Meet the people behind the Durden Dickinson Bremen Program: Leandra Thiele

Leandra Thiele holds a bachelor’s degree in English-Speaking Cultures and Linguistics from the University of Bremen and will soon complete her master’s degree in English-Speaking Cultures. She was an OSA (Overseas Student Assistant) in 2016-17 in the German Department at Dickinson College. For the Spring Semester 2021, she has returned to her old role as teaching assistant and is remotely teaching German 101 and 102 classes.

Leandra is also currently replacing the Dickinson-in-Bremen program coordinator Verena Mertz and is very happy to be back on the program.

She is looking much forward to be hopefully welcoming new Dickinsonians to the Uni Bremen campus in the fall!

The Durden Dickinson Bremen Program Is Back!

© Harald Rehling/Universität Bremen

Like most exchange programs, our Dickinson-in-Bremen program had to be suspended since last year due to the pandemic. But there is a silver lining on the horizon: We are planning to re-open this fall! We are more than excited to welcome the first group of Dickinsonians back in Bremen in October 2021. Currently, our staff is in full preparation to create a rich and attractive program for the winter semester. We cannot wait to meet our students in person and hopefully see those red Dickinson chairs on the campus of Uni Bremen not so lonely anymore! 🙂


Ingrid Krause / BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale













Bremen was rated as the most bicycle-friendly major city!

As reported by the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, the German Federal Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer (CSU), awarded the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany according to ADFC, the General German Bicycle Club. Here, Bremen leads among cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, ahead of Hanover and Frankfurt.

For this ninth city comparison, the bicycle club examined 27 aspects such as acceptance as a road user, public bicycles or the feeling of safety. Around 230,000 people took part in an online survey. “I want cycling to become energy, enjoyment and joie de vivre much more often again,” said Scheuer.

The full article can be found here:

Spring in Bremen!

After a couple of rough snowy winter-weeks, spring has already arrived in Bremen! If you want to see how blooming Bremen looks like during this season, you should take a look at BREMENbewegt‘s “Frühling in Bremen” video which features the city’s most beautiful places: der Bürgerpark, die Wallanlagen, der Rhododendronpark, der Marktplatz and more. Where would you like to enjoy the warming sun the most?



50 Years University of Bremen

© Torsten Bolik / Universität Bremen (University of Bremen August 1974)

This year, the University of Bremen is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In an interview with Bremen’s regional newspaper, Weser-Kurier, University of Bremen’s principal Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Scholz-Reiter discusses how the Uni wants to celebrate its 50 years of existence.

“For us, 50 years of university means reflecting on what has happened here during this time, why the university exists at all, what it has done and continues to do for the city and society. What would be missing if the University of Bremen did not exist? Where do we want to go from here? What should the European university look like that we are building with seven other partners under the name “Young Universities for the Future of Europe”? We want to discuss these and similar questions this year, together with the citizens of this city and this state.”, Scholz-Reiter explains.

According to him, without Uni Bremen there would be fewer findings in a whole range of scientific fields that are based in Bremen and that provide important results and approaches for global research and development. If the university did not exist, Bremen as a location would look different – not only because of the employees of the university, but also because of the people who are educated here. The university has not only regional economic effects, but also regional structural effects.

“We want to use our anniversary as an opportunity to make citizens aware of the value of the university. But the anniversary also offers us the opportunity to celebrate ourselves a little, to strengthen our own identity and sense of belonging, and to look with pride at what we have achieved.”

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration this year, the University of Bremen is offering a series of events to experience the many facets of the university as a European research university and an inspiring place for education and teaching. Under the motto “We Bring the City to Our Campus and Turn the City into a Campus,” participants can visit events and exhibitions at a wide variety of locations, take part in seminars, and thus discover how closely the university is connected to Bremen’s everyday life.

All event formats are to take place analogously – as far as the situation in the pandemic allows – and will be adapted in time to the then valid Corona regulations.

The following events are planned as of now:

50 “Why? That’s why.”- venues: starting in spring 2021
Exhibition in the Lower Town Hall: October 2021

Location: Campus of the University of Bremen
Dates: June 7 – 13, 2021

Location: City of Bremen
Dates: October 14 – 31, 2021

Further information can be found here:,-universitaetsrektor-scholzreiter-wir-wollen-unsere-vielfalt-zeigen-_arid,1953338.html

Nature Index: Earth and Environmental Sciences at University of Bremen at the Top

© Michael Ihle/ Universität Bremen

In the current Nature Index ranking, the University of Bremen is among the top 5 German research institutes for earth and environmental sciences. The index from the scientific journal Nature is based on article publications in renowned journals.

Once more, the University of Bremen has shown its research expertise with a great position in one of the most important scientific rankings. There are only two universities among the top five national research institutes – the University of Bayreuth and the University of Bremen.

The ranking by the British science journal Nature is based on 2019 and lists which nature and life science research institutes have the most publications. The University of Bremen has again shown the high quality of its scientific publications in the field of earth and environmental sciences. The Nature Index 2020 lists universities, research institutes, and non-academic institutes according to their publications in 82 of the leading scientific journals in the year 2019.

“A Great Success for our Climate University”

Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter, president of the University of Bremen, is pleased about this great placement: “It is a great success for our climate-conscious university and a further confirmation of the outstanding work that is being doing in earth and environmental sciences here. The fantastic positioning shows that our research institute is recognized both nationally and internationally. The University of Bremen is a member of the renowned circle of global climate universities. The Nature Index once more shows our position as a climate-conscious institute.”

Further information can be found here:

Press release by Christina Selzer, Universität Bremen

Excellent Teaching at University of Bremen under COVID-19 Circumstances

© Universität Bremen

Teaching is challenging in times of a pandemic. At the university, this is recognized by the Berninghausen Prize. Therefore, this year, there is not only the traditional student prize. Two teaching staff also receive an award in the category “excellent teaching under COVID-19 circumstances”.

The longtime university music director Dr. Susanne Gläß and the political scholar Sebastian Möller are each awarded a prize in the category “excellent teaching under COVID-19 circumstances”. The traditional student prize is awarded to the didactics of mathematics professor Maike Vollstedt. The three awards are endowed with 2,000 euros each. At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, the traditional award ceremony will be held as a public online event. Anyone interested in participating is most welcome. A total of 135 proposals were submitted. A selection committee, consisting of teaching staff, other university employees, and students, reviewed the proposals and nominated the award winners who were involved in the following projects and topics:

“Ravel’s Boléro”: An Orchestra Goes Online

What do you do with the already planned orchestra project in times of corona? This was the challenge faced by Susanne Gläß in her teaching project last summer semester. In the end, she managed to establish the project “Ravel’s Boléro” and thus create an alternative for live orchestra playing. “It is possible to hold a lecture online”, she says. “But playing digitally in an orchestra in real time is technically impossible so far.” Nonetheless, the longtime university music director came up with an idea for a digital alternative that could almost make up for the missing coordinated listening usually needed when playing live in an orchestra: She developed an alternative method in which the orchestral parts were recorded individually one after the other and then assembled on the computer immediately after each individual recording. The recordings were made by the orchestra members individually at home. This was accompanied by weekly video conferences where musical composition and technical recording problems were discussed. Gläß received technical support from a professional team: Alumnus Gerd Anders, bugler of the orchestra and sound technician by profession, Simon Knobbe, trumpet player of the orchestra and freshly graduated in Master of Electrical Engineering, and for video editing, Jan-Hendrik von Stemm, administrative staff of the university music department. The result was presented in the St. Stephani culture church in the period from June 27 until July 18, 2020 at 21 different occasions. The individually recorded tracks were played back from 34 loudspeakers. In compliance with the hygienic regulations, the audience could walk between these speakers and distinguish the individual instruments that the human ear would not be able to filter out during normal orchestral performances. The 50 orchestra members benefited in many ways from the project: They were able to get acquainted with new forms of musical production, could improve their own performance by repeating their recording up to ten times, maintain intensive contact with the rest of the group, and enjoy the creative experience. Additionally, a video sound collage was produced and uploaded on YouTube. The jury was thoroughly impressed by this project, which would not have taken place without COVID-19.

Port Blog and Learning Videos instead of Excursions

“Key to the World: Bremen’s Ports in the Global, Political Economy”: This is the seminar title of an interdisciplinary exploration tour through the fascinating world of ports, which the political scholar Sebastian Möller had to convert to a digital port seminar in the summer semester due to the corona pandemic. “Unfortunately, the pandemic suddenly put an end to my plans for excursions and field trips to the ports”, he remembers. “In order to still encourage interest in empirical questions, I have used learning videos, recorded interviews with port stakeholders, and the port blog.” An introductory post by him was published on the blog before each course session. Students then created their own short contributions or podcasts on this topic, drawing on various empirical data and, in some cases, conducting their own interviews. In this way, students were able to engage in a research-based learning process even in times of the pandemic and did not just sit in Zoom meetings all the time. To support this, the port blog provided an extensive list of research data, links, and literature, and animated the students to participate by means of photo quizzes and port news. “My students have created some very intriguing blog posts and podcasts, and I have already learned a great deal from my students. I would have much preferred a face-to-face port seminar though”, says Möller. According to the jury, the students especially praised Sebastian Möller’s flexible and very successful re-organization and planning of the seminar under COVID-19 conditions. Particular emphasis is placed on the port blog, which is a lasting testimony to the students’ learning success and has also encouraged other interested parties to visit and explore. Some of the students’ contributions will soon be published as working papers. Sebastian Möller’s commitment went far beyond of what is required of a tutor.

Student Prize for “Thinking and Acting Mathematically”

“Thinking and Acting Mathematically” is the name of the seminar, for which Professor Maike Vollstedt receives the student prize. The module includes didactic aspects of current research areas in mathematics such as the psychology of learning mathematics. In the seminar, Vollstedt and her students looked beyond their own horizons. She established a link to topics in educational psychology. The goal was for her students to continue to be able to experience what constitutes science and which activities researchers pursue. The original concept was developed by a colleague from the computer sciences, Professor Susanne Maaß, and then transferred and adapted to the needs of the field of didactics of mathematics by Maike Vollstedt. The concept includes the exploration of a topic area by the students, as well as the organization and realization of a student conference, at which the students’ own findings were presented. According to the jury, this project strongly encouraged independent, creative, and critical thinking. The students emphasized Maike Vollstedt’s commitment in their statement. She distinguished herself by a high degree of responsiveness, so that intensive consultation and support were possible at all times.

Thanks to Student

“The student prize is very special to me, since being a specialist in didactics, excellent teaching is naturally very close to my heart,” says Vollstedt. “My heartfelt thanks go to the students for this great course: The conference seminar could only happen because of their extremely dedicated commitment, which was by no means something to be taken for granted.”

About the Berninghausen Prize

Every year, the University of Bremen and the “unifreunde” friends of the University of Bremen and Jacobs University award the Berninghausen Prize. The prize, which was established by the family Berninghausen in 1991, honors special achievements in university teaching. Endowed with 6,000 euros, the prize can be awarded in several categories. All members of the university can nominate members of the teaching faculty for the prize, whereby in the category “student prize”, only the students are allowed to do so.

Further Information can be found here:

Press release by Meike Mossig, Universität Bremen

Bremen Students Are Starting into the New Corona Winter Semester: What Do They Have to Expect?

In an interview for Bremen’s regional magazine buten un binnen, University of Bremen’s Vice Principal Academic, Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoffmeister, informed about what Bremen students at the University of Bremen will have to expect from the new winter semester which starts on November 2nd, 2020.

When asked whether there has been a decline in enrollment numbers, Hoffmeister states that there has been indeed a slight decline due to the fact that in Lower Saxony, a whole Abitur cohort wasn’t able to graduate due to the Corona measurements. Nevertheless, the decreased number of students who enrolled in study programs at the University of Bremen is not as big as they would have expected. This might be because gap years like Work-and-Travel-Years aren’t possible at the moment, so that school graduates were more likely to already start with University.

After the full-on online summer semester, Hoffmeister says that this new semester will see a dynamic, hybrid system: Next to the successful online-teaching formats, as long as the infection rates allow, more in-person classroom teaching will be made possible along with more opportunities for students to learn (together) on campus. With the new technical equipment the universities in the state of Bremen now have to deal with, Hoffmeister sees great potential in offering new student jobs for assisting in technological issues so that fruitful teaching can be secured.

Hoffmeister assures that if teaching will have to move back online, presence teaching will not be translated one-to-one into online teaching but will be made more flexible with asynchronous learning styles, for example.