Education as a social responsibility
ASH Berlin is a practice-oriented university with an active research culture. Through interdisciplinary study programmes and an international network of research cooperation partnerships and partner universities it offers a variety of career prospects and further education in the areas of social work, health and early childhood education.
ASH Berlin is the largest university in Germany in the field of social work, health and early childhood education. Only professional training can meet the expected shortfall in skilled professionals in these vocational fields.
The university is actively driving the academisation of the health professions. In the interests of future patients, graduates can professionally tackle current developments in health care and provide research support. In order to increase the pathways between university studies and vocational training, all Bachelor’s degree programmes have accreditation procedures for external credits and skills relevant to the study programme.
Academisation of therapeutic professions
In Germany, it is only since 2001 that it has been possible to obtain Bachelor’s and consecutive Master’s degrees in the disciplines of physiotherapy and ergotherapy. Since 2009 a model clause has permitted primary qualifying academic degree programmes in physiotherapy and ergotherapy. ASH Berlin was one of the first universities in Germany to offer the primary qualifying academic degree programme Physiotherapy/ Ergotherapy in winter semester 2011/12. For the first time, the study programme leads to two qualifications: the Bachelor of Science (BSc.) and the state examination which entitles graduates to use the professional title.
Academisation in the area of early childhood education
Following the establishment of 113 Bachelor's and Master’s study programmes in early childhood education in Germany, in recent years the professional title of “early childhood educator” has become legally anchored in almost every federal state and is now a state recognised qualification (cf. Stieve, Worsley & Dreyer 2014). A new profession has therefore established itself in Germany. Early childhood educators are increasingly finding work in day care centres and also in many other fields of educational work with children and families. ASH Berlin offers an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree programme in Early Childhood Education.
Interdisciplinary work enables lecturers and students at ASH Berlin to look beyond the boundaries of their subject area, fostering new ways of thinking.
The vocationally qualifying and interdisciplinary teaching approach in the Physiotherapy/Ergotherapy study programme provides students with a broad and academically underpinned qualification that allows them to work as professionals in the fields of physiotherapy/ergotherapy.
An interdisciplinary, online-based Bachelor’s degree programme “Health Care Professionals (HCP) – Bachelor Interprofessional Care and Management” is currently being planned. This career-integrated study programme will be introduced at ASH Berlin in winter semester 2020/21 with 40 study places.
Furthermore, ASH Berlin is a member of numerous associations with the aim of actively driving an interdisciplinary approach in health care and its academisation.
Diversity and cultural education
The teaching profile of ASH Berlin focuses on the topic areas of cultural education and diversity, inclusive gender and queer studies, racism and migration.
Gender and queer studies
Gender research has a long tradition at ASH Berlin. Two professorships currently exist that are explicitly dedicated to gender research (Prof. Dr. Nivedita Prasad, Professor of Action Methods and Gender-specific Social Work; Prof. Dr. Barbara Schäuble, Professor of Diversity-aware Approaches in the Theory and Practice of Social Work). Numerous other professors also undertake gender research without this being explicitly mentioned in their professorship titles.
Gender plays an important role in teaching at ASH Berlin. When the study programmes were converted to the Bachelor’s and Master’s model, the teaching of gender knowledge and skills was embedded as an interdisciplinary topic in all study programme regulations, curricula and module handbooks. Dedicated gender modules are also part of the Social Work and Early Childhood Education study programmes.
Racism and migration
The university's action plan in the area of refugees, migration, racism, anti-racism movements and inclusions are grouped together under the name of "alice solidarisch". The different interest groups work together in the university-wide project.
The topics of racism and migration also play an important role in numerous research projects, professorships, modules and publications. Here is a small selection:
Prof. Dr. Iman Attia is the principal investigator of the research project "Passport Control! Living without Papers in Past and Present. A Collaborative Research and Exhibition Project". The project charts the experiences of people with a precarious residential status or without papers for interested members of the public.
Several professors represent the topic area in research and teaching:
- Prof. Dr. Iman Attia, Professor in the area of "Racism and Migration"
- Prof. Dr. Esther Lehnert, History, Theory and Practice of Social Work with a focus on Right-wing Extremism
- Prof. Dr. Castro Varela, Professor of Social Work and General Education, in cooperation with Paul Mecheril, published the series "Die Dämonisierung der Anderen. Rassismuskritik der Gegenwart".
Social cultural work and aesthetic education are traditionally a central area of studies, practice and research in the social work, early childhood education and health study programme profiles. The productive interplay of social cultural work and aesthetic education provides the basis for how cultural education is understood at ASH Berlin:
- Independent aesthetic and artistic experiences open up space for a variety of participatory and sustainable education and learning processes with a reflective research approach. Cultural education in this sense is essential for development and change in society towards diversity, equality and critical reflection.
- Cultural education is carried out within the framework of a variety of partnerships with practice. The area is networked Berlin-wide, interregionally and nationally. The current teaching and research focus in the area of cultural education is formed by transcultural, intergenerational questions spanning all areas of education.
- Many of the academic activities and events offered in the field of social cultural work and aesthetic education are open to members of the university , such as use of the workshops, lectures, performances and exhibitions.
Professors working in the field of cultural work and aesthetic education:
The didactic concept of the workshops opens up teaching and learning spaces for developing questions, self-directed and co-constructive learning processes and for independent, exploratory and research-based learning:
- Research-based learning as part of case work and project-related research workshops
- Specialisations possible in the areas of science and technology, movement education, aesthetic education, language education
- Interdisciplinary topics in all modules: inclusive education, working with children during their first three years and their families
- Promotion of students’ self-reflection skills and critically conscious examination of their own biographies.
ASH Berlin has numerous special rooms and facilities, including a media workshop, a photo lab and a music room. Activities in the movement room, the science and technology learning workshop, the free expression workshop and the aesthetic practice workshop enable students to apply the theoretical knowledge they have acquired in practice.