Right from the start, one tradition at Bielefeld University has been that the Rektorat negotiates cooperations for the Rektor to sign only when the faculties request them expressly and faculty members are actively committed to their organization and implementation. The result has been that the majority of cooperations - including older ones - are active. Up to now, the Rektorat has approved 75 cooperation agreements. Twelve of these are full partnerships that are open to all interested faculties and institutions. Four very different partner institutions stand out here:
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris:
Université de Madagascar, Antananarivo: This partnership was originally negotiated in1983 for German Studies, Romance Studies, and Linguistics. In the following years, however, it was extended to include Mathematics, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. A further specialization in recent years has been the postgraduate training of young mathematicians.
ERASMUS Partnerships: Bielefeld University has been participating in the ERASMUS Programme since 1987/88. To promote the successful completion of studies, the University is working hard to introduce the ECTS allowing the transfer of course credits gained at partner institutions in all partnerships. Since the introduction of the SOCRATES Programme in 1995, short-term professorships and participation in curriculum development projects have become particularly important in addition to the student exchanges.
TEMPUS-Consortia: The University has also been an active participant in various TEMPUS-PHARE- and TEMPUS-TACIS projects since the introduction of the programme in 1990. In particular, the Faculty of Sociology and the Department of History are engaged in intensive cooperations with higher education institutions in various TACIS countries. Four-year projects with Russian partners at St. Petersburg State University (Sociology) and Yaroslavl State University (History) as well as the Mongolian University in Ulan Bator (History) have already been completed successfully. At present, TEMPUS grants are funding cooperations in History with the Tashkent State University and Yaroslavl State University. These consortia are focusing on developing new didactic history teaching methods. New curricula are being developed in summer schools, guest professorships, and visits by Russian and Uzbekistani students and academics.