• Before the semester: Some weeks before the semester starts, there is a meeting for the assignment of teaching duties, organized by one of the assistants. The organizer will send you an e-mail before the meeting and you can send him your preferences (in which courses you would like to assist). Assistants are needed for exercise classes (Übung) and seminars (Proseminar/Seminar) – the teaching duties for the two differ considerably (see below). The professors can choose one assistant from their group for each of their courses. These assistants don’t have to attend the assignment meeting. Professors can choose assistants against their will, but they usually don’t.
  • During the semester (case Übung): An Übung is always associated to a lecture taught by a professor or a lecturer. Every week, there is a new exercise sheet. Depending on the course you are teaching, the problems on these sheets are prepared by the professor or the assistants. The students are required to hand in written solutions to the new sheet about a week after it was made available. You have to correct the solutions of the students in your group. Usually, you have to assign points for each exercise and in the end, the students are required to have at least a certain percentage of the total amount of points. In some cases, they also have to pass a written exam, which is corrected by the assistants of the course and sometimes also by the professor, or they have to come to the blackboard a certain number of times to present their solutions. Each week, there are two times 45 minutes of Übung ( usually x.15 to (x+1).00 and (x+1).15 to (x+2).00, but you can also do x.15 to (x+1).45 ). There, you give back the corrected solutions to the students, and the correct solutions are discussed with them/written on the blackboard. Depending on the course (and sometimes on your own preference), the assistant may present the solutions to all exercises or students may be encouraged or even required to present their solution to an exercise.
  • During the semester (case Proseminar/Seminar): The professor prepares topics for talks that are assigned to the participating students in the first week of the seminar. Each week, either one student gives a 90-minutes talk or two students give a 45-minutes talk each. About a week before their talk, you should meet them to discuss their talk with them and answer their questions.
  • During the semester (case Praktikum): The Praktikum is not (directly) associated to a lecture. The regular workload for an assistant is to attend the Praktikum three times a week for two hours. During this time, the students have time to solve the weekly exercise sheet and can ask questions about it. Moreover, they can show their solutions to the assistant in order to get the points required to pass the Praktikum. In the end of the lecture time, there is a written exam, which is also corrected by the assistants.
  • During the semester (Zwischenevaluation): Some weeks after the beginning of the semester, you will receive a questionnaire for the so-called Zwischenevaluation (intermediate evaluation). You should distribute this questionnaire to your students, so they can give feedback on the exercise class and the lecture or the seminar respectively. You should also discuss their feedback concerning the lecture/seminar with the professor who teaches the lecture/seminar.
  • At the end of the semester: At the end of the semester, the students will evaluate the lecture and the exercises by filling out a survey during the lecture. These surveys are collected and evaluated by the students themselves; the professor who taught the lecture and the assistants associated to it will then receive the results by e-mail. All evaluations will also be sent to the members of the Unterrichtskommission (see below).
  • Beisitz for oral exams: Oral exams are held for all lectures in  January and February (for the autumn semester) and from mid-August to mid-September (for the spring semester). Each assistant has to attend some of these exams as an independent second examiner (besides the professor who gave the lecture) called Beisitzer/Beisitzerin. PhD students attend exams for lectures of the first year, while post-docs attend all other exams; in each of these two categories, the exams are distributed evenly among the assistants. The exams for lectures of the first year are all held in summer, so PhD students don’t have to do Beisitz in winter. You are not expected to ask questions during the exam. The principal examiner might expect you to take notes of what the student says. Marks range from 1 (worst) to 6 (best) on a 0.5 scale, the student has passed the exam if he or she obtains the mark 4 or higher.
  • Colloquium/PhD Defence: This is not really a duty, but it is a tradition of the mathematics institute in Basel that PhD defences as well as colloquia are attended by all members of the institute, regardless of whether the PhD student or colloquium speaker works in their field or not. The defence or colloquium talk is always followed by an “apéro riche”.


  • Administration: The mathematical institute employs two secretaries. Barbara Fridez (barbara.fridez@clutterunibas.ch) is in charge of reimbursing you for travel- and conference-related expenses. Heidi Karypidis (heidi.karypidis@clutterunibas.ch) is in charge of booking rooms for lectures, exercise classes and seminars. If you need to book a room for a nonrecurring event, you can send a request yourself via the online portal http://rauminfo.unibas.ch. In this case please prefer always the rooms at Spiegelgasse 1/5 if available. Rooms on floor 5 and 6 of Spiegelgasse 1 can be booked via Outlook or on a panel directly outside the room.
  • Library: The library is located on floor U3. If you want to borrow books from it, write an e-mail to the librarian Cäcilia Affolter-Spitteler (cecile.affolter-spitteler@unibas.ch) in order to make an account and get a card of the university library.
  • Institutsleitung: The Institutsleitung consists of all professors in mathematics as well as the managing director of the department Christine Meier (christine.meier@clutterunibas.ch). It takes most decisions concerning the daily administration of the institute. The assistants are not represented in this body, but they can make propositions which can then be examined during these meetings.
  • Departementsversammlung: The assembly of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science convenes once every semester. It votes on the yearly budget of the department. It elects the chairman and vice-chairman of the department and the members of the Unterrichtskommission (see below). Every member of the department is invited to attend the assembly. The assistants elect one representative who can vote for them in the assembly and who can apply for the admission of an item to the agenda of the assembly.
  • Unterrichtskommission: The teaching committee for mathematics convenes once every semester. It looks at all evaluations and decides on changes in the study regulations. It consists of three professors, one assistant representative, one student representative and one representative of the administration. 
  • Fakultätsversammlung: This is the assembly of the whole faculty of natural sciences; it convenes several times per semester. Only elected representatives can attend it. The assistants in mathematics can elect one representative.


Updated 14.2.2019