For me, FHWS is:
The longest post in my professional career, returning to my home in Lower Franconia and combining a hobby with a job.
What do you appreciate about FHWS?
FHWS is a medium-sized, regionally focused higher education institution with distinctive subject specialisations in technology, design, natural sciences, economics, social sciences and the humanities. The breadth of subjects means that students can choose from many degree programmes without the individual disappearing into anonymity. I really enjoyed the collegial relationships and atmosphere.
What was the best decision in your professional career and why? What has changed since then?
In my youth, I had three main areas of interest (despite attending a specialist humanities grammar school): handball, electrical circuitry and mathematics. After completing my general higher education qualification, earning my living by playing handball seemed impossible when I assessed myself realistically. So I studied physics and mathematics after my general higher education qualification, as unfortunately the University of Würzburg didn’t offer a degree programme in electrical engineering. After completing my degree in physics, I mainly worked in the fields of electrical engineering and information technology during the course of the rest of my professional career. Mathematics has remained a hobby of mine until today.
My work, which always focused on engineering, was interrupted in the period from 2000 to 2012, as during this time I was acting as President of FHWS after being elected by the former Assembly and the extended Senate. I tried to exercise this office for the benefit of the entire higher education institution without denying my background in science and technology.
What do you think has shaped FHWS the most over the last 50 years?
The consistent further development from a rather “school-based” polytechnic to a “democratically working” higher education institution with strong self-government. FHWS has made good use of the opportunities that this development process has offered, especially from a professional point of view:
- Broadly based range of subjects with many Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes
- Expansion of applied research with opportunities for collaborative doctorates
- Study opportunities for experienced professionals without formal university admission
- Constant technology transfer with many external partners
What is your vision of the future for FHWS? What might FHWS look like in 50 years’ time?
FHWS should consistently continue on the path it has taken over the past 50 years. Universities of applied sciences have a “social lift function”, i.e. young people from rather educationally disadvantaged backgrounds have a good chance of obtaining an academic degree at our type of higher education institution. This should still be the case in 50 years’ time.
What is your insider tip for the cities of Würzburg or Schweinfurt and why?
Since I was born and raised in Würzburg, and later lived near Schweinfurt for 35 years, I would like to name an “insider tip” for each of our locations:
1) In Würzburg, during the “pre-coronavirus era”, I often walked with my wife from the city centre to our university building on “Sanderheinrichsleitenweg” on Saturday afternoons, took a cappuccino from the vending machine in the cafeteria there and drank it with a fantastic view over the Main valley. Our walk back then led through the Alandsgrund and on the footpath along the Main back to Würzburg Mitte. Important: Don’t forget to take your cafeteria card with you!
2) Not far from the FHWS main building in Schweinfurt (right by St. Michael’s church) is the start to the Franconian Way of St. James from Schweinfurt to Würzburg, which is well signposted by the “shell symbol”. This is a good route for walking towards Geldersheim and then on to Egenhausen etc. as far as Würzburg. I recommend taking a snack with you for your break, as the food supply on the way is rather hit and miss.