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Social Sustainability

The JMU is committed to buying environmentally and socially responsible products and services.

Suppliers with a commitment to social sustainability

The University often uses suppliers with a commitment to social sustainability, e.g. the win gGmbH (cleaning services), the Blindenwerkstatt sheltered workshop (brooms and brushes), the Justizvollzuganstalt Würzburg correctional facility (removals, groundskeeping) or the Mainfränkische Werkstätten sheltered workshop (groundskeeping on Hubland campus).

The ‘INklusiv!’ programme

The University Library and the Technical Maintenance Service Centre each employ a staff member under the ‘INklusiv!’ disability employment and inclusion programme. The JMU has designed measures and projects for the provision of advising and support to students and early career researchers with social sustainability in mind. And many of our students get involved in initiatives to make our University more sustainable.

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The JMU Student Representation and, in particular, the Council of Student Representatives offer a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved in volunteer initiatives at our University.

The only project of its kind in Germany

An initiative that is committed to making our University more sustainable is the working group for ecology and sustainability of the JMU Student Representation. Its ‘CampusGarden’ project is the only project of its kind in Germany.

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Academic Advisory Service

The JMU Academic Advisory Service is taking steps to make its operations more sustainable.
For example, the team there are increasingly providing advising over the phone or by email, which reduces the need to travel and is particularly convenient for students with mobility impairments.
Of course, the Academic Advisory Service still offers in-person appointments.

Tailored to the needs of our students

In addition to the Academic Advisory Service, we have a range of other services available to help our students with any issues they may encounter at university. Those services are tailored to the needs of our students.
Advice and support can be obtained, for example, from the Counselling Centre for the Gifted and Talented and the KIS Disability Resource Centre.

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The promotion of equal opportunity and gender equality is an important aspect of sustainability.

Equality and diversity benefit everyone

Gender equality and diversity benefit everyone. This is why the JMU is committed to actively promoting equal opportunity for all of its staff members - whether they work in research, teaching or administration - and helping them unlock their full creative potential.

The JMU equal opportunity policy statement

The measures the JMU is taking to achieve gender equality for its academic staff are described in the JMU equal opportunity policy statement, and guidelines for appointments have been developed to ensure that a transparent and standardised process is in place for recruiting professors.
In addition, the University Board and the JMU Faculties have entered into target agreements aimed at increasing the number of women in higher-level positions and female professors.

Committed to creating equal opportunity

Programmes aimed at creating equal opportunity for all JMU researchers include the SCIENTIA career development programme and the Women’s Leadership Programme by the JMU Gender Equality Academy.

Promoting gender equality for the University’s non-academic staff is the responsibility of the JMU Equal Opportunities Representative, the Staff Council and Human Resources.

Excellent in equality

The JMU has been awarded the ‘Gleichstellung Ausgezeichnet!’ label for excellence in gender equality under the ‘Professorinnenprogramm III’, a programme by the German Federal Government and Federal States aimed at increasing the number of women in research careers, and took a top place in the 2019 CEWS (Center of Excellence Women and Science) gender equality ranking.

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Services provided by the JMU

The JMU has made great efforts to further improve services for students and staff members with children. Founded in 2017, the Family Resource Centre provides a range of childcare and advisory services for parents.

Childcare options

The ‘Campus Kinderhaus’ daycare centre is meant primarily for the children of staff members. Flexible hourly care for the children of students (two to 18 months of age) is provided by the ‘Campus StudiKids’ childcare facility. The Studierendenwerk Würzburg also runs a daycare centre for the children of students. During school holidays, there is the Campus Camp for school-aged children (up to 13 years old).

Assistance and advice

The JMU Family Services team ensure that childcare is provided at University events and provide advising on a range of issues (childcare options, issues facing pregnant women) as well as assistance with finding private childcare or after-school tutoring.

Good connections

The JMU is a member of the Würzburg ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft Familien’ lobby group for families and is working in close collaboration with the City of Würzburg and the Studierendenwerk Würzburg to address the needs of families.

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Promoting inclusion is another important aspect of social sustainability.

Our obligation as a university

According to the Bavarian Higher Education Act, higher education institutions have a duty to ensure that students with disabilities are not placed at a disadvantage relative to other students and that they can access the services provided by the institution as independently as possible.

In addition, higher education institutions have to include in their examination regulations provisions to ensure equal opportunities for examinees with disabilities. The overarching objective is to enable equal participation for all students in higher education.

Many students have disabilities or chronic health conditions

The number of students with disabilities or chronic health conditions is higher than many people think: In a 2016 survey, 11% of the university students in Germany reported that they had a health impairment that adversely affected their university experience.
Nearly half of the students in that group, that is approx. 6% of all students, stated that the impact of the adverse effects they experienced was moderate to severe. It is mainly those students who need to be provided with tailored support and reasonable accommodations during their time at university.

Reflected in our mission statement since 2008

Our commitment to supporting students and staff members with disabilities and chronic health conditions has been reflected in our mission statement since 2008: ‘We attach particular importance to implementing measures to support prospective students and staff members with disabilities or chronic diseases on their way towards academic and professional success.’

Disability resource centre

With its KIS Disability Resource Centre, the JMU is one of Bavaria’s pioneers in the area of inclusion.

  • In 2016, the University of Würzburg was awarded the ‘Bayern barrierefrei’ accessibility label. The JMU was the first higher education institution in Bavaria to receive that label.
  • Since 2018, the JMU has been recognised as an ‘inclusive university’ under the initiative of the Bavarian State Government.

The KIS Disability Resource Centre provides tailored support and advising to JMU students, teaching staff, committees and other bodies. Issues the Centre can help with include inclusive teaching, building accessibly and legal questions around inclusion.
In addition, the Centre can convert course materials into accessible formats for blind and visually impaired people and rents out equipment for students with visual or hearing impairments. The Centre’s equipment pool includes laptops, FM systems and a video magnifier.

Connecting people with the help they need

The KIS Disability Resource Centre coordinates the available support and connects people with the help they need. A member of the KIS team, the JMU representative of students with disabilities and chronic diseases acts as a bridge between students and the University Board.

Together with the Institute of Special Education and the JMU Centre for Sports and Physical Education, the KIS Disability Resource Centre has developed programmes for teaching degree students on aspects of inclusion at school.

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At the JMU, we have a commitment to keeping our employees healthy.

Workforce health: one of our top priorities

In the context of a project funded by the Techniker health insurance fund, we are currently developing an integrated and sustainable scheme to promote and protect the health of our workforce. The project started in mid-2019 and will run for four years. It focuses on the following areas: traditional health promotion (physical activity, relaxation, healthy eating habits), assistance and advice for people with existing health conditions, creating a healthier work environment as well as leadership and collaboration. The resources and programmes we are developing will complement and build on our existing resources for conflict management and addiction prevention.

Promoting health literacy in our staff members

The purpose of the project is to promote health literacy in our staff members and create a healthier work environment. In a first step, we have set up a steering group. Chaired by JMU Chancellor Dr. Uwe Klug, that group includes representatives from all organisational units that deal with issues relating to workplace health. The steering group analyses the status quo of our efforts in the area of health promotion and the needs of our staff members.

Actions to be taken

On the basis of that analysis, we will then develop additional programmes and measures. These are the actions we are planning to take:

Leadership and collaboration

In collaboration with the teams at Training and Development for Academic Staff and Training and Development for Non-Academic Staff, we are developing new and existing resources and programmes to enable staff in leadership roles to lead in a way that promotes health and wellbeing in the workplace.
We will ensure that our workshops and lecture series on leadership, conflict management, communication and stress management complement each other.
We are planning to include the topic of ‘healthy leadership’ in our leadership guidelines and to offer increased opportunities to staff in leadership roles to receive coaching.

Positive interpersonal relationships

Together with our staff development teams, we are also developing initiatives to foster positive interpersonal relationships between our employees. Among other things, we are planning to offer workshops and lecture series on nonviolent communication, conflict prevention, stress management, interpersonal skills and health literacy as well as (health) coaching.

Creating a healthier work environment

We are planning to create a healthier work environment by encouraging healthy breaks and physical activity and designing workspaces in a way that facilitates communication among staff members and to define team roles and responsibilities more clearly.
Employers have a legal duty to conduct stress risk assessments. We will use new tools that will help us assess the stress risks associated with the work activities of our employees more accurately, e.g. staff interviews or on-site visits. Our aim is to identify and further develop the resources for the promotion of workplace health and wellbeing that already exist.

Physical activity, relaxation

We are planning to develop, implement and evaluate a modular programme to encourage physical activity in our staff members. It is planned that the programme will include related workshops and talks as well as practical activities and components especially designed for specific target groups, e.g. workers who sit for prolonged periods of time or have health impairments. In addition, the components will be tailored to be workplace, gender and age specific.

Promoting healthy eating habits

Together with the Studierendenwerk Würzburg and possibly other internal and external partners, we will develop strategies to promote healthy eating habits across the whole University community.

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