Witten/Herdecke University is a private, state-recognized non-profit university in Witten, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It was the first German private institution of higher education to receive accreditation as a "Universität", a status recognizing the university's academic quality equivalent to state-run universities and granting the right to award next to bachelor's and master's degrees doctorates and the German Habilitation.
Its foundation and history has been marked by often controversial debates and significant difficulties to establish the new university in the German educational system. In 1995 Times Higher Education noted that the university was considered by some "an idealistic model for the future of German higher education and [by] others ... a carbuncle on the country's fiercely state-dominated university landscape". Today Witten/Herdecke University has succeeded to be recognized as one of Germany's few private universities considered 'Humboldtian' and as a role model in terms of course structures, integration of practical and theoretical training and innovative approaches to payment of tuition fees.
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