Dear alumni, friends, sponsors and partners of the HdM,
the Corona crisis has got us all under control. We, as the HdM, also take seriously our responsibility to be committed to the protection of our students, our staff, our guests, our families and friends. In order to give the virus as little chance as possible of spreading at the university and to keep the risk of infection as low as possible, we - like other universities - have postponed the start of the semester to 20th of April 2020. This is a unique event in the history of the university. This situation is new for all of us and is changing our everyday lives in an unforeseen dynamic. The danger of infection forces us to reorganise ourselves in the shortest possible time. This includes the fact that the HdM is no longer open to the public since 18th of March 2020. Committee meetings have been cancelled, as well as examinations and job interviews, too. Meetings may now only take place virtually.
For the first time we couldn't welcome the new students in person, but by e-mail. Of course, we want to make up for this. Because we are looking forward to meeting them and to the exchange with them. But at the moment we do not expect to be able to start studying on 20th of April with attendance lectures. We are preparing for the fact that courses may possibly only be offered in digital form. This will be a huge challenge, project-oriented teaching in laboratories, teams or studio productions characterize the studies at our university. Also the issue of network and server load must be considered when planning interactive digital events, for example.
Protection and fair solutions
It is not yet possible to estimate which events can actually take place in the summer semester and in what form - from information events to academic conferences to our semester highlight - the MediaNight. Many events for which the HdM has prepared with great effort - from the Leipzig Book Fair to the Didacta, the fmx and the Festival of Animated Film to Drupa - have unfortunately been cancelled or postponed.
Most of the colleagues at the HdM work in their home office. This is because we want to limit the number of people present on the campus to those who carry out system-relevant work, such as technical infrastructure services, if the necessary hygiene measures are observed.
In the event that upcoming examinations cannot be held due to the exceptional situation, we strive to find fair solutions based on the existing examination regulations in order to protect affected students from disadvantages. For our students in continuing education we use "Distance Learning" wherever possible and reasonable. The International Office looks after our students abroad and foreign students who wanted and want to spend a semester at the HdM, but also guest lecturers who wanted to enrich our teaching at the HdM in the summer.
For many of our partners in research projects and our employees it is difficult to keep up with their projects, as companies are also severely restricted in their ability to act due to short-time work and other measures. We hope that we will nevertheless be able to push the projects forward successfully.
The media have important functions in this crisis. How they fulfil these tasks will certainly be reflected after the crisis. Our thanks go to all those who work tirelessly for our health, as nurses, doctors or scientists working on a vaccine. Health is of course the top priority, but a severe economic crisis is foreseeable. Production stops in the automotive sector and aircraft on the ground speak for themselves. The crisis brings an economic slump that is existential for many companies, especially for small companies that are more typical in the media sector. And this against the background of the structural upheaval caused by digitalization.
Change due to the crisis
We also hope that the state will be able to implement the commitments of the Higher Education Funding Agreement, which are important for the universities, against the background of the necessary financial commitments to save jobs. This crisis will also change the HdM. But the essential will remain: We are quick to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial, and will continue to be as such at the end of the corona crisis. This will be more important than ever to help the economy and society with innovations, graduates with the latest skills for the necessary structural change and the economic crisis that will be at the end of the pandemic. We will deliver!
The creativity of our colleagues, who are planning concepts for the next semester with great commitment, is the best proof of this. We are already looking forward to the personal exchange with you - our students, our colleagues, our alumni, our friends, sponsors and partners.
Take care of yourself, get through these times well and stay healthy.
Alexander W. Roos
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