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Strategic Identity

Innovation Workshop

Innovation Workshop “Strategic Identity of the University of Freiburg”

What makes up the core of the university? – What values should it uphold? – How can this be put into practice?

These questions concerning the self-understanding and the profile of the University of Freiburg were the topic of the Innovation Workshop in April 2008. Hundreds of participants from various areas of the university discussed the present and future of the university in eight work groups (photos of the event).

Methodological Approach

The work of the groups revolved around three central questions (details on the procedure):

  1. Phase 1: What makes up the university?
  2. Phase 2: What values and characteristics do I associate with the idea of a university?
  3. Phase 3: What will I do to put these values into practice at the University of Freiburg?

Work Groups and Results

The participants documented each work phase: in phase 1 by completing the sentence “For me, a university is...,” in phase 2 by generating a “value cloud” (tag cloud), in phase 3 by creating posters.

  1. Students (group leader: Clemens Weingart)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]
  2. Faculty Assistants (group leader: Dr. Michael Scheuermann)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]
  3. Mid-Level Faculty (group leader: Franziska Birke)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]
  4. Newly Appointed Professors (group leader: Prof. Dr. Ralf von den Hoff)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]
  5. Deans (group leader: Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Bengel)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]
  6. Gender Mainstreaming Work Group (group leader: Eva Voß, Bettina Volm)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]
  7. Central Administration (group leader: Dr. Bruno Ehmann)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]
  8. Central Service Departments (group leader: Michael Borchardt)
    "For me, a university is...,", value cloud, realization [de]


A comparison of the results from the three work phases provides initial indications of similarities and differences between the ideas of different groups on what makes up a university. The complete cloud [de] shows what values were named most often in phase 2. Also revealing is a comparison of the twenty adjectives the groups named most often. The collection of the best suggestions for putting these values into practice provides an overview of the suggestions each of the groups found best.

An examination of all of the results reveals the diversity of the values and ideas the participants associate with the university. In addition, the results indicate the points on which all of the groups are in agreement. Overall, what the participants found most important was transparent communication processes within the organization and the idea of the university as a free, creative, and innovative institution.