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Dear families, Welcome to the University of Cologne!

Are you new to the University of Cologne or would like to apply for a job, but don't know how to balance your professional (dual) career and family life? The Dual Career & Family Support (CFS) is happy to help. We support you in finding ways to balance family, studying and working according to your personal needs and current situation - whether you are about to become parents, already have children and are looking for mobility options or are caring for relatives.


Experiences from Dual Career & Family Support (CFS, Dept.45)

By Rebekka Elkenhans, Anke Jonatzke, Ira Künnecke and Johanna Lissek

Family Support Children

Karl, who works as a research fellow at the University of Cologne, is expecting a baby with his partner. As they both want to return to work full-time after one year at the latest, they are looking for possible childcare options early on. Karl and his partner first use the detailed information on the CFS websites to find out about childcare options and registration procedures. They are also considering childcare options outside the usual opening hours of day care centres due to committee meetings, late afternoon courses, conferences etc.  During their research, they learn that they can book a space in the emergency care group (backup service) of the UoC’s Kinderhaus in certain instances or borrow equipment from CFS if they have to take their child with them to work (travel cot, toys etc.). It’s also possible to get a reimbursement of the incurred costs for a private babysitter at home via the CFS ‘family fund’ of the CFS.
As they still have some questions about parental leave and parental allowance, they attend an information event from the continuing education ‘Focus Compatibility’ programme offered by the CFS.  Finally, the couple can clarify any outstanding questions in a personal consultation.

Family Support Care

Katja is happy that she will now have a little more time after her children have moved out. She works in the university administration and would now like to play a more important role. But it is already becoming apparent that she will once again have a lot to do in her private life in the coming years: this time not in bringing up her children, but in caring for her parents, who increasingly need support. Ever since her father fell and became increasingly confused, her mother has been overwhelmed with caring for him. It is now necessary to find a care service, to find a space in a day care centre and to make many arrangements with her parents and siblings, but also with doctors, carers and the nursing care insurance fund.
It is a major challenge to balance the organization of care tasks and the care of family members with working. Katja uses the initial consultation of the Dual Career & Family Support to get an overview of the support offers regarding family care and leave of absence. The extensive information on the CFS websites is also helpful. She receives support in applying for paid leave in order to organize the nursing care for her father and attends the information events from the ‘Focus Compatibility’ programme.

Dual Career Support

Olivia is delighted to have been appointed a professor at the University of Cologne. She has received a flyer from the Dual Career Support with her letter of appointment and gets in touch while she is in the middle of her appointment negotiations. The career prospects for her husband David and the childcare options for their two children are also relevant to her decision as to whether she will accept the appointment at the UoC. Already in the first conversation via Zoom, she receives precise information about processes, deadlines and contact points for finding a school for her older daughter. She is supported by the Dual Career Support with the next steps with the schools and school authorities, as the family comes to Cologne from abroad and none of them speaks German yet. The CFS team is also successful in finding a place for the younger daughter after checking several options. David, who currently works as a project manager in the health care sector, meets the Dual Career Support Consultant online for several consulting appointments. The two analyse his current profile and his CV regarding job opportunities in Cologne and the region and explore potential employers. David optimizes his application documents and benefits from the feedback and tips of the Dual Career Support. On the recommendation of the Dual Career Support, he starts an online German course in his home country. While David goes through several promising application processes and the daycare place has already been confirmed, the couple decides to accept the position. They know that the Dual Career Support team will continue to support them after moving to Cologne until all issues have been clarified. 
(Due to the confidentiality of our CFS consulting topics, all persons in the texts are fictitious. However, their respective problems reflect those of many UoC employees.)