Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz continues expanding services relating to the student life cycle

Mainz University adapts advisory services to the changing student situation / Career Service offers occupational orientation and provides skills


Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is continuing to expand its differentiated advisory services relating to the student life cycle. Adopting the motto "Make people fit for the future," the Mainz University has established student advising offices in all faculties, adapted the departmental advisory services to the needs of the changing student situation, and is further developing the JGU Student Advising and Information Center and its Career Service. The aim is to provide continuous support for students from the beginning of their courses until they enter a profession and to give them individual advice tailored to the specific needs of each stage of their time at university. "It has been clearly demonstrated, particularly in connection with the change-over to phased course structures, how very important competent and professional advising is for delay-free and successful acquirement of a degree," explained the Vice President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Dr. Mechthild Dreyer.

In the context of the Quality Pact for Teaching that was initiated this year and is being funded by the German federal and state governments to the tune of EUR 12 million, the focus is also on the development and professionalization of the decentralized departmental advisory services. "The comprehensive and fundamental changes in course structures have resulted in an increased quantitative and qualitative need for subject-specific advice based on an advisory concept tailored to the differing needs arising over the course sequence as a whole," explained Dr. Bernhard Einig, Director of the Office for Learning and Teaching. "In addition, a key requirement for the success of the project is for us to provide all departmental advisors with task-related professional training that could result in the award of an official certificate. In the coming years, I believe it will emerge that professional departmental advisory services of this nature can contribute significantly to the successful completion of a course sequence and that these, therefore, should be considered an indispensable element of the overall services provided by the study and examination administration."

The advisory services at JGU are further supplemented by the specific advisory and support services provided by the International Office, which, together with on-site subject advisors, counsels and supports students in planning and undertaking a stay abroad. The services of the Psychotherapeutic Counseling Center are also an indispensable component in the overall responsibility of JGU with regard to the provision of comprehensive learning and teaching advisory services. In 2012, more than 800 students have received qualified psychological-psychotherapeutic counseling and support to help them cope with problems related to their studies. The services range from short-term psychotherapeutic counseling to courses for developing study-related and social skills.

Career Service provides professional orientation

One of the central elements of JGU's overall advisory services designed to cover the student life cycle is the Career Service developed by the Student Advising and Information Center (ZSB). This offers students tailored information, counseling, and skills services to aid them in their transition from university to profession. In addition to individual and group counseling in career planning and application strategies, the Career Service also offers lecture series during semesters to help students discover potential career fields.

Particularly during the two-week Spring University and Fall University events, which are held in the two weeks before the commencement of lectures, students can explore their potential professional future in seminars, training sessions, and practical professional workshops, acquire important key skills, receive training in application procedures, and try out certain professional fields in a practical manner. "This year, some 1,200 students benefited from one or more of the 62 total events put on during the 2012 Fall University. It is exciting to see the considerable resonance with which these services have been greeted at JGU," stated the Director of the Office for Learning and Teaching. "The demand for these events continues to grow each semester. It is foreseeable that with its Career Service the university will meet a significant need among students for advice and that this institution will certainly become one of the established features of the university over the long term."

This year also saw the first Job Speed Dating event held in collaboration with the German Federal Employment Agency, during which a total of 50 students had the opportunity to present themselves to company representatives in ten-minute job interviews. "Both students and participating companies found the event to be a wholly positive experience and it led to several students being invited to submit additional application documents," Einig reports.

"With all of these measures, I see JGU as being already well en route to meet its social responsibility with regard to providing students with high-quality courses, good underlying social and cultural conditions, and transparent structures geared toward success in studies, exactly in line with JGU's mission statement," concluded the Vice President for Learning and Teaching. "If all those involved, the German federal and state governments and the university, continue to work together in this constructive manner I am sure that, in the next four years, we can further improve the excellent approach being taken at this university and together ensure that students see studying at JGU in a wholly attractive and productive light despite the continuing massive pressures."