Successful Re-Audit of the ‘Family-Friendly University’ Certificate
The compatibility of family and work is particularly important nowadays. As an educational institution, the FH Kufstein Tirol also serves as a role model. The University of Applied Sciences has held the title of one of 30 family-friendly universities in Austria since 2012. On March 2, 2022, the Ministry of Family Affairs awarded the University the certificate for the period 2021 to 2024.
The possibility of pursuing a degree program alongside one’s job and, moreover, alongside one’s family has been a goal of the FH Kufstein Tirol from an early stage. The first part-time degree program in Facility & Real Estate Management started in 2000. The FH Kufstein Tirol currently offers four bachelor’s degree programs and nine master’s degree programs in part-time study formats.
At the virtual award ceremony on March 2, Bernadette Humer, MSC, Head of the Family and Youth Section in the Federal Chancellery, thanked the FH Kufstein Tirol for the engagement and commitment and wished continued success in the implementation. In 2012, the University successfully underwent the audit for the first time; in 2015, the first re-auditing took place, and in 2018 the second, and now the Familie & Beruf Management GmbH, the Austria-wide coordination office for compatibility measures, has again awarded the FH Kufstein Tirol the certificate ‘Family-Friendly University.’
New challenges for universities of applied sciences
Mag. (FH) Sara Neubauer heads the ‘Family-Friendly University’ project at the FH Kufstein Tirol. “Better compatibility of studies, work, and family is not just lip service at the FH Kufstein Tirol. In the last ten years, we have taken a whole range of measures to improve compatibility for our students and employees and have received a lot of positive feedback. Of course, this spurs us on to set further milestones for compatibility in the current certification interval,” says Neubauer. Due to the measures taken during the Corona Pandemic, the universities have had to deal with many new challenges that have also affected the topic of university and family. Distance learning and home office are among the aspects that have been most in focus and therefore play a major role in the current certification interval.
Focus on family friendliness and flexibility
Goals and measures designed in the past have been successfully implemented at the FH Kufstein Tirol: Absences to care for sick children or relatives in need have been accommodated with exemptions from on-campus attendance and examinations for years. Before then, the only reason qualifying for an excused absence had been a personal illness. “The FH Kufstein Tirol has set itself the goal of expanding the family-friendliness of the University in the years to come. One of the established goals is the development of future study models that include classroom and self-learning phases tailored for degree programs with full-time and part-time study formats,” says Rector Prof. (FH) Dr. Mario Döller regarding the current target agreement. Mag. (FH) Sara Neubauer adds: “We have also made various health and wellness programs available to our employees and have developed a new mobile working guideline that provides our employees with more flexibility in their work.