The Week at TU Braunschweig │20.03.2020
How are you doing? A month ago the first issue of our “Woche” was published. It seems to us that this was in another age. Even in the last issue, the virus was one topic among many. Since then the situation has dramatically worsened for all of us. The first big topic at the beginning of the week were the exams. Board, faculties and examination offices have tried to make all exams still possible. Students should, if possible, be able to produce all certificates of achievement in order to avoid disadvantages for the course of studies and to enable as many students as possible to complete the semester or the entire course of studies quickly. At the weekend, the students’ insecurities became noticeable in the social media. We had actually imagined the proverbial “viral walking” differently until then. Due to the tightened framework conditions, it became clear on Monday during the course of the day: the exams had to be postponed. Now all parties involved are working on solutions to minimize disadvantages for the students in the medium term. Hardship regulations have priority.
In the meantime, many people in the crisis team, in the executive committee and the central administration, in the central institutions, above all the university library and the GITZ, in the faculties and examination offices and in the institutes are working under high pressure to implement the respective current guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute, the federal government, the state and the city of Braunschweig, and if possible always in the interests of the employees and the students.
There are daily updates. We publish the most important ones in the ticker on the homepage. On the information page we answer your frequently asked questions (FAQ). There you will find all currently valid regulations and guidelines. Further information for employees is linked in the information portal. Here you can now also find all minutes of the presidium meetings, which now take place daily. Further questions are answered by the newly established or extended hotlines, for example by the Personnel Department, the Vice-President or the Department of Studies and Teaching and the Student Advisory Service.
► Research against Corona
While many of us are already in the home office, there are some who absolutely must stay on site. First and foremost, the team around Professor Michael Hust from the Institute of Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics. They are researching antibody-based therapies against the corona virus. We are proud of this contribution of our university, wish the entire team and the international project partners strength, perseverance and success and try to support them as much as possible.
► Working Online
Like many other teams at our university, we now spend a lot of time in digital meetings. Crisis committee, presidium, deans’ meeting and next week the senate will no longer meet directly, but in video and telephone conferences. At first it is still a bit choppy, and when you are finally connected, the first ones are already off the line again. Well, the technical capacities are still very overloaded everywhere at the moment, because all institutions and companies suddenly switch to mobile working at the same time. Our GITZ is working under great pressure to improve access. The new forms of cooperation are quite demanding, but also intensive. We imagine the situation to be worse for those who now have no possibility of remaining digitally connected.
► Unanimously elected
The most important personnel of the week could almost have been overlooked given the Corona news: Our President, Professor Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, was unanimously elected Chairman of the Board of the German Aerospace Center on Wednesday. So she is leaving the university at the end of September. We congratulate her from the bottom of our hearts. We cannot really imagine the future without her after almost three highly intensive years. For her, too, the farewell is coming, she confessed to the Braunschweiger Zeitung earlier than expected.
Dr. Jessica Agarwal, will receive a Lichtenberg Professorship for “Astronomy and Exploration of Primitive Solar Bodies” at the Institute of Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics. The Volkswagen Foundation is co-financing it. Dr. Laura Steenpaß, takes over as head of the Department of Human and Animal Cell Cultures (MuTZ) at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ (German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures). The appointment was made by video conference. Also digitally, Dr. Julia Gerick, is today appointed professor for “School Pedagogy with a focus on school development research” at the Institute of Educational Science. The appointment will take effect on 01.04.2020.We congratulate and look forward to working with them.
► Solidarity appeal of the AStA
The AStA published an appeal to the solidarity of the students yesterday. Background were some parties, which were still taking place around the campus this week. “We know that most of the TU students behave in an absolutely exemplary manner, but unfortunately there are also some sad counter examples”, it says. We are now waiting for information about virus-safe meetings. Surely we are at least as creative as the Italians who sing songs together with their neighbours on the balconies.
► Video message
At the same time as the Federal Chancellor, our President and the full-time Vice-President Dietmar Smyrek recorded a video message. “We must all maintain physical distance from each other,” is their message. “We wish with you that the physical distance between us will also decrease.And we sincerely ask you that no emotional distance arises from spatial distance, and that we continue to feel as one society, as a community at the TU Braunschweig. Please also make sure that we continue to have a positive influence on society.
► Our darling of the week
… with this in mind: students use our sandbox platform to find fellow students who can shop for older and particularly vulnerable people. We find this exemplary, also in the sense that other projects can certainly be created on the sandbox, in which TU members, students and employees alike, make themselves useful and take care of those who will have a particularly difficult time in the near future. We want to report about it regularly here and in the magazine.
► Not least
… back to the beginning: How are you? Do you feel well informed by us? Is anything missing? What is going well and should be praised? Check your e-mails and our online ticker daily. Write to us and let us stay in touch! From now on, we want to pay special attention to those who need our special support, to international colleagues* who are worried about their families at home, to students with special needs, to colleagues who cannot work online or, on the contrary, are particularly busy. And stay, your families and friends, healthy and in good spirits!