TU Dresden enters 2nd phase of Excellence Initiative

TU Dresden enters 2nd phase of Excellence Initiative

Note: This is a translated German press release.

The Excellence Initiative, founded by the German federal and state governments, enters its second phase at the TU Dresden this year.

“Built on past achievements, the TU Dresden will foster its graduate schools, excellence clusters and institutional strategies to rise above the competition as an Elite University,” said the Rector of the TU Dresden, Professor Hermann Kokenge, in a press conference.

An important part of the university’s application for the Excellence Initiative was the creation of the Science and Culture Alliance DRESDEN-concept. Founded in 2009, the Alliance elected four senior partners to form four Scientific Area Committees, SAC, reflecting TU Dresden’s strengths: biomedicine/bioengineering, information technology/microelectronics, material/energy efficiency, culture and knowledge. . Additionally, an administrative taskforce regularly meets on issues such as research infrastructure, including IT platforms and research equipment.
Another part of TUD’s Excellence Initiative strategy is the creation of four new departments to manage the university’s fourteen faculties. The new structuring aims to make the university, its research and its management faster, more efficient and more productive.
“The new university organization combines successful corporate structures with the special requirements of a multi-discipline university,” Kokenge said. “We want to coordinate university-wide issues to a better and consistently high standard.”
The university’s 14 faculties will remain semi-autonomous but will be managed by and grouped under four new departments.

The point and strategy of the restructuring is clear. “We’re clearing up the last details,” Kokenge said. “We’ll turn the rudder, in the first half of 2010, in the new direction. Now it’s necessary that all the members of the university work together so that we all can share the benefits of these changes.”

The rector greeted the announcement of further financial backing for the Excellence Initiative, made by the Saxon Minister of Science and Art, Professor Sabine von Schorlemer. The funding will come by means of a Landesfonds, a fund financed by Saxony.
“One reason we didn’t get the Elite University title in the first phase of the Excellence Initiative was, in my opinion, Saxony’s reserved handling of the situation,” Kokenge said. The new fund should make it possible for the university to recruit, in competition with other universities on international level, the best faculty members.

The rector was critical of any further job cuts. “We’ve been driving at the absolute limit for years,” he said. The state should now take the chance to develop the student-to-faculty ratio to an acceptable level. “Those who would cut back on education funding to save money put the future of the country at risk.”

Kokenge indicated that the increase in next winter’s enrollments would be accompanied by faculty reductions. “The number of students enrolling has increased by 12,000 since 1998 and at the same time we’ve lost 408 jobs,” he said.
Dresden placed 13th out of 18 universities in a student-to-professor comparison, with a ratio of 72.5 students per professor.

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