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The SWOT analysis conducted in 2011 identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats at the University of Freiburg.


A data-supported analysis of strengths and weaknesses provided the basis for ten half-day SWOT discussion forums in which 219 participants engaged in an intensive and open 50-hour discussion of the current strengths and weaknesses of the University of Freiburg as well as opportunities and threats in the coming years. The groups of participants included newly appointed professors, deans and faculty directors, academic deans, representatives from mid-level faculty, directors of research centers, decision-makers from the central university administration, members of the staff council, doctoral candidates from all faculties, students from the General Student Committee and the conference of departmental student committees, and the entire external university advisory council, as well as the Chairman of the German Bishop’s Conference, the Mayor of the City of Freiburg, and numerous members of the federal and state parliaments.

All meetings were moderated by a member of the Rectorate and supported methodically with televoting.

The SWOT process is thus already an expression of the successful governance structure and the special university culture of the University of Freiburg in and of itself. The following SWOT matrix is a condensed illustration of (a) the internal data-supported analyses and strategic papers, (b) external evaluations and rankings, and (c) questionnaires, results of televoting, and discussion protocols from the meetings.


SWOT Matrix
Strengths Weaknesses
  • motivation and quality of students and employees
  • instructional culture
  • research performance
  • windows for research
  • interdisciplinarity and collaborative research
  • Excellence institutions and their integration into the university
  • integration of instruction and research
  • promotion and recruiting of junior researchers
  • internationality, international and public reputation
  • attractiveness of university and region for students and employees
  • basic funding from state
  • funding for materials and personnel
  • possibilities to offer scholarships for junior researchers
  • in part: professionalism of governance structures, esp. at the faculty level
Opportunities Threats
  • optimization of governance processes and structures
  • self-confidence and self-criticism
  • ability to take purposeful action
  • diversification and internationalization
  • tradition and innovation
  • identity and culture of the university
  • state funding for the university; loss of revenue from tuition
  • increasing discrepancy between basic funding and third-party funding
  • increasing complexity of organizational structure and decision-making processes