its partners, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has developed a wealth of new initiatives and has optimized existing concepts.

The process of reform: performance and autonomy
"Securing performance – gaining autonomy" – this was the goal Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz set for itself with the process of reform it initiated in 1999. What is background for these measures? Detailed government control and regulation are increasingly being replaced by steering based on general guidelines and targets. This provides institutions of higher education with substantial leeway to design and improve their programs and activities. The university views this autonomy and self-determination in a two-fold sense – as freedom to make decisions, but also as the ability and empowerment to make decisions. In order to be able to responsibly utilize these latitudes for shaping and designing activities, the university must optimize its organizational forms and management structures, and also acquire new areas of expertise.

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