Полоцкий государственный университет


On March 19–21 2019, Professor Niels Habermann and his research assistant Svenja Haussner, representatives of the Faculty of Applied Psychology at SRH University Heidelberg (Heidelberg, Germany), visited the Faculty of Law at Polotsk State University under the Erasmus+ Academic Mobility programme.

Professor Niels Habermann and Svenja Haussner

Our German colleagues have already visited us. The Faculty of Law has cooperated successfully with SRH University Heidelberg since 2017 upon the initiative of Professor Helmut Kury, who is famous not only in Germany, but also among all the criminologists. To his mind, Polotsk State University has considerable research and educational perspectives, which makes it attractive for the universities of Western Europe. In this respect, he decided to help both interested sides to establish cooperation.

SRH University Heidelberg is a private university, which allows to make decisions regarding international cooperation faster than state educational establishments in Germany. Common desire to establish international cooperation came true in a very short time by submitting an application to participate in the Erasmus+ Academic Mobility programme during 2018-2020. The existing cooperation includes not only lecturers and students mobility, but also joint research and research and educational projects.

The first representative of SRH University Heidelberg who visited PSU was Svenja Haussner, research assistant at the Faculty of Applied Psychology.  In October 2018, she participated in the International Conference “Criminological Research and Its Implementation in Conditions of Transformational Processes: National and International Perspectives”. Together with Professor Helmut Kury, Svenja Haussner gave lectures on forensic psychology, visited the students of the Faculty of Law and of the Faculty of Humanities.

It should be noted that nowadays three students of the Faculty of Law at PSU are studying at SRH University Heidelberg. While preparing for the exchange, our German partners responded quickly and were very flexible and kind. There were no problems they could not solve.

Within the framework of the visit to the Faculty of Law, professor Helmut Kury gave lectures to the students at the 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-years of study. The topic was connected with professor’s academic and practical activity, because Helmut Kury is a lecturer at the university and a criminologist at the same time. He determines the sanity/insanity of an accused person, presence/absence of psychological problems that are relevant to a committed crime, observes personal mental qualities, level of aggression, emotional state at the moment of committing a crime, predicts the chance of recidivism, finds out if a person simulates a psychological or mental disorder.

Niels Habermann Gives Lectures

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call Professor N. Habermann a professional of the highest standing, because he has been dealing with psychological forensic examinations for over 20 years. In addition, he is passionate about his work and takes it seriously.

The professor tries to transfer his experience to the students, especially to the graduate ones, by involving them in the real work with suspects, accused and convicted during the studies at the university. This allows the students to prepare themselves for independent practical work right after graduating from the university. The strong correlation between education and practice, i.e. theoretical basis and personal experience, is the core of educational process at SRH University Heidelberg.

Lectures by Professor Niels Habermann

Without any doubt, Professor Niels Habermann’s lectures are of great interest to the students of the Faculty of Law who see themselves working as crime investigators, prosecutors, internal affairs or court officers in the future. Understanding the process of identifying the sanity (insanity) of a suspected/accused person, sufficient mental capacity and drivers of crime is of great importance for them. However, the given lectures were very informative for the students to see the nature of being a lawyer. Besides, such professor’s personal qualities as openness and personal charm show that his profession doesn’t determine his personality and that professional deformation of a personality is avoidable. Communication with people committing the crimes is the most of the work of a legal expert. It would seem that such people should repel and disgust by the fact that they did. The Professor noted that the main principle of communicating with examinees is to respect them, because doing one bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person. Respect is not only the key to solve expert problems, but also a means to prevent a professional deformation, because a feeling of disgust to lawbreakers is one of the reasons of the professional deformation.

Students at the Lectures of Niels Habermann

Classes with the Students of the Faculty of Law

Professor Niels Habermann and Svenja Haussner shared their rich experience in theory and practice.

Classes with Our Guests from Germany

Professor Niels Habermann was working on his thesis for five years. He examined 166 prisoners in prisons of Hamburg. The aim of his research was to identify the risk factors of sexual murders committed by adolescents. On finishing his research, he classified adult offenders into three groups depending on dominate risk factors: teenagers experiencing violence or lack of respect on the part of parents or persons acting as parents; teenagers with mental illnesses; teenagers committing the crime under the influence of emotional state.

The Law Faculty students were glad to meet and communicate with the guests from SRH University Heidelberg.

A Student of the Law Faculty and Guests from SRH University Heidelberg

It should be noted that the visit of the German colleagues has become the key event for the Faculty of Law. It’s quite difficult to express how Niels Habermann and Svenja Haussner are confident and professional on the one hand, and how their lectures are clear and understandable on the other hand. 

Guests from SRH University Heidelberg and Law Faculty Staff

As part of international cooperation, Criminology Summer School (“Crime and Punishment”) was held on June 1-8 at the Faculty of Law.

The Law Faculty staff expresses its gratitude to Professor Niels Habermann and Svenja Haussner for giving informative lectures as well as to Law Faculty students for working with our German colleagues. 

Special appreciation is due to the dedicated staff of Polotsk State University for coordinating and facilitating the visit. The Law Faculty staff expresses its thanks to Olga Kuchina – a specialist of the International Office – for providing the programme for the visit of our German colleagues, Lyudmila Anufriyenko – a senior lecturer of the Department of World Literature and Foreign Languages – for translation services. Well-coordinated work of the university staff made a good impact on the guests to continue collaboration with Polotsk State University in the future.

Yulia Prikolotina