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News vom 16.11.2017

Professor Dr. Hans-Hennig von Grünberg, President of Hochschule Niederrhein, is “University Manager of the Year 2017”

The honouring, presented by the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT and the CHE Centre for Higher Education, aims to acknowledge leaders of German higher education institutions who have shaped the development of their organisation with outstanding leadership and initiated innovative change processes. The honouring ceremony will take place during the “Hochschule & Bildung” ZEIT KONFERENZ in Berlin on 16 November 2017.

“In order to find the University Manager of the year, we initially did a data-based preselection to identify which higher education institutions have especially positive development dynamics. Despite being located in a region that is heavily affected by structural change, Hochschule Niederrhein came out top in this respect,” reported Professor Dr. Frank Ziegele, Executive Director of the CHE Centre for Higher Education, who is also a member of the jury.

“Under von Grünberg’s management, Hochschule Niederrhein has strongly redeveloped its competencies of knowledge and technology transfer,” stated the jury, explaining their reason for selecting Hans-Hennig Grünberg as University Manager of the Year. He is also remarkably committed to foster dual study programmes at Hochschule Niederrhein. Von Grünberg advocates an independent, bold model for universities of applied sciences that the jury believes could be one way of a future-oriented understanding of this type of university.

Von Grünberg is convinced that, according to this model, universities of applied sciences have a special role to play as partners in their respective region. He describes the role played by universities of applied sciences, as opposed to universities, as follows: they have a wealth of practical experience owing to study options with a relevance to professional fields, they offer degree programmes that take into account the regional labour market, and they conduct application-oriented research and transfer the findings to the region, which has an immediate positive effect on that particular region.

The jury appreciated the fact that von Grünberg pursues this mission at Hochschule Niederrhein by adopting his very own style of leadership. Once a strategy has been agreed, for example, he sees himself as the “guardian” of that strategy, seeking to implement it with an unswerving, infectious optimism, taking on board his colleagues.




Professor Dr. Hans-Hennig von Grünberg was nominated University Manager of the Year 2017 at the Presidents’ Dinner. Professor Dr. Ulrich Radtke (Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen) gave the laudatio: (seated, from left to right) Marion Schmidt (Head of University Development and Strategic Communication, COGNOS AG, and initiator of the honouring), Professor Dr. Hans-Hennig von Grünberg (President of Hochschule Niederrhein), Professor Dr. Frank Ziegele (Executive Director of the CHE Centre for Higher Education and Professor of Higher Education and Research Management), (standing) Martin Spiewak (Editor of the Science section, DIE ZEIT), Dr. Rainer Esser (Chief Executive Officer of DIE ZEIT), Professor Dr. Ulrich Radtke (Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen), (Photo Phil Dera for DIE ZEIT)
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Information about the selection procedure:
At the preselection stage, the change processes achieved at the higher education institutions were initially considered in the search for the University Manager of the Year. These change processes were identified on the basis of data provided by organisations such as the German Academic Exchange Service, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the CHE University Ranking. As a result, von Grünberg and 28 other managers of strongly developing higher education institutions were questioned in writing about their leadership philosophy and the measures they have taken to achieve these results. In a survey to shed light on the findings gained from a different perspective, the relevant vice rectors, vice presidents, directors and vice presidents of finance and administration as well as chairs of university councils were asked about the leadership performance of their university management. Six particularly outstanding leaders were nominated for the honouring.

The following individuals were also nominated for the University Manager of the Year 2017:
Professor Dr. Wolfgang-Uwe Friedrich, President of the University of Hildesheim Foundation Professor Dr. Karim Khakzar, President of Fulda University of Applied Sciences
Professor Dr. Anne Lequy, Rector of Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences
Professor Dr. Hans Jürgen Prömel, President of Technische Universität Darmstadt
Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of the University of Konstanz.

The University Manager of the Year was selected by a jury made up of:
Professor Dr. Volker Linneweber (former President of Saarland University, University Manager of the Year 2016), Professor Dr. Joachim Metzner (former President of TH Köln), Professor Dr. Wilfried Müller (former Rector of the University of Bremen and University Manager of the Year 2012), Marion Schmidt (Head of University Development and Strategic Communication, COGNOS AG, and initiator of the honouring), full university Professor Dr. Sabine Seidler (Rector of TU Wien), Martin Spiewak (Editor of the Science section, DIE ZEIT) and Professor Dr. Frank Ziegele (Executive Director of the CHE Centre for Higher Education and Professor of Higher Education and Research Management).


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