Leuphana’s Teacher Education Successful in Telekom Foundation’s University Competition

Berlin/Lüneburg. As one of nine German universities selected, Leuphana University Lüneburg will from now on receive financial support from the German Telekom Foundation. The Foundation made this announcement at its annual convention in Berlin. Improving teacher education in the so-called MINT-subjects-mathematics, computer sciences, natural sciences and engineering-is the goal of Telekom’s support. To this end, the Foundation has allocated four million Euros over the next three years. A total of 63 universities had submitted proposals to the competition.   

Professor of Education, Dr. Timo Ehmke was responsible for the proposal that the Center for the Future of Teacher Education submitted to the Telekom Foundation’s university competition. He was pleased with the positive result: “That we will work together with the TU Munich, the TU Berlin and the University of Tübingen in the future is a major accomplishment for teacher education at Leuphana.” That Leuphana can further develop its proposals in conjunction with Excellence Universities amounts to a recognition of the work that Leuphana has done so far. Leuphana established the Center for the Future of Teacher Education last year. The Center bundles already existing initiatives together and will develop new proposals for the forward-looking education of new teachers.   

Leuphana’s successful application focuses on developing new strategies for recruiting and educating student teachers. These concerns have a special significance at Leuphana. In light of the almost 4,000 applications for the approximately 380 openings in the teacher education Bachelor program, the university has developed a special selection process. Along with classical criteria, such as graduation transcripts, waiting periods, or scholastic aptitude tests, the teacher education admissions process will also consider the results of admissions interviews. In conjunction with the other universities, this procedure will be developed further for mathematics and the natural sciences.

Other areas for cooperation within the university network receiving Telekom support are a review of the effectiveness of existing support mechanisms for students, and the development of new funding options. The goals are to support learning strategies in specific subject areas, and to develop special programs to encourage students in MINT subject areas who also have a migrant background.

The Telekom Foundation was particularly impressed with the wide resonance of its call for applications:  “The high number of applicants shows that teacher education is changing across the nation. Many universities are prepared to develop and test new approaches in this field.” The jury of experts had a particularly difficult time selecting from the applications made in the field of MINT teacher education. “In the end, the commission decided in favor of the most coherent and innovative proposals.”

Starting in 2014, the universities chosen by the Telekom Foundation will join three nation-wide networks in order to address questions central to MINT teacher education.
The particular network, that Leuphana will join, will be coordinated by the TU Munich and focuses specifically on recruitment and assessment procedures for future student teachers. The universities want to find ways to convince and motivate good students to become MINT teachers and then to find the best means to keep encouraging as they complete their education.