Dear students of Leuphana,

On behalf of the entire Presidential Board, we would like to thank you for your great commitment to actively participate in shaping your courses and student life at Leuphana in this special summer semester even under special conditions. At the same time, we would like to inform you – also on behalf of the Deans and Deans of Studies – about the current status of the planning for courses and examinations in the current summer semester and for the upcoming winter semester.

1) WHERE ARE WE?

You are in an unusual, challenging semester, regardless of which study section you are currently in. We are all currently learning that there are many ways to deal with unexpected challenges. As a university, we at Leuphana decided to take a consistent approach early on in the pandemic. We wanted and still want to take on the challenges courageously and find pragmatic solutions. That is why we as a university committed ourselves early on to the digital semester. We have also done this so consistently because we have set ourselves the goal of making regular teaching and studying possible as far as possible. Regular means that, despite the current restrictions, you should be able to experience a course of study rich in content and, if possible, to structure your studies in the way you had planned for this semester. Together with the Dean's Offices and all lecturers, we want to continue to do everything in our power to ensure that this semester does not become a semester that you feel you have lost.

After more than half of this digital semester you will already have had many new experiences. Some things will have worked surprisingly well, others still require getting used to and further improvement. But in any case, this semester is an intellectual adventure for all of us, for you as students, but also for the lecturers and those university members in the administration who are responsible for the smooth running of the university. Hopefully, you are currently experiencing more than ever that your studies live from discourse, from asking questions, trying things out, criticising and supporting each other. Dialogue instead of monologue is currently more in demand than ever, because “one-way street teaching” works even worse digitally than in the lecture hall. More than ever before, the success of a course also depends on you, on your enthusiasm, participation and endurance. Many things are easier with presence, which now means more effort.

2) WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?

As you know, we are currently observing a decreasing number of cases of coronavirus disease. Against this background, the state government of Lower Saxony has adapted its regulation to combat the corona pandemic several times. In the meantime, examinations and courses at universities are in principle also possible in attendance again. At the same time, however, severe restrictions and strict hygiene and distance regulations continue to apply to prevent the spread of the corona virus. For the time being, we must therefore assume that the university's operations will continue to change significantly for the foreseeable future and that all activities in attendance will be significantly reduced in the winter semester as well. In recent weeks, the Presidential Board, the Deans and Deans of Studies, the heads of schools and departments together with the staff council and student representatives and – regarding necessary changes in the academic regulations – last but not least the Senate have intensively discussed the consequences of these changes.

Our goal at Leuphana will always be to continue to live and strengthen the idea of an on campus university with physical presence, and where it is justifiable to do so, to make it possible in the coming months in appropriate formats as part of a changed reality. With its specific university and study model, Leuphana focuses on intellectual rigor that is only made possible through personal dialogue, personal experience and personal encounter. The idea of a presence university therefore has special potential especially at Leuphana – through in-depth personal involvement, e.g. in research projects, seminars or small groups, through special formats such as Leuphana Semester, complementary studies, opening week, conference week and academic events, or through a variety of initiatives and projects by students. We therefore want to continue to act professionally in the coming months and, despite the current restrictions, continue to develop ways and formats for new, possibly hybrid, forms of studying.

3) COURSES AND EXAMINATIONS IN THE SUMMER SEMESTER 2020

Courses in the summer semester 2020 can and should basically continue to be held in the special course forms according to § 6 Examination Regulations (RPO) in the form of moderated self-study, integration of multimedia and by means of digital tools provided by Leuphana (e.g. telephone/video conferences, online platforms, etc.). If such an alternative implementation is not possible for individual courses (e.g. in the case of laboratory events, sports events, excursions, projects, etc.), the Deans of Studies shall take appropriate measures in coordination with the persons responsible for the module. Your lecturers will inform you of these measures. Therefore, if you have any questions regarding the implementation or completion of your courses in the summer semester 2020, please contact your lecturers first.

With regard to examinations, the Senate has in the meantime decided to extend the adapted regulations on the performance of audits. Please register for your examinations in the summer semester 2020 by Friday, 19 June 2020 at the latest. The registration period will be extended in deviation from the regulations decided by the Senate. Detailed information including links to the adapted examination regulations can be found at www.leuphana.de/portale/coronavirus/ortsunabhaengig-studieren under the keyword examinations. In concrete terms, this decision of the senate means for you as a student:

A) WRITTEN EXAMINATIONS FOR SUMMERSEMESTER 2020 can continue to be held both in alternative online formats and – within the limits of available space – in presence. Your lecturers will choose between the following options:
a) Written exam with immediate online processing time according to the time given in the subject-specific appendices via online platforms,
b) Written exam with extended processing time (6-24 hours) via e-mail or mystudy,
c) Written exam with immediate processing time via e-mail or myStudy,
d) Written exam in presence.

We have asked all lecturers to discuss the most suitable form of an alternative examination format with all students of their courses if possible.

B) WRITTEN EXAMINATIONS FOR THE WINTERSEMESTER 2019/2020, which could not be offered in March 2020, will generally be held in attendance at the beginning of September. To reduce the examination load, examiners can offer an additional examination in alternative online formats. All students who had registered for the examinations of the second examination phase of the winter semester 2019/2020 (16-28 March 2020) are still considered registered unless they withdraw from the examination according to the applicable regulations.

C) ORAL EXAMINATIONS
Oral examinations are held in front of two examiners or in front of one examiner and one expert observer as an individual examination or as a group examination for up to four students at the same time, generally as a video conference examination using an online tool. Lecturers can also decide independently whether, in exceptional cases, an examination with physical presence needs to be performed.

D) WRITTEN SCIENTIFIC WORK
Written scientific papers must now be submitted in printed form again, as the state regulation on combating the corona pandemic no longer prevents compliance with the formal requirements for submission of written papers.

E) FURTHER GUIDANCE ON THE CONDUCT OF TESTS
For the implementation of alternative examination formats, the Senate has decided that examiners must give you as a student the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the alternative examination procedure, e.g. by testing the online platform or software provided or by conducting a mock exam.

We will inform you in detail about further organizational questions in connection with the performance of the face-to-face exams in due course. Until then, please contact the colleagues in Student Services responsible for your degree program with any questions you may have regarding the planning and organization of your examinations.

4) COURSES IN THE WINTER SEMESTER 2020/2021

The winter semester 2020/2021 will begin at Leuphana with the opening week for all first semester students from October 1-9, 2020 or with courses for all students from October 12, 2020.

In close cooperation with both the state government and the other universities in Lower Saxony, we are currently expecting that most of the courses for the winter semester will also be largely digital. From today's point of view, normal study and teaching operations on campus will not be feasible, if only for logistical reasons, given the distance and hygiene regulations in force. The regulations mean that our lecture halls and seminar rooms can only be occupied by 10% to 30% of the usual number of people and that extensive precautions will have to be taken for access to the buildings and attendance times. As things stand at present, we have therefore asked all lecturers to plan courses that will be held digitally for the coming winter semester as well.

However, after consultation with the deans and deans of studies and in accordance with the current Lower Saxon regulation to combat the corona pandemic, selected courses at Leuphana should be able to be held in physical presence again in the future. This concerns primarily courses that for successful completion require the physical presence of students, such as laboratory exercises in biology/ecology, chemistry or engineering sciences or courses in sports. In second priority we want to develop concepts for selected courses for first semester students both on bachelor and master levels, if necessary also in hybrid formats. Only in third priority will it be possible for a proportion of all other courses to be held in presence.

In order to plan and discuss all the possibilities, creative formats, cooperations, infrastructures, etc. necessary for holding these courses in attendance, a working group consisting of deans of studies, colleagues from the faculties and schools and student representatives will meet these days to work out concepts and criteria. We will keep you informed about the results as soon as possible.

In conclusion, we would like to say that during this time university will always endeavour to accommodate you within the framework of the legal requirements of the State of Lower Saxony and the academic regulations. If you have any problems, please contact your Dean of Studies or the professorships responsible for your study program. The colleagues in the Student Services Department responsible for your degree program are also happy to help you with any questions you may have in connection with examinations or your studies. Last but not least, our ombudsperson for students and lecturers, Thies Reinck, will be happy to help you with any questions or conflicts.

For the coming weeks and months, we would like to ask you, also on behalf of all deans and deans of studies, to continue to contribute to your studies and to the development of the university with as much commitment, inspiration and dedication as you have done in the past weeks and months. Especially now, your commitment, your ideas, discussions, dialogues and projects are important for our common future and will shape us as a society and as a community. This openness and commitment will be more necessary than ever before in order to make our contribution to mastering the difficult times ahead.

Last but not least, we are sure we can tell you also on behalf of many other university members that we miss you on campus. Your vitality, with which you normally enliven the campus, your creativity, the results of which can be discovered in many places during the semester – all this is currently missing. We therefore hope all the more that you will find space and support at Leuphana in these times as well for an experiential semester – a semester in which there is a digital coexistence that enriches and perhaps even inspires you. With this in mind: All the best for your summer semester 2020!

With kind regards

Sascha Spoun
President

Christian Brei
Executive Vice President

Carola Schormann
Vice President College

Markus Reihlen
Vice President Graduate School

Jörg Terhechte
Vice President Professional School