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Lehre@LMU:

Awards for outstanding projects

München, 12/03/2015

The LMU Prize for Innovation in Teaching (“LMU Lehrinnovationspreis”) was instituted as part of Lehre@LMU, and is awarded annually for the development of novel approaches to tuition. The systematic integration of practical research into teaching programs is a major aim of Lehre@LMU in the context of the Pact for Quality Tuition. This entails giving all undergraduates an opportunity to do research and allowing them a large measure of independence in doing so. The best of these projects are awarded LMU’s annual Research Prize for Gifted Students (“Forscherpreis für exzellente Studierende”). This year’s winners received their awards today.

Source: Jan Greune / LMU

LMU Prize for Innovation in Teaching 2015 (“LMU Lehrinnovationspreis”)

Clinical Case Discussion
Developed by the CCD Project Team in the Faculty of Medicine
This project was actually initiated by students and resulted in a teaching module which, with its systematic and imaginative use of modern media, can serve as a model for others. In successfully completing the project, the participating students displayed a high degree of commitment and dedication. The basic idea behind the module is that students work as a group on an intriguing case drawn from the pages of the “New England Journal of Medicine” (NEJM). This requires them to apply up-to-date medical knowledge to the diagnosis of real-life patients, and their discussions are carried out solely in English. Moreover, consultation of recent publications and use of the latest guidelines for clinical decision-making (e.g. via the Harvard database UpToDate (www.utdol.com) is an integral part of the process. More advanced and experienced students act as moderators and, with the support of an expert clinician, the participants learn to evaluate real clinical situations in a logical and structured way, and take evidence-based decisions that guide their search for the correct diagnosis. Moreover, in each case, the patient’s individual perspective must be explicitly taken into account.

Archaeological Data and Statistics: Statistical Bases, Analytical Methods, Graphical Presentation (Faculty of History and Cultural Sciences)
Simone Reuß M.A., Patrick Schenk M.A., Prof. Dr. Carola Metzner-Nebelsick
This innovative and markedly interdisciplinary learning module is particularly noteworthy because it focuses on the teaching of skills in statistics and informatics – two fields which at first sight appear to have little to do with one another, but which are both essential for a modern understanding of Archaeology. To achieve this ambitious goal, the designers of the course took a completely new approach. The resulting module familiarizes participants with the basic principles of the collection and documentation of archaeological data, and teaches them how to analyze these data using the appropriate statistical techniques. A good grounding in statistics is a key qualification in today’s job market and is very useful in many everyday contexts, as well as being indispensable for evidence-based archaeological research. Nowadays, researchers in the cultural sciences need to master techniques of statistical analysis in order to make sense of the ever increasing amounts of data that can be obtained from the artefacts they study, and their distribution. Hence these methodologies are now part of the course content for students in these fields at all phases of their training. In addition, the module fills a gap, as statistical methods have not been taught in such a specialized context at LMU hitherto. Extensive use of new media, in particular the teaching of the software skills required for data analysis with the aid of the open-source software package R is a basic element of the new course.

In all, 10 projects were nominated by 10 faculties for the LMU Prize for Innovation in Teaching. The University’s Executive Board assigned to the University Teaching Board the task of appraising the nominated projects and selecting two for the Prize, which is worth 10,000 euros.

LMU Research Prizes for Gifted Students 2015 (“Forscherpreis für exzellente Studierende”)

Munich‘s Maxvorstadt – a Protestant Perspective
Barbara Baum, Florian Büttner, Christine Hauptkorn, Claudia Mühlbacher, Christine Müller, Juliane Muth-Schultz, Marie-Christin Noller, Ann-Kathrin Schaub, Thomas Schultheiß and Lena Wilckens (Faculty of Protestant Theology)

In this study entitled, the authors succeeded in illuminating a whole range of topics relevant to the history of the churches at the local level. Their findings provided the basis for an exhibition in the local district council’s “U-Bahn-Galerie”. The project also ideally complements a number of other projects in the field of practical theology and beyond. The exhibition assembled by the project group shows a degree of dedication, creativity and acquired knowledge which far exceeds that expected of the average student, and can stand as a prime example for skill-centered teaching and research. Together with related talks from the LMU series of Maxvorstädter Vorlesungen, the exhibition is also featured in the volume “Die Maxvorstadt” (Munich 2014) by K. Bäumler et al.

Literary Life in Munich‘s Maxvorstadt: Students of German Uncover the History of Literature in the Maxvorstadt
Sarah Bischof, Maria Holbl, Johanna Hympendahl, Matthäus Koik, Anna Mayer-Köbel, Laura Mokrohs, Lisa Scherbaum, Ursula Skusa and Stefanie Schwanzer (Faculty of Languages and Literatures)
The results of this study also formed part of the above-mentioned exhibition held in the eponymous quarter of Munich located to the north of the city’s Central Railway Station. The major contribution of this particular project lies in the fact that its findings modify the generally accepted picture of the history of writers and literature in the Bavarian capital in significant ways. Many of the developments conventionally assigned to Schwabing’s bohemian milieu are shown to have actually taken place in the Maxvorstadt. However, the role of the latter in this context has never become part of the city’s cultural memory, although the district itself is generally seen as embodying the ‘essence of Munich’. The analysis of the distinctly anti-university attitude of Munich’s Bohème is also full of interesting insights.

Responsibility and Free Will: The Principle of Alternative Possibilities
Lisa Marie Orgeldinger (Faculty of Law)
Lisa Marie Orgeldinger earns her Prize for her outstanding term paper on the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP). The paper deals with the relationship between free will and the concepts of moral and legal freedom – one of the most difficult and complex problems in Moral Philosophy and the Philosophy of Law – and focuses on PAP as a condition for the attribution of responsibility for an unlawful act. The paper not only provides a compelling, highly informative and intelligently argued view of an extraordinarily challenging and complex topic, it is also splendidly written.

Violence Directed Against the Elderly by Caregivers: Studies, Findings and Explanatory Models
Kilian Wolf (Faculty of Law)
Kilian Wolf receives the Prize for his term paper on the controversial issue of violence perpetrated on the elderly by those charged with looking after them. The paper, which is of high quality and painstakingly prepared, assesses the incidence of the phenomenon, and focuses on the relationships between individual perpetrators and their victims, and identifies risk factors. Particularly noteworthy are the overall structure of the argument, the application of criminological theories and insights, and the carefully considered summary of the findings, together with proposals designed to reduce the incidence of such assaults in the future.

A Survey Study on Student Preferences Regarding Pathology Courses in Germany: A Call for Curricular Modernization
Dr. med. Florian E. M. Herrmann, Markus Lenski and Julius Steffen (Faculty of Medicine)
Florian Herrmann and his colleagues receive the Prize for a project that explored ways to improve the pathology section of the medical curriculum, which was carried out under the auspices of the MeCuM StEP (the Medical Curriculum Munich’s Excellence Program for Students). The project has already led to a publication (with the above title) which appeared in BMC Medical Education. The questionnaire used in the survey was put together by the 11-member StEP group with a view to analyzing student reactions to the curricula in Pathology currently followed at LMU and at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Following preliminary discussions with a small focus group, the team carried out an online survey among medical students at LMU. On the basis of the responses received, and with input from pathologists and specialists in medical education from Australia, Germany and the US, the students then developed a specific proposal for the improvement of Pathology courses. The study is notable in particular for its incorporation of an international perspective and for the dedication evidenced in the collection and subsequent analyses of the data.

A (Constructional) History of Schloss Zellereit nr. Wasserburg am Inn
Magdalena März (Faculty of History and Cultural Studies)
Magdalena März wins the Prize for her study entitled of the architectural history of Schloss Zellereit nr. Wasserburg am Inn and the design of its 17th-century gardens. The work was submitted as a Bachelor’s thesis in Art History, and analyzes the planning and construction of Schloss Zellereit, with particular reference to the Late Renaissance period. The study, which was awarded Wasserburg’s annual History Prize, is remarkable for its range of reference, and exhibits an interdisciplinary character which is regrettably rare in this context. The study effectively sets the archaeological findings relating to the construction of the architectural ensemble against the background of the history of the region as a whole. The author has been encouraged to publish the results in the highly appropriate and respected journal Burgen und Schlösser, and further publications are planned.

LMU Navigator
Timo Loewe and Lukas Ziegler (Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics)
These two students won the Prize for developing an all-purpose answer to the question: How do I get from here to there on the LMU campus? With the support of the Division of Facilities Management and Maintenance, they designed an app that pilots the user to where she wants to go, based on information about her present location. LMU‘s complement of floor plans was digitized and integrated into the app – together with photos of buildings, facilities and other premises on campus. This wide-ranging database forms the heart of the app and is readily extendable. The project was carried out with a high degree of commitment and the result testifies to a sound grasp of the principles of informatics.

PET Activation Studies at a Cyclotron-Based Proton Therapy Facility - Experiments and Monte Carlo Simulations
Matthias Würl (Faculty of Physics)
Matthias Würl receives the Prize for his Master’s thesis, the title of which is cited above. This innovative and outstanding piece of work deals with the construction of an accurate beam guidance model for the Munich Proton Therapy Center. Using a highly original approach, the author demonstrated that the analytical model for the design of treatment schedules indeed leads to accurate and correct results. In the meantime, the study has led to related investigations by other students. In addition, the thesis itself has been chosen by Springer for publication in its BestMasters series. A manuscript on the work was recently submitted to the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology.

Synthesis of Copper Complexes and Investigation of Electron Transfer in Copper-Guanidinoquinoline Systems
Mathias Turberg (Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy)
Mathias Turberg wins the Prize for his Bachelor’s thesis. The project was carried out with a remarkable degree of independence and care, and the author’s research has led him to the discovery of novel routes of chemical synthesis. The thesis also provides an informative introduction to the topic of electron transfer and the determination of the rate constant for self-exchange, and provides a jump-off point for further studies on electron transfer. The results have already been presented as a poster at an international conference, and a manuscript is being prepared for publication.

The Effects of Sunscreen on the Microphytobenthos
Helena Hager (Faculty of Biology)
Helena Hager receives the Prize for a research project which involved an extensive set of studies on aquatic ecosystems. In the course of her project, which was supported by the Faculty of Biology’s Lehre@LMU Incentive Award, Hager performed experiments both in the laboratory and in the field with a view to defining the effects of sunscreen on the microalgae found in transition zone between the aqueous realm and the underlying sediment (i.e., the microbenthos). Modern sunscreens provide effective protection against the harmful UV radiation that causes sunburn, and virtually every swimmer and sunbather uses them. Hence the input of sunscreen is most significant in inshore coastal waters, where microalgae found in the interstices between sand grains are responsible for a large fraction of primary production. By culturing benthic diatoms under controlled conditions in the laboratory, Hager showed that the presence of sunscreen-derived contaminants in the water affects the growth and motility of these algae. Surprisingly, their primary effect is a growth-promoting one! The originality of Hager’s work lies in its combination of toxicology with a decidedly ecological approach to assessing the environmental impact of a complex pollutant. The results of this research offer a number of intriguing starting points for further work on the effects of chemically complex pollutants in inshore waters and on the function of the communities of organisms that form the basis of marine ecosystems.

In all, 22 nominations for LMU’s Research Prizes for Gifted Students were submitted by 13 Faculties. The winning projects were chosen by a jury made up of representatives of all subject groups and the various status groups at LMU, on the basis of the following criteria: successful completion of the project, range and originality of the insights obtained, and potential for follow-up investigations. Each of the winning individuals (teams) receives 1000 euros.