50 years - 50 foundational years?

The founding of reform universities in the 1960s was also an expression of the search for new organisational models. To fill our reform concepts with life has always been essential for the University of Konstanz. To this day.

<figure> <img title="Grundsteinlegung " alt="Grundsteinlegung" class="caption-media colored" src="https://www.uni-konstanz.de/typo3temp/secure_downloads/64370/0/7df237e9ae4b8acbd38310a9e1e43952e76070a7/csm_121a_071_958d2b4834.jpg" /> <figcaption> <button> <span class="icon-info"></span> <span class="hidden">Bildbeschreibung anzeigen</span> </button> <span>Grundsteinlegung </span> </figcaption> </figure>

To be a "reform university" was for the University of Konstanz from the very beginning more than just a label. The description has had the long-lasting effect of endowing us with an identity. The late Ralf Dahrendorf, sociologist and higher education politician of world renown as well as a founding member of the University of Konstanz, confirmed this on the occasion of the 40th anniversary celebration: "Konstanz is undoubtedly a success story, not only because of the implementation of a plan, but because of the conscious continuation of a fundamental attitude." An assessment that has recently been confirmed by the Excellence Initiative evaluations.

The university, as a model university, was originally intended to accommodate 3,000 students. Today, nearly 12,000 are on the campus, which was constructed near Lake Constance and the historic old town of Konstanz.

The basic idea was to build a university with short distances, and that in two respects: first, the hierarchies were to be kept flat, which promotes contact, dialogue and cooperation with one another. They should also be interdisciplinary, which is why the university chose to forego institutions in favour of three faculties. Through the “Model Konstanz” perspective in the 1990s, internationality, knowledge transfer and the promotion of young researchers was considerably strengthened. A successful model, as we have witnessed: according to the 2015 DFG Funding Atlas, the University of Konstanz was ranked number one in third-party funding per university researcher.

<figure class="single left"> <img title="Bau der Universität Konstanz" alt="Bau der Universität Konstanz" class="grayscale" src="https://www.uni-konstanz.de/typo3temp/secure_downloads/64370/0/a82bf76c87e0ca9b9ceb124d5e392b03604e2b45/csm_121a_081_c78b41a86b.jpg" /> <figcaption> <button> <span class="icon-info"></span> <span class="hidden">Bildbeschreibung anzeigen</span> </button> <span>Bau der Universität Konstanz</span> </figcaption> </figure>

The campus concept is of central importance for a university with short distances, through which the architecture creates openness and connections Important building areas are grouped around the foyer, library and cafeteria - people see and meet each other on a daily basis, they (can) exchange information, and the library is open around the clock. Artists were also incorporated into the planning of the university from the very beginning. They have left their marks. (More on this topic under „In great shape“)

In 1966, both the ground-breaking ceremony on the Giessberg and the first lecture in the Inselhotel (a former Dominican monastery in the historic old town) define the "first founding years" of the reform university of Konstanz. The founding period is also characterised by a dispute that started in 1972, which went down in the history of the University of Konstanz as a "basic order conflict" and an example of the forces of inertia within the policy circle establishments of the university system. The Konstanz literary scholars Klaus Oettinger and Helmut Weidhase portray a partially tongue-in-cheek historical account of the early constitutional struggles with their 1986 book "Eine feste Burg der Wissenschaft“ (A mighty fortress of science). The conflict culminated in 1972 when both the rector and vice rector resigned.

A second phase of founding years went hand in hand with the German Excellence Initiative, in which the university was successful in all three funding lines. Through interdisciplinary research in priority areas and affiliated teaching, the ground for the institutional strategy “Culture of Creativity”was well-prepared. “The expert evaluators have noticed that the criteria of the Excellence Initiative have been lived here for a long time", said the current rector, Professor Ulrich Rüdiger.

The University of Konstanz will celebrate is 50th anniversary in 2016 with an extensive event programme, from the party up to the ceremony and the following summer festival. “50 years of reform” - the fitting motto speaks volumes. More information can be found on the 50th anniversary web pages.

You can read more about the Excellence Initiative under “Excellence on the move”.


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  • Historisches Bild
    Historisches Bild
  • Bau der Universität Konstanz
    Bau der Universität Konstanz
  • Bau der Universität Konstanz
    Bau der Universität Konstanz
  • Historisches Bild der Uni Konstanz
    Historisches Bild der Uni Konstanz
  • Historisches Bild der Uni Konstanz
    Historisches Bild der Uni Konstanz
  • Grundsteinlegung
    Grundsteinlegung
  • Historisches Bild
    Historisches Bild
  • Historisches Bild
    Historisches Bild
  • Bau der Universität Konstanz
    Bau der Universität Konstanz
  • Bau der Universität Konstanz
    Bau der Universität Konstanz