Since the winter semester of 2021/22, students at Hof University of Applied Sciences have been able to submit concrete suggestions for improvement in specific subject areas via the online portal “Change it!-Stud” and thus participate directly in the change management of their university (Campuls-digital reported) . Since the winter semester 2022/23, “Change-it!-Stud” is all about the topic “Sustainability at Hof University”. The best proposals are then to be processed in collaboration with the project management course in the Faculty of Engineering and awarded prizes by the university management.
Christina Bartsch from Research Marketing spoke with the Vice President of our university, Prof. Dr. Dietmar Wolff and the Sustainability Manager of Hof University, Anja Grabmeier, who is currently writing a sustainability strategy for the university, about the current status of and an outlook on student improvement management.
Where does the “Change it!-Stud” project stand today and what were the experiences in the past semester?
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Wolff (DW):
“The first run of the project with the topic “Digitalization of processes in student administration” was successfully completed. All submitted suggestions for improvement from the students could be implemented and also the focus of the improvement management on a specific topic area has proven to be successful.”
Anja Grabmeier (AG):
“Currently, “Change it!-Stud” is about suggestions for improvement around the topic of ‘sustainability at the university’. As a Green Tech University, we are already committed to resource efficiency, but there is certainly still potential for improvement towards more sustainability – ecologically, socially, economically. That’s why we’re asking our students to contribute their ideas at this point!”
What tipped the scales in favor of sustainability?
AG: “There are many reasons why sustainability is an important topic, especially in today’s world. But back to your question: the deciding factor was that sustainability is strengthened at Hof University. Sustainability lives through the responsibility of each individual and is a joint task. With this in mind, our students are invited to submit proposals for the sustainable design of Hof University and to actively participate in sustainable development.”
Sustainability can certainly be broken down into many areas – are there certain fields of action that are specifically thought of here, or are the students completely free here?
AG: “Sustainability is a very multifaceted topic and can indeed be broken down into many areas. However, there are usually certain fields of action that are thought of when implementing sustainability – at universities, these are: teaching, research, operations, as well as transfer and sustainability reporting. Sustainability proposals can be submitted for individual fields of action or ideas that relate to several fields of action. In addition, concrete proposals for marketing activities can also be made in order to make existing sustainability-related activities at and beyond the university visible.”
Prof. Wolff, is it possible to quantify how many students participated with suggestions?
DW: “Yes, that is possible without any problems. Four concrete suggestions were received on the topic of ‘Digitization of processes in student administration’, all of which could then be implemented. By directing student involvement to specific future topics, such as currently ‘sustainability at the university’, fewer suggestions for improvement are received in quantitative terms, but at the same time this allows us to better focus the available resources for implementation on these suggestions.”
Where can people submit their suggestions?
AG: “Starting this semester, suggestions for improvement can be submitted digitally via an online form on the ‘Change it!-Stud’ website. Anonymously, of course, if desired.”
What is the process then, when do you get feedback?
AG: “After submitting the online form, the submitters receive a confirmation email to the email address provided. The suggestions for improvement received are then recorded by the Quality Management staff unit. Subsequently, the university management, in cooperation with me, examines the suggestions for their feasibility. The processing status of the suggestions can be viewed at any time on the ‘Change it!-Stud’ website.”
Will the commitment also be rewarded?
DW: “Of course, the best proposals will continue to be recognized by the university management and awarded with a voucher.”