Second Terms in Office for RWTH Rector and Chancellor

Rektor Schmachtenberg und Kanzler Nettekoven mit Gremienvertretern Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

In its fourth meeting this year, the Senate of RWTH Aachen, headed by Professor Ulrich Simon, has approved of the selection committee’s proposal and re-appointed Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg and Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven for their second terms in office. The selection committee consisted of members of both the Senate and the University’s Board of Governors.


Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg

The Board of Governors had re-elected Professor Schmachtenberg in March, and the Senate approved of the election on May 8, 2014. The four-year term will start on August 1, 2014.

When Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg became Rector of RWTH Aachen in 2008, the University had just succeeded in the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments. In 2012, led by Schmachtenberg, the University again succeeded in all funding lines of the national competition.

Within the last years, the University has grown considerably: in the period between 2008 and 2013, student enrollments increased from 31000 to over 40000. The number of graduations, including doctorates, increased from 4161 to 7063.

The strong increase in student numbers and the goal to further improve teaching and learning at the University led to the implementation of numerous measures; RWTH Aachen succeeded in the “Excellent Teaching” competition in 2009 and received approval for its proposal in the “Teaching Quality Pact” in 2011. In 2013, about 100 million Euros were spent for projects in the arena of teaching and learning.

Another important topic in the last years was the development of the University’s research campus: With RWTH Aachen Campus, the University is creating a unique portfolio of services for cooperation in specialist clusters in which RWTH Aachen is providing both know-how and a unique research infrastructure. This gives national and international companies the opportunity to get involved on the campus with their own research and development capacities. The Melaten site of the campus already saw the inauguration of the Medical Engineering and Logistics clusters.

“I am very pleased that RWTH and the selection committee continue to place their trust in me and approve of my second term in office as University Rector,” said Ernst Schmachtenberg. “In my first term, we achieved several important milestones: we developed the RWTH 2020 institutional strategy and defined important goals for the future. Based on this, we again succeeded in Germany’s Excellence Initiative. We saw improvements and growth in teaching and in research, which confronted us with challenges, but also led to success, in the form of large numbers of highly qualified graduates and important research results. All this was made possible by the spirit of collaboration between all members of the University. I am very happy that I had the honor to be Rector during that time.”

Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven

The Board of Governors re-elected Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven in April, and the Senate approved of the election on May 8, 2014.

During Nettokoven’s first term in office, the University’s administration and budget had to be adapted to meet the needs of a strongly growing educational and research institution. Not only did student numbers increase to over 40000, but also the number of employees increased by about 1500 staff. Between 2008 and 2013, the budget increased by 317.2 million Euros, with growth in external funding by 160 million Euros.

The University’s expansion required several infrastructural improvements, such as new spaces for teaching and learning and new buildings and facilities for the new research campus. New software systems were implemented in the areas of student and budget management.

"I am deeply grateful for the trust placed in me. In view of the several difficult decisions I had to take in the past years, this is not a given,” said Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven. “I am very much looking forward to the next eight years! RWTH Aachen is a wonderful place in many ways, as it gives you sufficient leeway to manage and mediate change. And there is sufficient understanding for the role of the Chancellor, who is the first to be made responsible for the impact of new legislation or, even more problematic, financial framework conditions.”

Commenting on the challenges of the years ahead, Nettekoven states that “it will be more difficult in the future, as it is not easy to maintain the pionieering spirit of the Excellence Initiative. Also, the framework conditions for universities are currently being reworked at the federal and state levels. But I am convinced that the years ahead will be very successful for RWTH Aachen, as we are pretty much able to adapt to new situations and challenges – as is expected from a university!”