Leuphana celebrates dies academicus

With the presentation of honorary doctorates to two internationally famous foreign scholars as well as numerous prizes to its own successful researchers and students, Leuphana University of Lüneburg rang out the academic year in a festive spirit.  Several hundred guests accepted the invitation to the dies academicus 2013.  At this traditional event, the university community gathers together to honor outstanding academic achievements, the acquisition of external grants, outstanding teaching, excellent knowledge transfer to society and student engagement in volunteer work.

In his celebratory speech, President Prof. (HSG) Dr. Sascha Spoun looked back at the university’s development over the course of the last academic year.  Starting with the statement made last spring by the jury awarding Leuphana the ZEIT-WISSEN prize, that Leuphana is “a pioneer in sustainable development within our society,” Sascha Spoun sketched three aspects of sustainability as “anticipating consideration”: anticipating consideration for the opportunities of those who will come after us, for one’s own personal development, and for the consequences of one’s own actions.  Leuphana’s public recognition as a pioneer in the development of sustainability culture is a very fine confirmation of the university’s long-standing development and a mandate to continue on this path further.

Honorary Doctorates Awarded

The conferral of the honorary doctorates in the Faculty of Humanities and Cultural Sciences, as well as in the Faculty Business and Economics stood at the center of the event.

The Faculty of Humanities and Cultural Sciences recognized Professor Dr. Richard Sennett for his path-breaking contributions to contemporary sociology and his continued efforts to strengthen interdisciplinary connections between the cultural sciences by granting him an honorary doctorate.  Since 1971, Professor Sennett has taught as a Professor of History and Sociology at New York University.  As of 1999, he has also served as Centennial Professor of Social and Cultural Theory at the London School of Economics.  He became known worldwide for his groundbreaking work The Fall of Public Man (1977), wherein he elucidated the decline of urban structures resulting from the privatization of public space.

The Faculty of Business and Economics awarded the honorary doctorate to the Swedish researcher Prof. Dr. Per Erik Davidsson.  Working as a business economist and psychologist, Professor Davidsson has served as Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Jönköping International Business School since 1996.  He is also Professor and Director of the Australia Centre for Entrepreneurship Research at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. Professor Davidsson’s special accomplishments include, among others, the investigation of new start-up firms.  He investigates the question of how “opportunities” for entrepreneurship can be used and how corporate potential can be actualized.

Engaged Teachers as a Factor in Success

The teaching prize for innovative instruction based on a compelling plan has been awarded from 2007 until 2012. This is however but one of the many forms that quality teaching takes.  In order to recognize other forms of engaged teaching, the 2013 teaching prize emphasizes a previously overlooked aspect of good teaching: advising and mentoring.  Every prize includes a 2,500 Euro grant aimed at supporting further efforts.

The prizewinners for the year 2012 (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Dr. Cristina Blohm
  • Dr. Klaus-Ulrich Guder
  • Dr. Sigrid Vierck

Making Research Visible—Research Prizes

With its research prizes, Leuphana honors academics who have distinguished themselves through their excellent research efforts.  The criteria for evaluating these efforts include publication results, the raising of external funds, and citations by other academics of the research results.  Outstanding academic research accomplishments were recognized this year in five categories:

  • Leuphana Research Prize:  Prof. Dr. Timon Beyes, Prof. Dr. Claus          Pias, PD Dr. Martin Warnke (Digital Cultures Team); Prof. Dr. Jörn     Fischer; Prof. Dr. Michael Frese
  • Leuphana Young Scholars Research: Dr. Stefanie Sievers-   Glotzbach; Dr. John P. Weche Gelübcke; Dr. Antje Schmitt
  • Monograph Prize: Prof. Dr. Michael Schefczyk
  • Leuphana Citation Prize: Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein
  • Leuphana Fund-Raising Prize: Prof. Dr. Kurz Czerwenka

Innovation, Initiatives and Cooperation—Knowledge Transfer 2013

With its knowledge transfer prize, Leuphana’s Professional School honors high quality and innovative knowledge transfer involving compelling sustainable concepts with a practical and cooperative orientation.  These include for example trans-disciplinary and application-oriented research, the exchange of ideas, research and development results, products, people, resources as well as assistance within the framework of knowledge transfer partnerships.

Winners for the 2013 Knowledge Transfer Prize:

  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Schaltegger, Dr. Holger Petersen
  • Dipl.-Phys. Meinfried Striegnitz, Dr. Gesa Lüdecke, Dipl.-Geogr. Anke Schmidt
  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Sieland, Dr. David Daniel Ebert, Dipl.-Soz.-päd. Torsten Tarnowski

Responsibility in Science—Prize for Students Volunteer Engagement

This year once more student accomplishments in two categories were recognized: projects that were developed either by individuals or as part of a group effort, including those based on a course and that link student volunteer work in civil society with academic learning.  The non-profit responsibilities in the city, the community, the region, in Germany or abroad, must be based on a concrete practical initiative or on an already completed practical project.

The prizewinners in the “Service Learning” category (There are two second place winners!):

1. Project “Leufram”

2. Project “Babadi”

2. “World Student Environmental Summit 2013“

 The prizewinners in the category for “volunteer work within and outside the university”

1.     Project “Zum Kollektiv e.V.“

2.     Project “Muddi Markt“

3.     Elisabeth Ortloff

DAAD-Prize for foreign students

Every year, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awards a prize for outstanding accomplishment by foreign students attending German universities.  This prize is given to excellent academic students who distinguished themselves through noteworthy social and cultural engagement.  The prize awards 1000 Euros.

This year’s prizewinner at Leuphana University is Diego Sebastián Gatica-Correa. He dedicated himself to his studies with a high degree of motivation and a commitment to hard work.  He participated in many academic excursions and has worked as a student assistant at the Institute for Environmental Communication since 2011 where he supported other students in his function as tutor.  For the duration of one semester he also assisted other international students within the International Office’s mentoring program.  Additionally he distinguished himself through his active social and political engagement in various areas.  He served for instance as a member of the student parliament, has been a student representative in the commission on student fees since 2012, and is an active participant in the student initiative for preserving cultural space—umbauWAGEN and Plan B.  

After completing his studies, Diego Gatica-Correa plans to continue his education in experiential pedagogy in Lübeck and then would like to return to his home country.