Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Family Support Centre

The Family-Friendly Mission of the HU Berlin

Passed on 13 February 2018 by the Academic Senate of the HU


The HU sees family friendliness as a central part of its university culture, which it is continuously striving to improve. The HU President’s Office has developed the following principles to serve as the building blocks of a family-friendly university. These principles must be followed in personnel management and the training of its students. The HU’s effort to be a family-friendly environment promotes equal opportunities and enables participation among all members of the university community. The HU is committed to guaranteeing this process in the long term by institutionalising the implementation structures needed to do so and devoting resources to the process.

The HU defines “family” as any sort of relationship in which people take long-term social responsibility for their relatives or partners.

Our broad understanding of family encompasses all parent-child relationships – including single parents, patchwork families and LGBT families – as well as sibling relationships, marriage and marriage-like relationships, and people who care for their relatives.  

The HU strives to achieve the following goals:

A family-friendly organisational structure

We need to devote resources towards the ongoing process of promoting the balance between professional, academic and family commitments. We are establishing a family fund to do just that. Furthermore, we need to have certain institutions in charge of managing those tasks: it is especially important to have the Family Support Centre as a central coordination office, and the involvement of the Commission for a Family-Friendly University and the “audit familiengerechte hochschule” advisory committee. Within this context, the HU aims to obtain permanent “audit familiengerechte hochschule” certification.

Guidelines and concepts optimised for families

The HU wants to ensure that family-friendly practices in teaching, research and management become normalised at the university. It has thus committed itself to an ongoing review of all guidelines – both external (legislative texts) and internal (HU guidelines, statutes, regulations, work agreements) – and concepts (e.g. the personnel development and management concept) that foster the compatibility of career, studies and family, and to optimise or initiate the processes to optimise it if necessary.

A family-friendly infrastructure

The HU is committed to establishing a family-friendly infrastructure in order to guarantee every member of the university community the ability to participate in university life. This infrastructure includes spaces like family rooms and changing facilities, counselling and networking opportunities (such as the annual Family Fest, family café), and making comprehensive information available to all members of the university community. The HU also has its own childcare services to meet the needs of the university students and staff.

Flexible work and study conditions for families

Enabling flexible work and study conditions is an essential part of a family-friendly university. That said, the HU gives its staff and students various types of flexibility, whether it’s family-friendly work and study hours or the ability to work from home. Furthermore, the possibilities opened up by digitalisation (e.g. of course materials) are being implemented for these purposes. Supervisors and lecturers have been urged to find flexible solutions for people who need to balance their career or studies with their family obligations on an individual basis, such as those applicable in the Study and Examination Regulations (ZSP-HU) and corresponding work agreements.

Family-friendly communication

In order to create a family-friendly university culture, the HU is promoting an ongoing discourse that it encourages all members of the university community to participate in. The HU offers information and counselling on all aspects of career/studies/family balance. Its main goal is to make all members of the university community aware of their respective roles. We are taking advantage of the expertise of, for instance, the public relations department as well as the further professional qualification department. We will identify, communicate and promote examples of best practices and role models. Pilot projects designed to improve the compatibility of work, studies and family are being tested and, if promising, they will be implemented.

Family-friendly cooperation

In order to see through the strategies for achieving family friendliness on all levels, the HU has built up a network with players in the field. It is especially involved in the dual-career area. Based on the idea of “family mainstreaming” (or normalising the presence of family at the HU), the university is instigating a process that involves all members of its community. The goals and provisions outlined by the HU in these basic principles are subject to regular evaluation so they can be improved if necessary.



Begleitschreiben zum Leitbild der Humboldt-Universität als familiengerechte Hochschule