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Social Management – Practical and Inspiring: Interview with Christiane Biedermann

Further education

Experience Social Management up close! In an exclusive series of interviews, our lecturers give you a look behind the scenes. Learn how practical seminars not only challenge students, but also encourage them. Discover why experienced experts have chosen the FH Potsdam and what insights they have to offer.

Part 3: Christiane Biedermann

What would you like to convey to students enrolled on the Master's in Social Management?

Anyone who works as a manager in a social organisation is often also responsible for how volunteers can get involved and collaborate, for example as mentors or in a volunteer visiting service. The technical term for this is volunteer management. In smaller organisations there are hundreds of volunteers, in charities there are thousands. Full-time employees often work together with volunteers and/or those providing voluntary services. In the "Volunteer Management" seminar, students acquire the expertise they need for personnel management with these different groups of staff, for example for team development with full-time employees and volunteers, as well as standards for promoting volunteering (e.g. insurance cover, volunteer and trainer allowances). They also learn about the operational tasks in volunteer management that are performed by full-time contact persons, i.e. volunteer managers, volunteer coordinators or volunteer managers.

What do you incorporate into your seminars from your professional practice?

I bring real cases from everyday working life into the seminar, which students use to develop solutions. Of course, these are anonymised. In doing so, I draw on a broad insight from my work with various social organisations. As a social pedagogue, I learned volunteer management from scratch in a district centre in London and established one of the first training courses in this field in Germany. For more than 20 years, I have been supporting and guiding board members, management teams, volunteer managers and volunteer and full-time teams in their volunteer work.

Why did you decide to teach at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam?

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam has the future of social organisations in mind. Because here, managers and those who want to become managers can study what they really need in the day-to-day work of social organisations: to be able to lead and manage full-time and voluntary staff in hybrid personnel structures. In addition, the degree programme is part-time, i.e. students with and without professional experience come together. Practical experience meets questions with a more theoretical approach or a critical view. This mix makes every seminar unique and exciting for me.

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