RWTH Receives Award for Excellent Teaching


Stifterverband awards the Genius Loci Prize for the first time, honoring the University's comprehensive teaching strategy.


RWTH Aachen University is to receive the Genius Loci Prize for Excellence in teaching, a newly established award from Stifterverband, the Donors' Association for the Promotion of the Humanities and Sciences in Germany. RWTH was selected from a pool of three nominated universities. According to the jury, RWTH has a comprehensive institutional teaching strategy in place, which is being successfully implemented in the curricular design of courses of study and the qualification of teachers.

"This honor shows an appreciation of our work so far. The positive evaluation by an expert panel confirms that we are on the right path, and it is an incentive for us to continue our efforts to further enhance teaching and learning,” said Professor Aloys Krieg, RWTH Vice-Rector for Teaching and Learning.

“Over the last years, we have developed a quality management system and improved several processes, from enrollment to exam registration through to graduation. Now we want to further improve the dialogue between instructors and students. Another focus will be on internationalization and on teaching methodology. Here, a key theme will be digitalization, which is currently transforming all aspects of teaching and learning at university,” explained Krieg.

A Well-aligned Strategy

According to Stifterverband, RWTH convinced the expert panel with a well thought-out teaching strategy that is clearly aligned with the University’s overall strategy and profile. The goal of the University is to provide an education which is research-driven, competency-focused, and practice-oriented, and which produces graduates who are responsible and highly qualified to take on the challenges of their new careers.

Stifterverband considers the University’s goal to raise the graduation rate to 75 percent of all students to be highly ambitious but realistic, given the chosen strategy. “We want as many students as possible to achieve graduation, however without reducing our academic standards. This is a goal that the entire University has internalized. Following what we like to call the 'Aachen Way,' we involve all constituent groups of the University in this process,” explained Krieg.

The Genius Loci Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded in two categories. In the category “Universities of Applied Sciences,” TH Köln received the award. For several years, RWTH has been collaborating with TH Köln in the field of teaching and learning. Both universities receive 10,000 euros in prize money, which is to fund visiting scholars in the field of teaching and learning at both institutions.

Both RWTH and TH Köln already received awards in the 2009 “Excellent Teaching Competition,“ a joint initiative from Stifterverband and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs. According to Stifterverband, the then successful teaching and learning strategies, which form the foundation for today’s teaching concepts, have been consistently further developed. As Dr. Volker Meyer-Guckel, the Deputy Secretary-General of Stifterverband, concludes: "At both universities, you can actually feel and experience the efforts to achieve excellence in teaching and learning.”