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Ruhr University

BOCHUM, GERMANY

This institution, situated in the heart of the Ruhr area, was the first public university established in Germany after World War Two

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The university

  • Established in 1965 as first institution of higher learning and research in the Ruhr Area (the most densely populated area in Germany then and now) as part of various measures to address the challenges of structural change
  • Traditionally strong focus on and success in educating non-traditional students (52 % of RUB students come from non-academic backgrounds)
  • Today RUB draws research and technological production companies to the area, and it works closely together with the city of Bochum in developing a technology campus and other facilities
  • 14% of BA, 20 % of MA and 16% of doctoral students at RUB are international
  • The university has been supporting refugee students and researchers, it is a founding member of the German branch of Scholars at Risk: In the current refugee crisis, RUB has taught ca. 1.000 refugees in preparatory courses, has by now ca. 800 refugee students, runs a program to train refugee teachers, and shelters scholars at risk

The city

  • Only in the middle of the 19th century, the by then quaint city of Bochum, like the whole Ruhr Area, turned into a centre of coal mining and steal production.
  • Severely destroyed at the end of World War Two, mining and steal were instantly revived afterwards. Yet, with their decline in the 1960s, the city underwent two major structural changes with all the accompanying side effects of unemployment, financial decline and anxiety.
  • First Bochum moved to large-scale car and, for a briefer period, cell phone production. Since both production lines weakened and, finally, closed down (2014 and 2008, respectively), the university has now become the most important employer and economic factor in Bochum.
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Ruhr University and UNIC

The cooperation within UNIC will strengthen Ruhr Universität Bochum (RUB) in her ongoing strategical activities and adds the following values:

  • Unlocking a European learning experience for RUB, and in particular for its non-traditional students. Since its foundation, RUB has a high percentage of non-traditional students and has always seen it as one of its core tasks to make them succeed. In comparison with other German universities the academic success of our non-traditional students is higher but their interest in gaining international experience is low. Working together with other universities that have a similar background, make-up and mission will enable RUB to devise common models and structures to increase mobility, and in particular the mobility of its non-traditional students.
  • Creating a European University with impact. For years, RUB has been working on creating stronger links with its city and its region. In fact, region-specific research (e.g. on mountain geology, law, engineering, mining and miners’ history, literature and film) and teaching the region’s industrial workers’ sons and daughters, was part of the founding mission of RUB. Economic and social changes in post-industrial times have massively changed the framework and the requirements of this mission. We have certainly adapted and made advances, but there are still great potentials. With UNIC we aim to unlock this potential. In particular, in the field of service learning, German universities have a lot to learn from other European university systems. UNIC provides a clear opportunity to do this, to share experiences and to support each other in making advances at generating positive societal impact.

  • Creating the inclusive universities of the future. Given its mission and its history, RUB is highly interested in understanding the potentials of its superdiverse student, academic and administrative staff and research population better than it has done up to now. We want to use these insights more consciously to turn them into assets of successful education and social impact. Therefore, we are highly interested in partner universities that share our characteristics, values, concerns and interest to develop models of practice to address and work with superdiversity in the university and outside of it.

Creating a strong bond with likeminded European research universities. The collaboration with the universities of the UNIC consortium promises to add a new and strategically valuable European level to RUB and the partner universities. It allows the establishment of sustainable collaborative ties in education, research and transfer with selected and reliable partner universities that face many similar challenges and opportunities. The ensuing transnational European exchange and support will be of highest importance for RUB and its students.

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Aims and Activities

RUB aims at excellence in research, teaching and transfer by creating knowledge networks on a local, regional, and international level. Complementing RUB’s worldwide scientific network with a focus on teaching, RUB is an active member of the Utrecht Network, comprising 30 leading European universities, the blended learning program “Study Bridge” that bridges the Ruhr Ara with East and Central Asia and the Goethe-Institute supported “Network University”.  RUB is active in the Learning & Teaching Steering Committee of the European University Association. Furthermore, RUB champions sustainable development and social equality also on an international level. It belongs to the founding members of the German chapter of the Scholars-at Risk Network. Examples of its long-term global engagement activities are the capacity building and reconstruction programmes at universities in Afghanistan; the management of the DAAD South African German Centre for Development Research in South Africa and the creation and operation of the DYNET Engineering Network together with partner universities in Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo (including the South East European Graduate School) as well as the provision of Bachelor and Master programmes in Computational and Mechanical Engineering at the Vietnamese-German University. In particular, the following activities of RUB are relevant for the future activities of the UNIC Alliance:

  • The extensive networks, knowledge and expertise of Bochum with regard to different types of mobility (physical, virtual and blended mobility) will be used and in WP3. RUB will collect, analyse and share the best practices already present at the other university partners to appoint and use best practices for the UNIC Alliance.
  • Focus on societal impact. RUB was the first university established in the industrial Ruhr-Area in 1965 with the purpose to give cultural, social and scientific impulses for the region and, especially, to educate non-traditional students. As an institution, RUB is actively and sustainably committed to the integration of refugees. As one of the first universities in Germany, RUB established special programs that prepare students with refugee background for studying at a university. RUB will keep a constant focus on the impact opportunities of the UNIC Alliance (for the first three years and thereafter).
  • Partnership with the City. RUB has developed a very close partnership with the City of Bochum and the other universities in the City of Bochum. This has already led to the establishment of various projects which will be integrated and extended in WP2 UNIC CityLabs.
  • Worldfactory is one of the central transfer and founding projects of Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Both academics and students receive competent advice, rooms and infrastructure for practical testing and networking opportunities. Worldfactory offers a strong combination between new promising ideas, support and (seed) capital. Worldfactory will be used as a good practice to further develop and sustain the outcomes and results of the UNIC Alliance.
  • Educational innovation: RUB was one of the first universities in Germany implanting bachelor & master degrees. Its learning and teaching mission and the institutional strategy to promote research-oriented teaching aims to empower students for their future professional life and civic engagement. RUB is well known for its student-centred approach to the development of teaching strategies and formats and is one of a few German universities with a strategy, a concept, a support structure and central funding that enables students to initiate the development of their own courses up to the point where they can be credited within the standard curriculum. This knowledge and expertise will be used to further develop and sustain the UNIC outcomes and results.