Lecturers in Spanish, bioscience and educational science receive the 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching

The 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching was presented at Goethe University Frankfurt for the 21st time. A Spanish lecturer, a bioscience professor and an educational science researcher were recognized for their work. The prize, which is awarded jointly by the Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation and Goethe University and was bestowed in early November, aims to draw attention to exemplary teaching and highlight its importance. The candidates are nominated by the students.

This year’s 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching went to: Spanish lecturer Dr. Marta Muñoz-Aunión (1st prize, center), biologist Prof. Paul Dierkes (2nd prize, right) and Friedrich Wolf (3rd prize, left).

This year, the 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to: Spanish lecturer Dr. Marta Muñoz-Aunión (1st prize, center), Professor of Bioscience Paul Dierkes (2nd prize, right) and educational science researcher Friedrich Wolf (3rd prize, left).

The 1st prize of 15,000 euros went to Dr. Marta Muñoz-Aunión from the Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures. The 10,000-euro 2nd prize went to Professor Paul Dierkes, who holds the Opel-Zoo endowed professorship in Zoo Biology at Goethe University. Rounding out the awards, the 3rd prize (5,000 euros) went to Friedrich Wolf from the Institute of Social Pedagogy and Adult Education.

“The diversity at universities has been increasing for many years. This is a good thing, because our society needs lots of clever and creative minds who each bring their different perspectives and experiences. But this also increases the demands on teaching”, says Ayse Asar, State Secretary in the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts. “The 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching places the focus on students’ success in learning. This year’s award winners motivate their students with their ideas, are very practical, innovative, sustainable, and work with digital and hybrid learning formats – a forward-looking development that we also support financially with our program entitled ‘High quality in studies and teaching, good framework conditions for studies’ (Hohe Qualität in Studium und Lehre, gute Rahmenbedingungen des Studiums, or QuiS). I heartily congratulate the winners on their success.”

A rose for the corporate anniversary of the Frankfurter Sparkasse: Goethe University Vice President Professor Christiane Thompson presents Dr. Ingo Wiedemeier with an artwork created by Ottmar Hörl – in a pertinent color.

“Good university teaching deserves much more attention”, emphasized Professor Christiane Thompson, Vice President of Education at Goethe University, on the occasion of the 21st presentation of the 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching. “After all, without high-quality education, there can be no cutting-edge research. The 1822 University Prize is an opportunity to recognize the great importance of teaching and to thank those who take on this task with exceptional joy, creativity and perseverance”, said Thompson.

Dr. Ingo Wiedemeier, CEO of Frankfurter Sparkasse: “The Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation has supported the 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching for more than twenty years. This is not only a financial expression of our appreciation for the outstanding commitment of the lecturers. We also provide this funding out of our deep conviction that Goethe University, with its excellent reputation, is an extremely important factor in the attractiveness and prosperity of the entire region.”

As experts in teaching quality, the students were consulted for their opinions again this year. They play an important role in the 1822 Prize from the very beginning, because only they have the right to nominate lecturers. In 2022, the students made good use of this right once again and submitted 15 nominations from eight faculties for consideration by the jury. A committee that includes all status groups then decided on the prizewinners. The criteria for the awards are outstanding quality of the courses, innovative ideas in teaching and particular commitment in the supervision of students. The research focus, crossover between theory and practice and extra dedication in the introductory phase all have a positive effect on the results. The students also played an important role in the award ceremony itself. Trainee teacher Janina Müller and philosophy student Valentin Teufel moderated the event, science slammer Luca Neuperti, who is studying sociology and computer science at Goethe University, gave an entertaining presentation about student learning under pandemic conditions, and the speeches in praise of the winners also came from students. The Philip Wibbing Trio provided musical accompaniment. Students Janina Müller and Valentin Teufel were friendly and confident as they led the award ceremony.

The 1822 University Prize for Excellence in Teaching was first awarded in 2002. Goethe University and the Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation jointly created the prize to raise awareness of the importance of innovative university teaching and to make the work of outstanding lecturers more visible. The Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation sponsors the first and third prizes totaling 20,000 euros, and the second prize (10,000 euros) is financed by Goethe University. The prize is awarded annually.

The recipients:

Dr. Marta Muñoz-Aunión, who was awarded the 1st prize, is a Spanish lecturer at the Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures in Faculty 10. A total of 150 students signed her nomination – a clear sign that her teaching meets with strong approval. Her students praise the engaging and motivating nature of her classes, which increase their enthusiasm for the Spanish language. Dr. Muñoz-Aunión is very approachable and open to feedback and suggestions for improvement and adapts her teaching to the requirements. The jury was particularly impressed by the innovative formats Muñoz-Aunión offers, such as film workshops and writing and journalism projects. This was the third time that she has been nominated.

The 2nd prize went to Professor Paul Dierkes, Executive Director of the Department of Didactics – Biological Sciences and holder of the Opel-Zoo endowed professorship in Zoo Biology. Dierkes is described in the student nomination as being particularly approachable and open. He was already using online teaching methods before the pandemic and was, therefore, able to support the students well during the pandemic restrictions. His work in connection with the Opel-Zoo also gives the students valuable practical experience and insights. The behavioral biology course, which he established, is extremely popular with students. In his committee work, he is involved in coordination with the student community on the redesign of the bachelor’s degree in biosciences.

The 3rd prize was awarded to educational scientist Friedrich Wolf. The jury recognized him above all for his innovative teaching methods, which he was already using extensively before the pandemic. The students noted in particular that he gave them courage and self-confidence in his courses as well as enthusiasm for his subject. In his courses, even content that appears uninteresting at first glance is filled with life. As a member of the media working group in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, he played an important role in implementing digital and hybrid teaching and provided for innovative teaching formats.

In addition to the winners, the following lecturers were also nominated:

  • Dr. Rupert Abele, Faculty 14 (Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy)
  • Dr. Mahmoud Bassiouni, Faculty 03 (Social Sciences)
  • Dr. Johannes Friedrich Diehl, Faculty 06 (Protestant Theology)
  • Professor Robert Fürst, Faculty 14 (Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy)
  • Dr. Mariam Kamarauli, Faculty 09 (Linguistics, Cultures, and Arts)
  • Maria Kofer, M.A., Faculty 09 (Linguistics, Cultures, and Arts)
  • Apl. Professor Lukas Ohly, Faculty 06 (Protestant Theology)
  • Samantha Ruppel, M.A., Faculty 03 (Social Sciences)
  • Professor Alexander Vogel, Faculty 11 (Geosciences and Geography)
  • Professor Johannes Völz, Faculty 10 (Modern Languages)
  • Dr. Marianne Wiedenmann, Faculty 04 (Educational Sciences)
  • Dr. Dirk Wiegandt, Faculty 08 (Philosophy and History)

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