Prof. Dr. Robert Grebner has been elected President of FHWS
Prof. Robert Grebner has been elected President of the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt. Prof. Grebner was elected on 31 May 2011 by the university council for the term between 15 March 2012 and 14 March 2018. He succeeds former President Prof. Dr. Heribert Weber who has reached the maximum number of two terms in office, i. e. twelve years.
In its meeting on 26 June 2017, the FHWS university council re-elected Professor Dr. Robert Grebner as President for a second term (starting on 15 March 2018). According to FHWS statutes, the term for the office of President is six years.
The aim of the university is to network even more intensively with regional and cross-regional companies and research institutions on the basis of innovative know-how, modern laboratory equipment and scientifically sound methods. Within the framework of knowledge and technology transfer, the FHWS will distinguish itself in applied research. In addition, the quality of teaching and continuing education are the focus of the university's internal quality management.
Prof. Dr. Grebner, born in Gerolzhofen (Bavaria) in 1966, was head of the university’s IT Service Centre before he assumed office. From 2002, he also fulfilled the functions of the Dean of Studies, Deputy Dean and Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Business Information Systems. From now on, he will be in charge of university management, with its two sites, more than 8,600 students and about 500 employees.
Interview after his first year in office
Questions asked to Prof. Dr. Robert Grebner after his first year in office.
Mr Grebner: Does the office of being President meet your expectations?
Yes, absolutely! So far, I used to approach new challenges without specific expectations. In the application process for the office of President, I had to give a presentation of my vision for the university. It was very exciting to develop something specific, and it helped me, to sharpen my view of FHWS and to think about my role as president. I’m a person who wants to tackle things directly and be successful. My motto is: “Don’t hesitate, just do it!” However, this concept is not applied easily on management level. First, a clear picture of the university management needs to be developed, which is then implemented step by step. For this purpose, the leitmotif which is currently being developed is extremely important and helpful.
What does ‘university’ mean to you?
To me, FHWS is a socio-technical system, and I feel great excitement in integrating all employees with regard to their talent and skills. Important for any social system is culture, especially working culture. There are so many different aspects to tasks, which makes it really hard to implement them. You have to be patient and you definitely need a sense of humour, but still take it seriously.
What are your personal short-, medium-, and long-term goals?
Definitely networked working, which is the vision for FHWS I have developed together with the extended university management early on in this year. I love this vision. My medium-term goals are the focus on internationalisation and applied sciences, and maintaining the high quality of teaching. In the short term, we need to continuously address the challenges of university buildings, the currently high amount of students, and funding.
Are you a lone visionary, or do you have lots of supporters at FHWS?
There are many tedious and competent FHWS members, which gives me great motivation. I wish to talk to all people, have discussions, and get everyone excited about our ideas. Unfortunately, my time is limited as I also have many appointments and meetings outside the university, to strengthen the network with businesses, our region, other universities, and our international partners.
How important are students to you?
FHWS wouldn’t make sense without its students. All the activities that each and every one of us unfolds ultimately serve to impart knowledge and its quality. Brilliantly, as university members, students are also part of the system. They are therefore required to work not only on themselves, but also on and for FHWS.
When there are issues or challenges: What is your approach in solving them?
The direct way! It is important to resolve points of friction and misunderstandings as quickly as possible! However, in an organisation of this scale, this only works via delegation principles. Here we can all, myself included, still learn a thing or two.
How important is the networked way of working, using modern technology, to you?
From my point of view, the most efficient way of working makes consistent use of modern media. But the best way of working together mixes electronic correspondence and personal contact. Many topics can only be discussed face-to-face to find a result efficiently. Apart from that, I love being efficient, but I also like to chill out on the sofa from time to time. The right balance is important.
Being a President is very time-consuming: Do your children already address you in a formal way?
No, they still call me “Dad”. I have always been the “researcher” type of person, so my family is used to the fact that I invest a lot of time in my work. But since I have become President, my few hours of spare time have been considerably reduced. Due to my new responsibility, some of my appointments are on Sundays. If it is possible, I invite my wife and children to join me for events. In turn, I try to find time for my family on other days, to keep everything balanced.
What is your favourite past time?
I love riding my bicycle, which also requires a certain balance. However, when I got the time, for example over the Christmas holidays, my favourite topic for research is “information” and how it is operationalised by machines. But what I like most during my spare time in the evenings is having a BBQ with my best friends.
Speaking of BBQ: What is your favourite food?
Well-marinated beef (“Sauerbraten”) with potato dumplings and red cabbage.