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Ute Coenen takes office: Our new chancellor introduces herself!

A new era begins: On October 4, 2022, the new university chancellor Ute Coenen takes over the office from her predecessor Dagmar Pechstein, who had already entered partial retirement in January of the year. “Campuls-digital” had the opportunity to talk with the new responsible for finance, construction, personnel and real estate.

Had the opportunity to talk a lot with each other: The new university chancellor Ute Coenen and predecessor in office Dagmar Pechstein (r.); Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Today is the day you take office. With what feelings are you approaching your new task?

I am very happy to start my new position as Chancellor of Hof University today. There have already been a few contacts in the past few months and I have also been able to get to know some of my new colleagues, but the first “real” day at work is still something very special.

I was very fortunate to have time for a longer vacation due to my job change, and for this reason I feel well prepared to hit the ground running at the university.

How did the desire to take on the new challenge come about?

I have worked as a consultant for a professional services firm for the past 28 years. After starting as a tax and audit assistant, I also took over the management of my employer’s Hof office relatively quickly after completing the professional examinations to become a tax consultant and auditor. I always enjoyed the technical work and the management tasks, but I also wanted to take on a new challenge with a different focus. Since the university is in a phase of upheaval due to the changing legal framework, especially with regard to financial management, the new position of chancellor seemed to me to be a very appealing task.

What connects you to the education and training sector?

In the course of my previous work, I have trained a great many young people in the field of tax consulting and auditing, which gave me a great deal of pleasure. At Hof University of Applied Sciences, I also took on teaching assignments in the field of auditing a few years ago, and since 2008 I have also been involved as treasurer on the board of the Fördergesellschaft der Hochschule Hof. However, I had to give up this office when I was elected chancellor. Finally, I was a member of the examination board of the Bavarian Chamber of Auditors for 10 years.

In my opinion, a good education is the key to individual happiness in life and to the further development of our society!”

Ute Coenen, University Chancellor

However, since many young people find it increasingly difficult to find the right path for them, it is a particular concern of mine to support them in setting the course for their further life.

Where do you see Hof University today and what is your vision for the development of the institution?

In my opinion, Hof University of Applied Sciences is currently very well positioned, which is due in particular to its international orientation, its continuing education and its focus on only a few, but very interesting and promising fields of study. In this respect, it is important, on the one hand, to maintain this “lead” over other universities and, on the other hand, to adapt to the changing framework conditions and to derive the greatest possible benefit from them

My aspiration as administrative head of the university is, together with my team, to support the production area of the university, i.e. teaching and research, in the best possible way and thus to create benefits for the students, professors and lecturers and ultimately the region.”

Ute Coenen, University Chancellor

You have already had many conversations in advance. Where do you see the biggest challenges ahead?

A few months ago, the Higher Education Innovation Act was passed in Bavaria, which somewhat paves the way for an economically oriented financial management of universities. Of course, I would like to derive as much benefit as possible from this for Hof University of Applied Sciences, so that we can use the funds available to us – within the framework of regulatory requirements – as appropriately and flexibly as possible and also find ways to raise additional funds.

In addition, it is a particular concern of mine to keep our team together and to provide the best possible support as we move through the changing framework conditions. This will certainly go hand in hand with advancing digitization, but I also expect that we will be able to relieve our colleagues of routine activities so that they have more time for the more interesting tasks or are relieved overall.

Ute Coenen, a qualified auditor, is responsible for human resources and finance at Hof University of Applied Sciences; photo: private;

Have you already been able to gain an initial insight from your new colleagues?

So far, I have met many very motivated and hard-working colleagues and have the feeling that I have joined a really good team. For this reason, too, I’m looking forward to working with them and I’m sure that we can achieve a lot together.

Where do you expect the biggest differences compared to your previous work?

Actually, I don’t expect any major differences, as I see myself primarily as a service provider, both in my previous job and in my new one. Previously, my customers were the various clients, i.e. mainly companies, that I looked after with my team; now it’s the students and teachers.

What I like about the new job is that success is ultimately not measured in a “profit figure” but rather in a bundle of factors that cannot be evaluated in purely monetary terms, such as student numbers, success in research, job creation, and perhaps also positive feedback from colleagues, students, and faculty.

Thank you very much for the interview and all the best for the tasks ahead!

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