The lectures for winter semester 2023/24 started yesterday. What do you wish the instructors, the students and the first-semester students who are just starting out at HAW Hamburg over these initial days?
My wish for our first-semester students is that they can start this new life chapter with courage and curiousity. I can remember the start of my studies clearly: I was the first person in my family to pursue university studies and I moved to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for my degree and subsequent doctoral studies. For this reason, I can really understand potential feelings of being lost and stressed at the beginning. I hope the students feel comfortable at our university and in Hamburg and that they can discover and unfold their potential. We provide support for our students on this exciting academic and personal journey. My main advice for our first-semester students is to approach others with confidence and openness: your instructors and fellow students are looking forward to meeting you.
My wish for our students who have already been at HAW Hamburg for longer is positive energy and decisiveness with respect to their plans. During university studies there are always moments that require an active choice: Do I want to study abroad? How much can I work during my studies? How much do I need to work? Should I apply for a scholarship? Which internship should I do? What topic should I pick for my thesis? What should I do when I'm done with my studies? Roughly 17,000 students here at HAW Hamburg – all of whom have their own personalities, life situations and needs – will be asking themselves these and similar questions. We're interested in getting to know our students as fellow people and thus being able to support them in the best possible way, including in these moments.
I wish our professors and instructors both equanimity and pleasure in generating new ideas. I've already heard from some of them that they used the lecture-free period to develop new teaching concepts. I think this intention and drive to try out new formats in their own teaching and to exchange ideas with others about it is great. I also hope that we all start the lecture period in positive anticipation of seeing new and familiar faces and with a desire for change – in our own areas of responsibility and for our university as a whole. As an instructor and a former department head I know, though, that it's not always possible to have a positive attitude. The university is in a difficult financial situation, and a lot of people are keeping critical basic teaching operations running through huge personal effort. This is why it's also important to me in my new capacity to 'stay on top of' the needs of the academic staff, the professors, and the colleagues in the administration who support their work. Only if I hear about what's going on in the faculties can we find good solutions together.
Your transition from teaching to the Executive Board means a new chapter is beginning for you as well. What are your plans and ideas as you start your term as vice president?
As the Executive Board team we are responsible for leadership, which means that we get to shape the future of this university together with all of the groups that make up its membership. Especially in this period of societal challenges, being able to play a role in creating conditions that enable innovative science and education is a highly meaningful activity for me, which motivates me and gives me an incentive to act. Before I was appointed at HAW Hamburg I worked for over 10 years as a strategy consultant. So I'm looking forward to contributing my professional experience and the tools I have acquired to the strategy development and implementation process for 'HAW Hamburg 2030' over the coming months. I haven't worked at the university all that long, so I can offer my fresh perspective on the one hand and bring in my academic governance experience as department head and the vice dean for studies and teaching in the Faculty of Design, Media and Information on the other.