Newsportal - Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Starting as a team (from left): Vice-Rector Isolde Karle, Chancellor Christina Reinhardt, Rector Martin Paul, Vice-Rector Denise Manahan-Vaughan, Vice-Rector Kornelia Freitag (not pictured: Vice-Rector Günther Meschke)
Günther Meschke has been elected Vice-Rector for Research and Transfer by the University Election Assembly.
Kornelia Freitag continues her successful work as Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.
Denise Manahan-Vaughan assumes the position of Vice-Rector for Structure, Strategy and Planning.
Isolde Karle takes office as Vice-Rector for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development.
Martin Paul is the new Rector of Ruhr University for a term of six years. He was previously President of Maastricht University.© RUB, Marquard
Christina Reinhardt has been Chancellor of Ruhr University Bochum since December 2015.
Martin Paul has been appointed Rector of Ruhr University by NRW Science Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen at the end of October 2021.
Martin Paul and Chancellor Christina Reinhardt with retired Rector Axel Schölmerich on the Ruhr University campus.
New Rectorate takes up its duties
A team of four women and two men will lead the Ruhr University Bochum over the next six years. The term of office of the new Rectorate began on 1 November 2021. On 28 October, three female and one male vice-rector were elected by the University Election Assembly. The new Rector Professor Martin Paul, who moved to Bochum from the University of Maastricht, and Chancellor Christina Reinhardt are now aided by:
- Professor Kornelia Freitag as Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs
- Professor Isolde Karle as Vice-Rector for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development
- Professor Denise Manahan-Vaughan as Vice-Rector for Structure, Strategy and Planning
- Professor Günther Meschke as Vice-Rector for Research and Transfer
Kornelia Freitag, long-standing Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, will continue her successful work for another six years. The scholar of american studies was a member of the previous Rectorate, headed by Professor Axel Schölmerich from 2015 to 2021.
The theologian and university pastor, Isolde Karle, has been appointed to the newly created Vice-Rectorate for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development. Karle was most recently the spokesperson for the professors’ representation in the Senate.
Irish neuroscientist, Denise Manahan-Vaughan, succeeds Professor Uta Hohn and shall head the Vice-Rectorate for Structure, Strategy and Planning. Manahan-Vaughan is the spokesperson of an ongoing DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) focussing on brain research at the Ruhr University.
Austrian-born civil engineer, Günther Meschke, succeeds Professor Andreas Ostendorf as Vice-Rector for Research. Meschke is the spokesperson of a current SFB on mechanised tunnelling.
Being successful together as a university
“I’m very much looking forward to working with this great team and congratulate everyone sincerely on their election,” says Rector Paul. “It is one of my guiding principles that we will only achieve unity at our university if we take advantage of the positive facets of our diverse community and prevent any kind of discrimination. This is the only way we can be successful as a university, and look optimistically towards the future. I have therefore decided to install a fourth Vice-Rectorate for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development, in addition to the three more traditional Vice-Rectorates.”
As Vice-Rector for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development, Isolde Karle sees the Ruhr University’s role as follows: “As the reform university in the Ruhr region, the Ruhr University is ideally suited to be a role model in the German academic landscape when it comes to diversity – and, by this means, achieve new levels of excellence.” It is a question of fairness, and is crucial for contemporary academia to open up and harness all human talent resources. By this means we can enable all members of society who experience discrimination to participate fully in academic life and academic endeavours. This strategy addressed challenges faced by women, transgender and intersex individuals, first-generation students, members of immigrant families, people who are discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, or their sexual orientation, people with disabilities, and people with different cultural and religious backgrounds.
Isolde Karle would like to systematise and further develop the existing support services in the field of diversity, with the aim of developing a central diversity strategy for the Ruhr University.
Ensuring academic success regardless of family background
The Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, too, stresses that established Ruhr University strategies that promote fairness in diversity must be continued: “Graduate surveys and comparative studies show that we have been successful in ensuring student success regardless of family background, that the opportunities for first-generation students, female students and international students are higher with us than the German average, and that the Ruhr University scores above average in research-based learning compared to other German universities.”
Kornelia Freitag plans to build on these successes – also, when it comes to the two major goals of digitisation and internationalisation. Here, she considers the Covid-19 virus-related changes of the past semesters to be a good starting point for modernisation of teaching and learning approaches. Another focus of her next term of office shall be the European university network UNIC (the European University of Post-Industrial Cities). In line with UNIC’s goals, the general objective of learning and teaching with an international focus at the Ruhr University will be to support students in becoming active citizens, Europeans, and as such, to decisively shape our shared future.
On the way to the next round of the Excellence Strategy
As Vice-Rector for Research and Transfer, Günther Meschke defines his primary task as the preparation and support of research cluster applications to be submitted within the next call for proposals within the Excellence Strategy. With the current Clusters of Excellence, Research Departments and Research Buildings of the Ruhr University, the foundation has been laid for further profile development within the University, according to Meschke. Moreover, additional focus areas (such as materials sciences, neuroscience & cognitive science) are already in development in the current university strategy to identify potential candidates for further excellence cluster applications. “On the basis of our own strengths and our unique research profiles, I see further opportunities that can arise from cooperations within the University Alliance Ruhr,” points out Günther Meschke. “I would like to advance this process actively and dynamically – hand in hand with our partners and closely coordinated with the Vice-Rectorate for Structure, Strategy and Planning.”
A successful university thrives on the scientific creativity of its researchers, a good balance of individual excellence, and outstanding collaborative research that provides room for the development of new fields of study. These are to be strengthened through tailor-made funding programmes. In this context, Meschke sees great potential for interdisciplinary research and important contributions from the Ruhr University in the fields of sustainability and climate change.
Roadmap for the future and success-oriented path of the university
Denise Manahan-Vaughan, too, emphasises the outstanding importance of sustainability as a key issue. As Vice-Rector for Structure, Strategy and Planning, she intends to explore the viability of developing an interdisciplinary focus area on the topic of sustainability and conservation. “The Ruhr University should become the think tank, action initiator, as well as the educational & research hub in this field,” says Manahan-Vaughan. Other fields in which Ruhr University is well-equipped to take on a pioneering role are in the societal challenges faced by disease co-morbidities acquired in an ever-aging population, and those created by the digitisation of all corners of life. “My plan is to invite key researchers and thinkers from the relevant faculties and institutions to regular brain-storming sessions, in order to identify focal points and implement strategic planning.”
This will be integrated into an overarching, strategic and structural roadmap for the Ruhr University’s future, and success-oriented, path.
Kornelia Freitag was born in Potsdam in 1958. She studied Slavic and English Studies at the University of Potsdam. After completing her PhD and following research stays at Stanford University, she obtained an habilitation degree in American Studies at the University of Potsdam. In 2002, she was appointed to the C4-professorship on “Amerikastudien/American Studies” at the Ruhr University Bochum.
From 2007 to 2009, she was Dean of the Faculty of Philology, and between 2010 and 2013, she was the spokesperson for the humanities in the Ruhr University Research School. From 2012 to 2015, she was a member of the Ruhr University Senate.
Since 1 October 2015, she has served as Vice-Rector for Academic and International Affairs at the Ruhr University Bochum. In this role, she was the spokesperson for the Vice- Rector’s Work Group for Academic Affairs, NRW, from 2018 to 2020, and has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Learning & Teaching Initiative of the European University Association since 2018.
Isolde Karle studied Protestant theology in Tübingen, Cambridge (Massachusetts/USA) and Münster. Following her first ecclesiastical examination in 1992 in Tübingen, she worked for three years as a research assistant at the Institute for Practical Theology at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel. There, she obtained her PhD in 1996 with a dissertation on the topic of “Seelsorge in der Moderne. Eine Kritik der psychoanalytisch orientierten Seelsorgelehre” (“Pastoral Care in the Modern Age. A Critique of the Psychoanalytically Oriented Doctrine of Pastoral Care”). Following her vicariate and ordination, she obtained an habilitation degree at the Faculty of Protestant Theology at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn. Karle has been Professor of Practical Theology at the Ruhr University since November 2001. She has been university pastor since 2003 and was Dean of the Faculty of Protestant Theology from 2009 to 2011. In 2014, Isolde Karle received a call to the Humboldt University in Berlin, which she declined in 2015.
Since 2015, she has been director of the newly founded Institute for Religion and Society, and she was Ruhr University’s appointments commissioner until 2021. Since 2017, Isolde Karle has been a member of the Standing Conference for Pastoral Care in the Evangelical Church of Germany; from 2017 to 2021 she was spokesperson for the professors’ representation in the the Ruhr University Senate.
On 1 November 2021, Isolde Karle became Vice-Rector for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development at RUB.
Denise Manahan-Vaughan was born in Ireland and is a brain researcher. Having graduated in natural sciences at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland, she obtained her PhD in neuropharmacology at TCD at the age of 27. After her doctorate, she moved to the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg and five years later obtained a habilitation degree in physiology from Otto-von-Guericke University. Following several years as a research group supervisor at the Johannes Müller Institute of Physiology at the Charité, Berlin, she accepted the appointment as Professor of Neuroscience, and Director of the newly founded "International Graduate School of Neuroscience" (IGSN) at the Ruhr University in 2003.
In 2007, she turned down calls from the University of Freiburg and University College Galway, Ireland, and accepted the the Ruhr University’s call to head the Department of Neurophysiology at the Faculty of Medicine instead. In 2010, she successfully recruited a Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 874, 2010-2022) on "Integration and Representation of Sensory Processes" and co-founded the "Research Department of Neuroscience" in the same year. Since 2017, she has been Director of the Institute of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine. In 2006, she founded the "Network of European Neuroscience Schools", which connects graduate programmes in neuroscience across Europe, and in 2019, she founded "NeuroNexxt", a digital platform to increase the international visibility and networking of women neuroscientists.
On 1 November 2021, Denise Manahan-Vaughan became Vice-Rector for Structure, Strategy and Planning at the Ruhr University Bochum.
Günther Meschke studied civil engineering at TU Wien. There, he received his PhD in 1989 and was awarded the Max Kade Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 1991 he spent one year as a research fellow at Stanford University. From 1996 to 1998, Meschke was an associate university professor at the Institute for Strength of Materials at TU Wien. In 1998, he was appointed to the Chair of Structural Mechanics at Ruhr University Bochum. From 2001 to 2004, he was executive director at the Institute for Structural Engineering at RUB and, from 2004 to 2006, dean at the Faculty of Civil Engineering. In 2012, he turned down a call to the Graz University of Technology. Günther Meschke has been spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre 837 “Interaction Models for Mechanical Tunnelling” since 2012 and spokesperson of the Research Department “Subsurface Modeling and Engineering” since 2014.
Since 2017, he has served in his second period of office as member of the Ruhr University’s Senate, where he is the deputy speaker of the professors’ representation. Meschke is a member of the Austrian Science Council and of various scientific academies, including the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) and the Academia Europaea.
Günther Meschke became Vice-Rector for Research and Transfer at the Ruhr University on 1 November 2021.
Martin Paul, born in Saarland in 1958, has been Rector of Ruhr University Bochum since 1 November 2021. Previously, he was President of Maastricht University in the Netherlands since 2011. Since 2016, he has been a member of the expert committee of the German Excellence Strategy. From 1997 to 2008, he was Professor and Head of the Institute for Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Free University of Berlin, University Hospital Benjamin Franklin, and from 2003 at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. In 2008, he accepted the appointment to the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at Maastricht University. Before he was elected President, his roles included dean of his faculty and vice-president of the university.
As a researcher, he has contributed significantly to a large number of scientific publications; more recently he has been focussing on university strategy and creating innovative structures for research and education. His experience in management and leadership positions is longstanding and profound, proven among other things by numerous functions and memberships in academic networks.
Martin Paul studied human medicine in Heidelberg from 1978 to 1985 and received his doctorate there. He is a medical specialist in clinical pharmacology and hypertension (high blood pressure). He is married and has two adult children.
Christina Reinhardt was born in Leinfelden, Baden-Württemberg, in 1968. From 1989 to 1993, she studied geography, sociology and spatial planning at Ruhr University Bochum, where she was awarded her PhD at the Chair of Social and Economic Geography in 1998. In 2000, she took up her first job in the Ruhr University administration, developing a project to implement the State Equal Opportunities Act. From 2001, Christina Reinhardt set up and managed human resources development at Ruhr University, where she was head of the Rectorate's department "Internal Training and Consulting" from 2006. From May 2009 to November 2015, Reinhardt was Chancellor of Bochum University of Applied Sciences. She has been Ruhr University Chancellor since 1 December 2015.
2 November 2021
Jens Wylkop (jwy)