Circular letter from the Dean, Prof. Raimond Maurer, to Members of the Faculty of Economics and Business

Dear employees of the Faculty of Economics and Business, dear colleagues,

Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the entire world is faced with an unprecedented emergency. Just a matter of weeks ago we could hardly have imagined how dramatically and suddenly our daily lives would change.
This new situation also represents a major challenge for our Faculty. It will require responsible action, commitment, flexibility and constructive ideas from each and every one of us to continue performing our two core tasks – research and teaching – in the exceptional semester ahead. We will need to learn to do many things differently in the near future.

While research will unavoidably be restricted to a certain extent, our primary focus is currently on teaching for our approximately 5,500 students. We will begin courses in the 2020 summer semester on 20 April, but we will be offering them exclusively online until at least the end of May. This represents a major restriction, especially for our first-year students, as it deprives them of the opportunity to encounter professors personally for the first time as they begin their studies and to get to know other students by meeting on campus. Let us all strive to ensure that our first-year students quickly start to feel part of the Faculty. Our virtual E!week was a good start in this respect.

For all our desired pragmatism and openness to explore new avenues, we must proceed in a structured manner and ensure that we are on a sound legal footing, especially when it comes to examinations. In this respect, we are integrating our actions into the overall strategy of Goethe University. As one of the largest faculties at the university, we will continue to exert our influence on the committees and bodies of the university to help design the measures in line with the interests of the economics and business programmes. There is great willingness on the part of the Executive Committee, the deans of all faculties and all university status groups represented in the Senate to reach constructive solutions promptly.

The team around the Dean of the Faculty has successfully lobbied for external capacities to be expanded at short notice for the university as a whole, and thus also for our Faculty, beyond the already existing options (internal capacities of the “studiumdigitale” program) so that we can meet the expected high demand for digital teaching (including from other faculties). Our HRZ is closely involved in procuring, managing and distributing these capacities to ensure that external and internal resources are combined as efficiently as possible and that the necessary security standards are in place. The next step is to amend the study framework regulations as soon as possible in order to open up new forms of teaching in a legally compliant manner, with a focus on minimising any disadvantages for our students.

I very much hope that in the near future we will be able to move towards face-to-face teaching and direct interaction between researchers, teaching staff, students and employees at our beautiful Campus Westend. Nevertheless, the activities around digital teaching and working formats should not only be seen as short-term crisis management measures, but also as an opportunity for the future. I firmly believe that the current investments, involving time and financial resources alike, will soon pay off for the Faculty.

Please continue to take note of the regularly updated information from Goethe University.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all most sincerely for your willingness to face the challenges posed by the current situation together. At the same time, I encourage you to continue to stand together in the same spirit of constructive solidarity that we have shared for a number of weeks now.

I wish us all a successful digital start to the semester.

Enjoy your work and stay safe,
Raimond Maurer
Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration