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31 October 2003

New University Council for the University of Heidelberg

Encouraging a mentality at the University that sees reform and change as a positive challenge—New Chairman: Dr. Dr. Peter Bettermann

„Neuer“ und „alter“ Vorsitzender

"New" and "old" chairman – left: Peter Bettermann, right: Ulrich Cartellieri; in the background left: Manfred Lautenschläger, right: Paul Kirchhof

On 27 October 2003 the newly constituted Heidelberg University Council convened for the first time. The Council is the supreme leadership and supervision body of the University, comparable in the scope of its functions to a supervisory board in the field of private enterprise. It comes up for re-election every three years. The Council is made up of six external members and seven members from within the University. The external members are personalities from the fields of business, culture and higher education. They contribute external know-how, placing it at the service of the University's supreme decision-making body. The internal members assure the feedback process between the Council and central actors within the University itself.

Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff believes that this form of cooperation has proved its worth: "The external members provide impulses that serve greater professionalism within the University. The internal members ensure that the Council does not lose touch with the practical concerns of the University. This dual structure gives the University Council a clear focus for its expertise and hence a special impact."

Universitätsräte der ersten und zweiten Amtszeit

University Council, first and second period, (left to right) Avi Primor, Walter Kröll, Peter Comba, Karin von Welck, Peter Bettermann, Jens Marx, Manfred Lautenschläger, Ulrich Cartellieri, Gerd Apfel, Paul Kirchhof, Eva Terberger, Herbert Schleich, Anette Kämmerer, Christoph von Friedeburg, Stefan Maul, Jürgen Wolfrum, Blanche Schwappach.

The task of the University Council is to advise the Rectorate on fundamental issues and strategic development. Competitive elements need to be given greater prominence in the workings of the University as a corporate body. In the years to come, the University will need to redefine its position. After the expiry of the Solidarity Pact with the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2007, dramatic changes can be anticipated. The strategies for coping with this situation need to be mapped out well in advance. New sources of revenue must be identified and the University Council regards it as its duty to indicate avenues to explore in this endeavour. Demographic developments will also face the University with new challenges. The idea is to create a mentality in the University that sees reform and change as a positive challenge. The University Council is anxious to conduct a constructive and fruitful dialogue with all groups in the University, notably with the Senate and the professors.

Dr. Dr. Peter Bettermann has been elected as the new Chairman of the Council. Bettermann is a personally liable partner and management spokesman of Freudenberg und Co KG in Weinheim. He was formerly chairman of the board of directors of German BP and has long been associated with the University in various honorary advisory capacities. "The University is not a business enterprise," Rector Hommelhoff remarked, "but in the handling of organisational processes and structures it can only gain from the experience of industry. As a scientist and manager, Dr. Bettermann stands for the transfer of practical know-how. The University is fortunate indeed to have secured his services as chairman of its highest strategic decision-making body."

Prof. Dr. Paul Kirchhof has been re-elected as deputy chairman. Alongside his work as a judge at the Constitutional Court, including the initiation of rulings by the supreme court aimed at a more equitable tax burden for families, he has achieved national prominence with his proposal for a simple and generally comprehensible model for the taxation of companies and citizens.

The University Council embarked on its second period in office on 1 October 2003. It meets three to four times a year. Alongside Dr. Bettermann, the external members are Prof. Dr. Walter Kröll, President of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Manfred Lautenschläger, honorary senator of the University of Heidelberg and founder and chairman of the supervisory board of MLP, former Israeli ambassador Avi Primor, Prof. Dr. Karin von Welck, secretary general of the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States and one further member yet to be nominated by Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Higher Education, Research and Art.

Alongside Prof. Kirchhof, the other internal members are Prof. Dr. Stefan Maul, professor of Assyriology at the Faculty of Philosophy, Prof. Dr. Stefan Comba, professor of inorganic chemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Dr. Blanche Schwappach, research group leader at the Molecular Biology Centre (ZMBH), Dr. Annette Kämmerer, senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychology (Faculty of Behavioural and Empirical Cultural Studies), Jens Marx as student representative and Gerd Apfel, chairman of the University's Staff Council.

Looking back on the University Council's first period in office from 1 October 2000 to 30 September 2003, Rector Hommelhoff's assessment was favourable: "The work we have done has created a basis for future development." At a reception in Haus Bühl, he expressed his thanks to the members leaving the Council, notably Dr. Cartellieri, who was chairman of the Council in its first period: "The University Council has got strategic development off to a good start. The implementation of the proposals made by the Council is our present concern. We'll keep the ball rolling."

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Walter Kühme
University of Heidelberg
University Council
Seminarstrasse 2
D-69117 Heidelberg.
phone: 06221/544400, fax: 544402

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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