By Professor Oliver Günther, President of University of Potsdam
Looking back on 2023, we are happy with what we have achieved and our many successes in teaching, research, and transfer. We are also thinking about the global crises, which also kept us in a state of unease and have repeatedly led to controversy in our lecture halls and seminars. But where, if not on campus, would be the right place for such debate? One crisis seems to follow the next and also affects universities, their students and faculty. But when you spend time on campus and talk to people, you quickly realise: Despite everything, we have a positive outlook about the future!
It is very good news that more than 40% of professorships at the University of Potsdam are now held by women – a national record, as we recently found out. In the case of professorships for early career academics, in particular, the proportion of women across the university is actually around 50%. This is also the result of the outstanding work of our Equal Opportunity Coordination Office. Furthermore, the UP received the Total E-Quality award for the eighth consecutive time in 2023, underscoring its sustainable and successful commitment in the area of equal opportunity and diversity.
Academic teaching is currently undergoing major changes worldwide. In addition to the increased use of digital tools and learning paradigms, advances in the field of artificial intelligence are opening up new horizons. Tools such as ChatGPT should not be seen as a threat, but rather as an opportunity for better research and teaching, although issues of data protection and sensible incorporation from an educational point of view must of course be taken into account. But we see it as a central task to provide our students with future-oriented skills so as to equip them with a secure basis for their future careers with regard to the dynamics of the digital space. The University of Potsdam continues to address these issues with great commitment and keeps its finger on the pulse of the times.
We are also currently engaged in intensive preparations for the next round of the Excellence Strategy. We entered the race with three cluster proposals on the topics of ecology, cognition, and climate and water. We would be delighted if we could cooperate with some of our YERUN partners in the case of a successful application.
I am therefore very optimistic about the future and looking forward to our continued, successful cooperation.
With this in mind, it is my pleasure to wish all YERUN members – our students, researchers, and staff – a happy and tranquil time with your loved ones, happy holidays, and a healthy and prosperous year in 2024.