Recognized for excellence in teaching

Symbolic picture for the article. The link opens the image in a large view.
Prof. Dr. Kathrin Castiglione and PD Dr. Philipp Spitzer have received an award for excellent teaching from the Bavarian Ministry of Science. (Images: FAU/Giulia Iannicelli; Brinker)

Ministry of Science awards prize to FAU lecturers

MAP lecturer Prof. Dr. Kathrin Castiglione, Chair of Bioprocess Engineering and PD Dr. Philipp Spitzer from the Chair of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy have received the Prize for Excellence in Teaching from the Bavarian Ministry of Science in recognition of their outstanding teaching.

Award-giving ceremony for the Prize for Excellence in Teaching for 2021 and 2022 with Markus Blume, Bavarian State Minister of Science and the Arts, at the University of Bayreuth. Image: Peter Kolb
Award-giving ceremony for the Prize for Excellence in Teaching (from left PD Dr. Philipp Spitzer, Prof. Dr. Dr. Patricia Wiater, Vice President Education Prof. Dr. Bärbel Kopp, Dr. habil. Nadine Hamilton, Prof. Dr. Kathrin Castiglione) Image: Peter Kolb

What biotechnology has to do with our everyday lives

A woman with long blond hair and a purple blouse.
Prof. Dr. Kathrin Castiglione,
Chair of Bioprocess Engineering
(Image: FAU/Giulia Iannicelli)

Prof. Dr. Kathrin Castiglione offers lively and structured teaching units in which she teaches students content in an understandable way and provides large volumes of varied supplementary material.

Interaction is particularly important to her, and her aim is to make biotechnology tangible in everyday life: from the process to the product, whether that is yeast, bioethanol or enzymes used in detergents. Students learn to recognize connections themselves and consolidate their knowledge in the long term.

At the same time, Kathrin Castiglione encourages students to express their opinions on controversial topics on the basis of scientific findings. That apart, the scientist regularly provides insights into her academic work at the Chair and stands for interdisciplinary research at the interface between science and technology.

She demonstrated an extraordinary degree of dedication to digital teaching during the pandemic. In addition to her existing material, she offered videos that were discussed in online question sessions, creating helpful and long-lasting motivation for students to learn the content, while remaining flexible. As soon as the rules were loosened, she expanded her teaching to include hybrid elements, combining online and face-to-face teaching. This allowed her to meet the varying requirements of students during the pandemic at the same time as stretching them appropriately.

Kathrin Castiglione has been teaching and researching at FAU since 2018, where she holds the Chair of Bioprocess Engineering.

Putting research into teaching into practice

A man with a beard, blond hair and a white shirt.
PD Dr. Philipp Spitzer, Chair of
Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
(image: Brinke)

PD. Dr. Philip Spitzer, who has been the teaching coordinator at the Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen since 2012, combines two special features as a lecturer: his innovative teaching is not only greatly appreciated by students, he also conducts research into which aspects are motivating when it comes to teaching and how they are linked to students’ mental health.

He strives to make his teaching appealing, practically relevant, and tailored to ensure that students will remember what they are taught for a long time. He succeeds by using a wide range of formats, from index cards listing the most important psychiatric conditions and asynchronous e-learning options such as a course with the Virtual University of Bavaria (vhb), to interactive screencasts and flipped classroom formats or using people in simulations and podcasts with real patients. Philipp Spitzer is open to suggestions from students for any improvements or new additions.

He teaches students to communicate with patients with respect and empathy, creating the basis for successful communication between physicians and patients. He also integrates difficult topics such as the importance of obtaining an adequate sexual case history from patients or dealing with psychiatric phenomena in society, and offers teaching units to students from various subject areas as well as nursing students.

During the Covid pandemic he swapped over quickly and smoothly to digital teaching, and conducted a scientific study comparing the learning success of online and face-to-face formats.

Since 2015, Philipp Spitzer has been a senior physician and research associate at the Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen.

About the Prize for Excellence in Teaching

The Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded by the Bavarian Ministry of Science at the suggestion of the University President. The President nominates those candidates selected beforehand by students’ representatives. Recipients of the prize must have taught at an Bavarian university for at least two academic years. The award entails 5,000 euros prize money.

Prizes for 2019 and 2020 awarded

The Bavarian Ministry of Science has recently awarded the . The events were postponed several times due to the Covid pandemic.

Detailed information on award winners at FAU

Further information

Prof. Dr. Kathrin Castiglione
Chair of Bioprocess Engineering
Phone: +49 9131 85 23003

PD Dr. Philipp Spitzer
Chair of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Phone: +49 9131 85 33001