The new Rector’s Council of Vienna University of Economics and Business takes up the reins
The official inaugural reception for the new Rector’s Council was held on October 1. In addition to Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger, the Rector’s Council team consists of Harald Badinger, Vice-Rector for Financial Affairs and University Development, and Michael Lang as Vice-Rector for Research and Human Resources, as well as two new members, Tatjana Oppitz, Vice-Rector for Infrastructure and Digitalization, and Margarethe Rammerstorfer, Vice-Rector for Academic Programs and Student Affairs. The Rector’s Council expressed their gratitude for their years of service to the two departing members, Edith Littich, who was Vice-Rector for Academic Programs and Student Affairs for eight years, and Stefan Pichler, former Vice-Rector for Research. Rector Hanappi-Egger also presented her vision for the future of WU, which is characterized by digitalization, internationalization, and increasing graduation rates.
Over the next four years, WU plans to continue on its path towards becoming an institution of research and education that is internationally competitive and successful in every respect. As a responsible university, WU is aware of its social accountability and will work hard to have a positive impact on society, the economy, and the business community. The university also wants to actively address current challenges and developments, especially in the field of the digital economy. This applies not only to businesses, but to all areas of society, business, and the economy that rely on digital technology. A comprehensive approach to the digital economy needs to be interdisciplinary, and must include research and teaching on business administration and law as well as economic and socioeconomic aspects. As Austria’s only business and economics university and with its strong international network and unique research and teaching competence, WU is in an ideal position to become a leading international knowledge hub on the digital economy.
Faculty recruitment and in-house digitalization
The transition to the new university funding regulations was a major milestone, and is an issue that will continue to challenge Austria’s universities in the years to come. According to Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger, “The effects of the new funding regulations will certainly have to be evaluated in the upcoming years after the initial funding period. Thanks to the increase in the university budget, Austrian universities finally have the opportunity to start slowly bringing their student-faculty ratios up to international levels. Next year, WU will be recruiting 15 new professors and 15 tenure-track positions. The new focus on the digital economy already features in these plans.” Universities are also faced with the challenges of digitalization within their own organizations. “Individual IT measures won’t be enough to drive digitalization forward, so we will be drafting a university-wide digitalization strategy, including the necessary innovation programs,” says the rector.
Internationalization and higher graduation rates
Other goals include additional internationalization measures to increase the number of international students and faculty and to strengthen international research cooperation. WU also plans to optimize the academic conditions it offers its students, to increase students’ chances of graduating successfully. It is particularly important to help new students get off to a smooth and motivated start at WU. Further issues include the new digital learning environments and providing teachers with the additional qualifications they need to use them effectively.
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