Faculty 7: Natural and Environmental Sciences

Welcome to the Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences

The Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences (NES) consists of 20 Research Groups, each lead by a professor.  Professors are responsible for ensuring the research, teaching and academic mission of their respective group. The different research fields and interests of the research groups are organized into four Institutes.

Independent of the research institutes, teaching activities within the Faculty are organized into 7 academic disciplines. The disciplines are responsible for the curricula, and ensure the academic integrity of the 28 degree programs and 7 types of degrees offered.

Administration of the NES is the responsibility of the Deans Advisory Council (DAC), which is comprised of five members.  The Dean carries the primary responsibility of the NES, and is supported by two Vice-Deans: the Dean for Research and the Dean for Academics.  Each Vice-Dean chairs and is supported by the Committee for Research and Advancement and the Committee for Teaching and Curricula, respectively.  The Dean’s Assistant maintains quality control over the everyday business of the NES.  The DAC calls and sets the agenda for regular meetings of the Faculty Board, where strategic plans and decisions are discussed and ratified.

Research

Research within the NES centers around Environmental Sciences and Science Education.  Didactics has a unique equal standing within the science disciplines, with professors of didactics represented within three of the institutions.

The Institute for Environmental Sciences pursues both basic and applied research, in which the central theme is the complex interactions between humans and the environment.  The Institute combines the expertise from ten Research groups ranging from molecular to ecosystem scales, and also includes social sciences (environmental economics).  The loss of biodiversity, partially attributed to human-caused global change, and the increase in pollutant emissions are two of the most dramatic environmental problems of our time.  Investigations into the processes involved in and consequences to ecosystem function are pursued through an interdisciplinary approach. With its current research focus of „Land-Water Interactions Under the Influence of Anthropogenic Stressors“ the institute contributes substantially to the overall research initiative framework of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and to the research profile of the University of Koblenz-Landau.

The focus of the Institute for Natural Science Education is the empirical research into the teaching and learning processes taking place in educational settings.  Central to the research is modeling, diagnoses, and acquisition process of natural sciences competencies of students.  Based on these models, factors influencing the learning process (e.g., contents, methods, materials, and above all the instructor) can be investigated.  Of special interest is defining the role of natural science competencies of the instructor in the design of learning processes.  Newly gained knowledge becomes the cornerstone for the development and evaluation of best-practice approaches to natural sciences learning environments, for example in the form of Learning Laboratories.  Learning about the natural sciences takes place both inside and outside of formal classrooms.  The research allows for systematic planning and optimizing of the learning environment, the learning process, and the results of the students.  Results support instructors in schools and are informative to the discipline-specific preparation of instructors.  The research groups within the Institution work in close coordination on interdisciplinary projects, e.g., for the orientation in the field of natural sciences, and the development and testing of out-of-classroom learning environments.

Research focus in the Institute for Mathematics includes didactics of mathematics at all academic levels and applied mathematics. In the didactic of mathematics, the discipline-specific orientation of Teach-Learn-Practice (also in the framework of mathematical laboratories in schools) is developed and the Teaching-Learning process is investigated.  The framework for applied mathematics research is mathematical modeling.  The connections between these two research areas are diverse.  They complement each other through the common interest in networking of representative forms, the inclusion of new technologies, and problem solving.  At the same time, each individual research theme has its own unique perspectives.

The Institute for Sports Science has a research focus on the interface between sports medicine, training science, and physical education, with a continuous theme of health, methods of muscle training, and soccer and gender.

The Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences cultivates active networks at the national and international levels. In total, 239 cooperative relationships exist with universities (60%), research and government institutions (27%), as well as business and schools (3%).