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  • Voices from the university


    Campus Bielefeld University with people
    Bielefeld University

Working well together.

Employees from the university tell their job stories.

Around 30,000 people make Bielefeld University a lively and diverse place. You too can be a part of it.

  • Portrait
    © Universität Bielefeld

    "I have a part-time management position at Bielefeld University. By working from home, the university offers good flexible opportunities to work fixed days or spontaneously from home."

    Christian Fink, Head of Department (Communication Office)

  • Portrait
    © Universität Bielefeld

    "I chose Bielefeld University because there is a strong commitment here to strengthening my field of research in Germany. Bielefeld is a good place for my work."

    Prof Dr Saphira Shure, Researcher (Faculty of Educational Science)

  • Portrait
    © Universität Bielefeld

    "I particularly like the contact with the students, as I see myself as a learning facilitator. Thanks to the good equipment, I can prepare the content of teaching very well didactically and methodically."

    Mike Reichert, Practice Supervisor (Medical School OWL)

Dr. Julia Andres

The classroom is my natural habitat. I appreciate the creative freedom I am given when it comes to my teaching and my research.

Dr. Julia Andres, Teaching staff, instructors, lectures (Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies)
© Universität Bielefeld

Flexible working in the skilled trades

Waldemar Borgsen, Electrician

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"I am a trained electrician and started as a skilled worker at Bielefeld University. After just under a year, I applied internally for a position that was advertised with the opportunity for further training for skilled workers. Now the university is funding my further training to become a master craftsman and allows me to take time off to study, which counts towards my working hours.

My job has changed a lot since I became a master craftsman. I now do a lot more office work and coordinate my colleagues' assignments. However, I also lend a hand myself when I'm needed. I like working at the university because I really appreciate the flexibility here. For example, my parental leave was no problem at all here, it was approved immediately. I also don't have to negotiate holidays or sick days, I just hand them in - I've experienced different things in the business world. And if the child suddenly gets sick and I have to go home quickly, I simply clock out.

You can't just do that on a construction site. I could even do my office work from home - but I don't feel like it, I like coming to university. The campus is like a small town where I can get everything I need: a hot lunch as well as coffee, I can withdraw cash and even buy the essentials. I find the people at the university to be friendly and helpful. If you show initiative, you can really achieve something here."

Waldemar Borgsen

Open to new challenges together

Claudia Petersen, Secretary (Faculty of Biology)

Portrait of Mrs Petersen
Bielefeld University

"I work as a secretary in the Faculty of Biology in the Behavioural Biology Bielefeld working group. My job is to ensure a smooth organisational workflow within the department and thus indirectly support science and research. My day-to-day work is varied and multifaceted. In addition to coordinating appointments, ordering and invoicing, I organise conferences and meetings, monitor budgets and support staff recruitment.

Secretaries's offices are the first point of contact for all contacts in the working area and are essential for the functioning of business operations. Around 230 secretaries work at the university. The job description of a secretary's office has changed significantly over the years, and the work requirements and necessary skills have increased. Digitalisation, internationalisation, changing and expanding processes - all of these factors come together in the day-to-day work of a secretary's office. In order to meet these challenges together, we have founded a network for secretaries at Bielefeld University: Fairnetzt. We exchange ideas and support each other, we actively professionalise ourselves through e.g. regular keynote speeches and discussion rounds, we make the work in the secretary's office visible and are approachable as a professional group. This enables us to contribute to the optimisation of processes. We support new colleagues in quickly finding their way around the complex everyday life of the university and making connections. The positive reception in the network confirms our work.

I find being able to work in an institution that is involved in knowledge transfer and research invigorating and inspiring. The special atmosphere is created by the large number of different groups of people who work together and exchange ideas. Flat hierarchies are helpful in direct communication. There is a respectful and friendly atmosphere, which I find very important and pleasant."

Claudia Petersen

Challenges that bring joy

Stefan Berge, Head of Department (BITS)

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"My job at Bielefeld University is very varied in a constantly changing environment. It's challenging, but also fun - and that's important to me personally. I ended up at the university after several stages - training as an IT specialist in system integration, working for various IT service providers and studying business informatics part-time.

I have been head of the 'Networks & IT Security' department at the Bielefeld IT Service Centre (BITS) since 2022. In this role, I'm very busy with organisational tasks and coordination meetings, which means I have a lot of contact with colleagues. I think it's important that we maintain a good working relationship with each other and I try to actively sponsor this. The university supports this by offering mandatory training programmes for all managers. These training opportunities allow me to develop personally and professionally.

The latter is important in my working area because it is very complex and heterogeneous. What I particularly like about working at the university is that I can realise and implement my ideas and concepts. And it's in a family-friendly environment: I use FlexWork because it suits my current family situation very well. My wife also works here and the offer allows us to flexibly arrange and organise our working hours inside and outside the university - a big plus for us!"

Stefan Berge

Helping to shape something new

PD Dr.-Ing. Sven Wachsmuth, Head of Central Laboratory (Faculty of Technology)

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"When I think of Bielefeld University, the term "curiosity" immediately comes to mind - in the best sense of the word. I started studying Computer Science here in 1992 and have always felt very much at home at the university. One of the reasons for this is that there is always a spirit of optimism. In terms of my area of expertise, I experienced this, for example, at the Collaborative Research Centres (SFB) 360, where I did my doctorate after graduating, but also when CoR-Lab and CITEC - Cognitive Interaction Technology came into being.

For me, the university has remained young after all these years; time and time again, it has the courage to change and build something new - and offers employees opportunities to get involved and help shape new structures, projects and fields. By creating a cooperative, informal environment, the university helps employees to develop their own creativity. I also find it very positive that - thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of the university - it is easy to work together with other departments.

I'm currently a Privatdozent [senior lecturer] at the Faculty of Technology, where I'm also head of the central laboratory. Among other things, I coordinate the student RoboCup team, which is working for a year on developing a service robot to take part in an international competition. What I enjoy most about my work is seeing how the students I supervise develop and getting them excited about the field of research - as well as the fact that I can always be there when new projects start, participate in them myself and accompany doctoral students on their way."

PD Dr Sven Wachsmuth

"Outside: concrete - inside: Heart and science"

David Timothy Barber, Legal Counsel

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"The Bielefeld University campus is huge, but you don't feel alone and lost here - you feel in good hands. You meet lots of different staff, people and gain exciting insights into the courses offered and specialised cultures. After work, you have numerous opportunities to pursue your own interests locally. There are many sporting, political and creative activities on offer. This makes it much easier to organise your free time and is a big plus. For example, I like to use the university gym and take part in a theatre group.

Due to my specialisation, I was looking for a job in administrative law after my legal clerkship. Now, as a legal advisor, I deal with examination regulations as a concrete form of the constitutional freedom of occupation. The unusual but very innovative Bielefeld model of studies as the basis for studying, teaching and examinations was initially new and very complex for me, but my colleagues from the Department of Studies and Teaching did an excellent job of familiarising me with it. Everyone here is very helpful and respectful towards each other - I feel very comfortable here.

I have also been given the opportunity to work in copyright counselling alongside my work in examination regulations. Especially at a university, as a large scientific organisation, many current and exciting legal issues arise. As a curious person, I found the time I spent studying very inspiring and broadened my horizons. And this atmosphere continues to accompany me in my day-to-day work here at Bielefeld University. Now, as an employee of the university administration, I can also play a part in helping other young people to realise their potential by studying. This sense of purpose and working atmosphere make working for Bielefeld University particularly attractive."

Timothy Barber

Creating a place for education and research

Nina Brodführer, Head of Department (Facility Management Division)

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"I am Head of Project Management and Digitalisation in the Facility Management department. My colleagues and I are responsible for the overarching project management of construction projects for which the university itself is the client. For example, all the construction work that is planned and currently in full swing on the South Campus. As the topic of sustainability is also part of our department's remit, we are directly considering this important topic in the new buildings. There are also smaller and larger digitalisation projects in the department, as well as funding management.

On the one hand, the major construction projects give me an in-depth look behind the scenes. On the other hand, I can see how our digitalisation projects can support employees' day-to-day work and make the university more sustainable. Even though we are only just getting started with some topics, I personally find this very motivating and I particularly enjoy the variety. My day-to-day work often holds one or two surprises and things often don't go as planned - that's what makes it exciting for me! With all the spontaneous changes, it depends on very good and close cooperation with colleagues. In our team, this is characterised by an open and honest exchange, which I really appreciate.

The opportunity to work from home also gives me a lot of flexibility in my private life. Since returning from parental leave, I have been working part-time. Without the opportunity to work from home, I would work fewer hours and so I can combine family and job. Because my job is extremely meaningful for me. For me personally, education and research are important building blocks of our society and I am pleased to be able to play a small part in ensuring that the conditions here at Bielefeld University are favourable."

Nina Brodführer

Mike Prange

The advantages of working in the public sector are the security, but also the good working hours and the opportunity to take a sabbatical.

Mike Prange, Head of Swimming Pool
© Universität Bielefeld

A nice challenge

Anke Fleischer, Secretary (Faculty of Biology)

Portrait of Anke Fleischer
Bielefeld University

"At Bielefeld University, I work as a secretary in two different working groups in the Faculty of Biology. I started five years ago with a part-time position in Biological Cybernetics - at the time it was a good fit for my children's age and needs. When the position in the "Computational Biology" working group came up, I took the opportunity to increase my hours. In my work, I get to know a lot of different people and come into contact with different perspectives - scientific and non-scientific. If you're open to it and interested in it, the university gives you the opportunity to gain insights into areas that are rather closed to you in the private sector - where I previously worked - such as overall administrative processes. I enjoy thinking outside the box, helping to shape things and looking for creative solutions to problems - all of this is possible and encouraged at Bielefeld University. Overall, my work is very varied. Of course, there are certain tasks that I'm constantly involved in, but there's also often something new, so I often can't say what I'll be dealing with the next day. I find this exciting and pleasantly challenging and it prevents monotony in my day-to-day work. Especially as I can fully rely on my colleagues: We help each other in the working groups, no one makes the others feel like they're better, which makes me feel that the two teams have a strong bond."

Anke Fleischer

Lively, reliable, motivating

Yunqi Gao, Database Administrator (BITS)

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"I never felt like a stranger at Bielefeld University. I'm originally from China and came here to study computer science. After completing my degree, I worked as a developer in a software company for ten years before joining the Bielefeld IT Service Centre (BITS) at the university. I was very happy to return, because both during my studies and now I find the atmosphere here special: it is a place full of vitality and at the same time an institution that you can rely on and that emphasises treating people equally - despite all differences.

For my current job, I have changed roles - from developer to database administrator. As such, together with my colleague, I am responsible for managing all of the university's databases, and we are also responsible for security and Data protection. My colleague has been with us for a long time, I can still learn a lot from him and there is also a good network with the other colleagues. If you have any questions or problems, there's always someone who can give you answers or help you out. The fact that I don't have the same tasks every day at work motivates me again and again.

What I also like is that the university always offers opportunities for further training and to get involved in new projects. The combination that the university offers me of a varied job, in which it is also possible to learn something new, and a secure job with a good work-life balance, remuneration and free offers for employees is very attractive to me."

Yunqi Gao

Varied and flexible

Dr Nina Schönfelder, Employee of the university library

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"When I applied for a position at Bielefeld University Library after completing my doctorate/Phd studies in economics, I didn't realise how renowned Bielefeld University is in the field of open access. The Unibib in particular has been very committed in this area for years and is a really good address - I came to appreciate this special feature all the more when I started working here on third-party funded projects dealing with open access publications. The good thing about my job is that I never get bored, I learn something new every day. In addition to this variety, I also enjoy my work because I always have the opportunity to develop ideas and put them into practice. I also find Bielefeld University to be an extremely flexible employer: my job was advertised as a full-time position - but that didn't really fit in with my current life situation. So the university made it possible for me to work part-time without any problems. And I still have the opportunity to develop my career. The fact that career options are not only open to full-time employees clearly speaks in favour of the university as an employer. It also demonstrates flexibility in other respects, which I need and enjoy as a mother of young children - in other words, I make use of both flexitime and working from home, but not completely, because I also really appreciate being able to go into the office. This is also due to my nice colleagues. Collaboration within the team and with superiors is collegial, constructive and pragmatic, all in all simply very pleasant."

Dr Nina Schönfelder

Stimulating and supportive

PD Dr Torsten Strulik, Teaching staff, instructors, lectures (Faculty of Sociology)

Aerial view Campus Bielefeld University
Bielefeld University

"I have been associated with Bielefeld University for around 30 years - first as a sociology student, then in various research and teaching roles at the Faculty of Sociology. The university has always offered me a very stimulating, supportive and appreciative working environment. After my exams, doctorate/Phd studies, post-doctoral habilitation, a Heisenberg scholarship, the acquisition and management of two third-party funded projects, research visits to Warwick and Berkeley, a temporary professorship and responsible involvement in the 'getting started.' programme to improve study conditions and the quality of teaching, I have been working as a departmental teaching staff member in the Department of General Sociology and Sociological Theory since 2018. I have received competent support from the university in many ways for 26 years now.

I would like to emphasise, for example, the university's measures to reconcile family and appointment and the associated provision of a childcare place in the exemplary company daycare centre. As part of my research activities, I have always received excellent support from both the Department of Research Funding and Transfer and the administration of the Faculty of Sociology when applying for, carrying out and managing third-party funded projects. For some years now, as a primarily teaching staff member, I have particularly appreciated the academic achievements of the Centre for Teaching and Learning [Centre for teaching and learning]. In my experience, the offers for further education, peer learning and the design of effective teaching-learning arrangements contribute greatly to improving the quality of teaching. It's not just the students who benefit from this. I particularly enjoy my work when I see that the students find their way into the subject well, learn sustainably, complete their studies with success and gain a wide range of appointments."

PD Dr Torsten Strulik

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