The Future of Faculties at Universities

Start of the project: 01-Jan-2018 - End of the project: 31-Dec-2018

Faculties are a well established internal organizational structure of German universities. They are of central importance with regard to legal (legal capacity), financial (budgetary unit), decision-making (faculty board, deanery) and academic (awarding academic degrees) aspects. Relating to the disciplinary structure of science, faculties comprise several subjects that are as similar as possible (relative homogeneity). And finally, faculties are major centres of internal informal power.

Yet the past 15 years have seen an increasing formation of new and sometimes transversal structures and organizational units, especially in the field of research, but also in the fields of teaching and promotion of young researchers. The spectrum ranges from colleges (Leuphana) and interfaculty graduate schools to excellence clusters and centres for advanced study in the field of research. Against this background, the study examines relationships between faculties and selected types of these new organizational units. For this, it applies approaches of both organisation sociology and conflict theories. One main focus is on conflicts arising from the redistribution of tasks, responsibilities, decision making rights, and resources between faculties and their new counterparts and from the modification of organizational identities and cultures. A second part of the analysis focuses on emergent processes and structures which are intended to solve these conflicts (for example, permanent representation of clusters in faculty committees) and thus shape organizational forms of future faculties.

As a first step, a series of interviews will be conducted and relevant documents will be evaluated. Main purposes are to prepare and submit a third-party funding application for more in depth research, to publish several journal contributions, and to organise a conference to be held in 2019.

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Daniel Matthes
Daniel Matthes +49 511 450670-532
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