Effective strategies for conflict resolution in the team

In an article for the journal “Wissenschaftsmanagement”, Jens Engelke, Principal Consultant at CHE Consult, presents two instruments from conflict management as components of an application-oriented guide for managers: Proactive work climate feedback and conflict resolution talks between two employees.

Universities and scientific institutions are very heterogeneous organisations. Whenever people with different personalities, ways of working and sometimes also different goals work together, conflicts will almost inevitably arise. Leaders should be aware of this, according to the author. Although there can be many different causes for conflicts, three main causes can be identified: insufficient communication, diverging interests and insufficient convergence on an interpersonal level.

A manager is not only responsible for achieving team, departmental or project goals, but also for promoting a positive working environment and good cooperation between employees. They should be aware of conflicts in their own area of responsibility, intervene at an early stage and apply appropriate conflict resolution strategies.


Competence Orientation in the Engineering Sciences

In an article for the journal “Wissenschaftsmanagement”, Prof. Dr. Birgit Baum, Associate Consultant at CHE Consult, presents a way to efficiently and effectively anchor competence orientation in engineering sciences.

In her article, Birgit Baum describes the historical development of competence orientation in German higher education teaching based on some milestones and the changed requirements for higher education teaching in the course of the Bologna Process. She then looks at the current situation in engineering and presents common support services for competence-oriented teaching at German universities.

Finally, she explains a five-pronged approach for the engineering sciences that achieves acceptance and can thus bring about a sustainable anchoring of competence orientation

Register now! Online dialogue No. 6 II

CHE Consult organises its 6th online dialogue for the second time! The topic: “The challenge of declining student numbers – just a question of marketing?

Because the interest was so great and due to a technical limitation not all interested parties could be present at the first 6th Online Dialogue, CHE Consult is holding it a second time.

Use our exchange forum to discuss the challenge of declining student numbers with colleagues from other universities. You are invited to our online dialogue “Changes in the Higher Education Landscape” via Zoom on 31 July 2023, 3 to 4.30 pm. The language will be German.

At the beginning, our Senior Consultant Dr. Lukasz Hill will present current figures and theses on the topic to you. Afterwards, we will look at good practice examples of how the topic can be tackled. Afterwards, we look forward to a lively discussion and exchange with you. Further information and registration

Register now! Online dialogue No. 6

CHE Consult organises its 6th online dialogue! The topic: “The challenge of declining student numbers – just a question of marketing?

Use our exchange forum to discuss the challenge of declining student numbers with colleagues from other universities. You are invited to our online dialogue “Changes in the Higher Education Landscape” via Zoom on 17 July 2023, 2 to 3 pm. The language will be German.

At the beginning, our Senior Consultant Dr. Lukasz Hill will present current figures and theses on the topic to you. Afterwards, we will look at good practice examples of how the topic can be tackled. Afterwards, we look forward to a lively discussion and exchange with you. Further information and registration

University care training

Dr. Lukasz Hill and Laura Wallor, both Senior Consultants at CHE Consult, together with Bettina Dauer, Research Associate at the Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung in Bonn, describe success factors with regard to learning venue cooperation and organisation in higher education care training in the journal “Wissenschaftsmanagement”.

In the article, the authors outline challenges in the cooperation between universities and practical institutions and formulate recommendations for action that can facilitate this. This was preceded by a study commissioned by the Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung. It shows that a large number of cooperation partners can make coordination processes and communication more difficult. For this reason, the higher education institutions surveyed in the study defined different forms of exchange between the higher education institution and the practical institution.

In their article, the authors state that the higher education institutions and their practice partners face numerous structural and financial challenges. The cooperation between learning venues within the framework of university nursing education currently requires a high degree of flexibility and commitment from all participants. Essential factors for linking the two places of learning, theory and practice, are a cooperative, organisational coordination and coordination of the content of the studies. A common understanding of the goals of the cooperation, tasks and roles of the partners involved is essential for learning location cooperation. This should be anchored in writing in a cooperation agreement. Another success factor is the involvement of the practical institutions in the planning of study programmes, especially since, according to the study, the institutions showed a lot of interest in a deeper cooperation. Above all, the university’s module handbook should be communicated transparently to the practical institutions.

Register now: CHE Online Forum

On 19 and 20 October 2022, the CHE Online Forum “Strategische Nachhaltigkeit – wie und wozu messen?” (German) will take place. The online forum will be held with the support of CHE Consult, XOLAS and PRME.

Sustainability has become a central challenge for higher education institutions on various levels. A prerequisite for managing sustainability processes based on empirical evidence is the measurement of sustainability. The CHE Online Forum addresses questions of necessity, operationalisation and application as well as opportunities and risks of measuring sustainability strategies.

Global challenges such as advancing climate change, resource scarcity, threatening biodiversity loss as well as inter- and intra-state conflicts and social inequalities threaten present and future life. A comprehensive transformation is needed to put society as a whole on the path to sustainable development. But what role does the institution of higher education play in this context?

If universities want to make a positive contribution to a sustainable societal transformation process, this must relate to several levels: On the one hand, this positive contribution refers to primary performance dimensions of higher education institutions (teaching and studies, pedagogy, research, avoidance of unethical cooperation) and to management and organisation of higher education institutions (e.g. energy and resource management). On the other hand, non-university activities are expected, such as intensified cooperation with primarily local actors from society and business, especially in the form of sustainability-related projects. In addition, students demand a “more open ear” from the respective university management for student concerns as well as active support of student initiatives by the university.

The forum will address these topics in keynote speeches and interactive workshop sessions, from the management of sustainability in universities, the consideration of sustainability aspects in studies and teaching, including sustainable management teaching, as well as in research and transfer. Special attention will be paid to the measurability and measurement of the different aspects of sustainability. Keynote speakers are:

  • Prof. em. Dr. Thomas Dyllick, Director at the Institute for Business Sustainability CH-IB, Prof. em. for sustainable management and former Vice President University of St. Gallen,
  • Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Fröhlich, President (acting) of the CBS Cologne Business School, and
  • Regina Obexer, Senior Lecturer & UN PRME Coordinator at MCI | The Entrepreneurial School

Effects of a team coaching

In an article for the journal “Wissenschaftsmanagement”, Jens Engelke, Principal Consultant at CHE Consult, presents an example of how team coaching is carried out, including all the essential steps.

The article is based on a team coaching that was carried out at a university. At the same time, the article generalises corresponding procedures in order to give the reader suggestions for team coaching.

The initial situation for the team coaching was characterised by a certain dissatisfaction of the employees in an organisational unit of the university administration. The team consisted of seven people and a manager. Some of the people had been working in the same position for many years, others were new to the team. The team’s areas of responsibility were partly changed, processes were digitalised and thus also modified. All in all, there were numerous major and minor changes for the team.

Jens Engelke describes three phases of team coaching:

Phase 1: Preparing the team for coaching and establishing a trusting working relationship.

Phase 2: Conducting a workshop to identify and discuss the team’s strengths and weaknesses, agreeing on solutions.

Phase 3: Introduce a feedback culture in which positive aspects are mentioned and negative aspects are communicated constructively.

According to the authors, teams or working groups should use team coaching when there is potential for improving cooperation and not only when there is conflict.

Successful team coaching requires an internal or external expert to ensure that critical situations are always discussed constructively at crucial moments, thus maintaining the positive dynamics of a team coaching workshop.

Digital transformation at the University of Hohenheim

CHE Consult has supported the University of Hohenheim in launching a comprehensive change process for digital transformation and helped shape a trend-setting strategy paper.

The University of Hohenheim wants to shape research, studies and teaching, but also the university administration, more innovative, more efficient and more future-proof. A strategy for digital transformation, coordinated with the university’s structural and development plan 2023 to 2027, is intended to contribute to this. In order to achieve university-wide acceptance for the complex project, the digital transformation will be actively developed and implemented as a participatory and future-oriented change process. The basis for this process and decisions to be made in the course of the process is a strategy paper that has already been developed with the participation of university members. It has an initial term of five years and will be continuously updated.

In order to create content for the strategy paper, thematic online workshops, discussions and meetings took place. Most of the ideas and text modules were developed in a “think tank” composed of people from different faculties and status groups, which met regularly over a period of ten months and contributed a wide range of perspectives to the process. Project Manager Julia Klingemann, Principal Consultant at CHE Consult, moderated, analysed and comprehensively documented these meetings and prepared them for the strategy paper. This was discussed and adopted by the Rectorate of the University of Hohenheim, the University Senate and the University Council, three faculty councils and other important committees.

Prof. Dr. Caroline Ruiner, Vice-Rector for Digital Transformation at the University of Hohenheim, is very content:

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to Ms Klingemann from CHE Consult for the professional, customised and trusting support at the beginning of this important change process. Thanks to the participatory approach, we were able to very quickly adopt the strategy paper with the most important plans and a governance structure for the digital transformation, which is supported by all stakeholders. Thus, we now have an excellent basis for the implementation.”


New location for Kiel University of Applied Sciences

CHE Consult has recommended that the Kiel University of Applied Sciences locate its new nursing degree programme, which is to be established together with the new health faculty, in Neumünster.

A few months ago, the Kiel University of Applied Sciences (UAS) commissioned CHE Consult with an expert report to determine a suitable location for the new nursing degree programme to be established. CHE Consult completed its analysis and came out in favour of Neumünster in the end. Bernd Klöver, Managing Director of CHE Consult, presented the report to the media on 1 July in Berlin together with the University President’s Office of Kiel UAS.

“We are pleased that with the completion of the report a location has been found that optimally meets our requirements,” says Prof. Dr. Björn Christensen, President of Kiel UAS. “With the Friedrich Ebert Hospital as a cooperation partner, the quality of teaching for the important dual degree programme is guaranteed.”

The basis for this decision is an analysis based on a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of various data such as demographic and economic figures, available living space and healthcare providers. Tobias Bergmann, Mayor of the new UAS location, is enthusiastic about the decision: “This is a great day for Neumünster. Neumünster is now a university city. We are pleased that we have convinced CHE Consult with our offer, our networking with the Friedrich Ebert Hospital and through our city itself, and we look forward to joint development with Kiel UAS in Neumünster.”

Implementation controlling for the THGA

From 2016 to 2022, CHE Consult carried out structured implementation controlling for the university strategy project “THGA 2022” at the Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola zu Bochum.

The university strategy “THGA 2022” sets out how the University of Applied Sciences in Bochum should develop by 2022. For this purpose, numerous strategic measures were described in all university service areas. The THGA wanted to be informed – particularly from an external perspective – about the implementation status of these measures once a year on a sound and documented basis. They commissioned Jens Engelke, Principal Consultant at CHE Consult, with the corresponding controlling.

Jens Engelke and his team evaluated the status on the basis of reports from those responsible for implementing the respective measures and conducted structured interviews. In a report on the results, they informed the university about the implementation status of each measure. In addition, further recommendations for the implementation of the strategic measures were made in the sense of university development. In detail, the annual report contained the following:

  • a summary of the identified implementation status and perspectives for the various strategic themes
  • an overview of the implementation status of both ongoing and not yet started projects
  • an assessment of the implementation status by the interlocutors
  • key trends and challenges as well as opportunities and risks arising from the individual themes for the THGA
  • measures taken by the THGA to deal with the perspectives, including ways to reduce obstacles, if necessary
  • other information on how to ensure the sustainable success of the project

“The objective analysis from outside is very valuable in order to realistically assess our project status and to be able to initiate the next steps or new measures,” says Prof. Dr. Heike Kehlbeck, Vice President University Development. “Jens Engelke has already supported us very successfully in the past with various projects. The university members’ cooperation with him is always extremely trusting and always oriented towards the positive development of the university.”