Four farewells and a new beginning

to HFU News
In front two women one man, in the back 3 men are standing on a staircase

The new president of Furtwangen University, Dr. Alexandra Bormann (front centre), received a warm welcome from the previous president's office. The previous president Prof. Dr. Rolf Schofer (front right) and the three long-standing vice presidents Dr. Ulrich Mescheder (back left), Robert Schäflein-Armbruster (back centre) and Dr. Michael Lederer as well as Head of Administration Andrea Linke congratulated her on taking office. Dr. Bormann will head HFU from 1 March.

Change in management of Furtwangen University - President Prof. Dr. Schofer hands over to Dr. Alexandra Bormann - Long-standing Vice Presidents bid farewell

It's the end of an era at Furtwangen University (HFU) – after almost 18 years in office President, Prof. Dr. Rolf Schofer is retiring. From 1 March, Dr. Alexandra Bormann will take over the leadership of HFU. At the same time, the three Vice Presidents Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mescheder (Research and Development, Technology Transfer), Prof. Robert Schäflein-Armbruster (Academics, Quality Management and Alumni) and Prof. Dr. Michael Lederer (International Affairs and Continuing Education) have also left their positions as vice presidents.

Prof. Dr. Schofer has been preparing the handover to his successor over the past few weeks. "I am delighted that HFU will be able to develop its enormous potential under the leadership of Dr. Bormann," he says. Dr. Schofer joined Furtwangen University in 1989 as Professor of Mathematics. He was elected President in 2006. During Schofer's tenure, the university campus and the Innovation and Research Center (IFC) Tuttlingen as well as the study centers in Freiburg and Rottweil were founded. Under his leadership, the competence area of health also developed rapidly, and HFU is a pioneer in the academisation of health professions. New degree programmes in physiotherapy, midwifery and physician assistant were established, as well as future-oriented subjects such as Business Law, Business and Engineering Psychology, AI and Robotics, Cyber Security and Games and Immersive Media. "Professor Schofer has turned Furtwangen University into a research-strong, diverse and future-oriented university that enjoys an excellent reputation in the academic landscape," says Dr. Alexandra Bormann. "And the times were and are not easy. Pandemic, energy crisis and social transformations – Mr. Schofer has steered the university professionally and with the utmost personal commitment. That is an impressive achievement."

Dr. Alexandra Bormann was elected to the position of President last July. She previously worked for the German Research Foundation (DFG) and headed the Strategy and University Development Department at the University of Freiburg for many years. Before taking office, she worked for the City of Freiburg and was responsible for education and care in schools.

In addition to Prof. Dr. Schofer, the three previous Vice Presidents, Dr. Ulrich Mescheder, Robert Schäflein-Armbruster and Dr. Michael Lederer, have also now vacated their positions as Vice Presidents and were honoured for their exceptional commitment during their many years in office. "After a combined 39 years in office, we are now looking forward to something new," said the invitation to a ceremony at the German Clock Museum.

Like President Schofer, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mescheder will also retire at the end of February. He came to HFU in 1991 as Professor of Microsystems Technology. During his time on the Executive since 2006, Prof. Mescheder in particular promoted scientific publications and third-party funded research, as well as the areas of technology transfer and business start-ups with the creation of the IFC. Under Professor Mescheder, HFU developed into one of the strongest research universities in the country. For over 20 years, he headed the Institute for Applied Research IAF and the Technology Laboratory for Micro and Nano Systems. In 2015, he founded the Institute for Microsystems Technology at the IAF together with Prof. Dr. Volker Bucher. Prof. Mescheder has also authored and co-authored over 220 scientific publications and supervised several successfully completed doctorates as an associate professor at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg.

Prof. Robert Schäflein-Armbruster will also be retiring at the end of the month. He has held the position of Vice President for Academics, Quality Management and Alumni since 2018. He previously served as Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration and Engineering for eight years. Schäflein-Armbruster was appointed Professor of Documentation and Design at HFU in 1997. As Vice President, he succeeded in transferring HFU to a new, alternative accreditation procedure. As the University Executive's representative for elite sports, he was particularly involved in founding and organising the Black Forest Run. He also headed the Usability Competence Center (UCC) at HFU and is a board member of the Friends of Furtwangen University Association.

Prof. Dr. Michael Lederer is stepping down from his position as Vice President International and Continuing Education due to the change of President, but will remain at the university as Professor of International Finance and Entrepreneurship at the HFU Business School. He has been a professor at Furtwangen University since 1998 and has held the position of Vice President since 2009. As Vice President, he founded the HFU Academy in 2010, which has since successfully offered a portfolio of academic continuing education activities. Professor Lederer has played a key role in the internationalisation of HFU, including the establishment of university partnerships around the world and the introduction of bilingual degree programmes.

The previous Board of Executives, consisting of Prof. Dr. Schofer, the Vice Presidents and the University's Head of Administration, Andrea Linke, gave the new President Dr. Bormann a warm welcome. "I am very much looking forward to working with Dr. Bormann and to continuing HFU's successful development," said Head of Administration Linke.

The new Vice Presidents, who together with Dr. Bormann and Andrea Linke will form the new Board of Executives, will be elected on 10 April.