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Chancellor Dagmar Pechstein: “I experienced 19 years of university growth!”

Lots of applause, words of appreciation and flowers: At the farewell evening in the Hof Klangmanufaktur , some of the closest employees were able to say goodbye to the chancellor, who is now entering semi-retirement. “Campuls-digital” had the opportunity to have a short conversation with Dagmar Pechstein afterwards.

Dagmar Pechstein on the occasion of your acceptance speech at the farewell on January 20, 2022; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Dear Ms. Pechstein, it is now official: your term of office is coming to an end. With what feelings are you leaving Hof University of Applied Sciences?

“I am leaving with the positive feeling of having accomplished my life’s work. I was able to shape many things and conclude them with success. That is a good feeling. Above all, however, the experiences with people and special encounters remain in my mind. Having worked for Hof University for 19 years, that naturally connects – with the institution, but also with many personalities.”

What changes and implemented projects do you mainly think of when you think of your tenure?

“On the one hand, there are of course the many construction projects at the university. The growth in research and teaching or in the number of students required repeated expansions, all of which went well in the end. As the chancellor responsible for construction projects, however, there were of course also real challenges that had to be mastered. By introducing budgeting as a project, we went far beyond what is usual for universities. However: I will probably still know some of the workflows in Sharepoint (internal platform of Hof University of Applied Sciences, editor’s note) by heart in a few years(laughs).”

How has the university evolved during this time?

“Throughout my time at the campus, I was only allowed to experience growth. There have been setbacks from time to time, but overall the numbers speak for themselves: in 2004 we were at 9 degree programs, now we can offer just under 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Our research department was virtually non-existent at the time and today delivers one exciting project after another. The number of students has risen from 1600 to more than 3800. That speaks to sustained and healthy growth.”

You said yourself that at first you didn’t even know what the job of a chancellor was exactly: how has that role evolved over time?

“It took me about a year in the beginning to really dig deep into things. The focus was on my duties as supervisor of the non-scientific staff and as budget officer. Then I also had to deal with construction issues and occupational health and safety. Of course, the chancellor’s field of activity is also increasingly influenced by the megatopic of digitization. The change is tangible here as well.”

What did you enjoy most and what were some of the less enjoyable things?

“I’ll be quite frank about that: The most enjoyable were often the service anniversaries. The least enjoyable was certainly the contact with the ministry – but that is often in the nature of things, of course. After all, everyone pursues their objectives with great ambition.”

The companions are also always very important: Who comes to mind first here?

“Here, one must clearly first mention the current President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.. Jürgen Lehmann. We have known each other since 1992 and were already a team in the private law department at the then Bayerische Beamtenfachhochschule, now the University of Public Service. Of course, we also had differences of opinion – but we were always able to settle them for the good of the institution and reach good compromises.”

What advice do you have for your successor?

“Quite a few people start out and want to change everything first. I think that is wrong. Hof University of Applied Sciences is a very well-working institution with great potential for the entire region, but also, of course, for the students

Anyone starting out should therefore first listen quite a bit and form an opinion from the knowledge gained in this way.”

Dagmar Pechstein

What things are you most looking forward to now, how will you use your new free time?

“My husband and I are very active people and also do a lot of sports. I’m looking forward to the flexibility of just being able to go outside when the weather is nice and to read when the weather is bad – but that explicitly doesn’t mean legal texts, but good literature.”

Do you have a wish for our university?

“Yes! I wish Hof University and the many people working here that you can consolidate growth and maintain independence. I will of course follow the further development with pleasure.”

Thank you very much and all the best to you for the coming period!

Read also: “Everything has its time” – farewell evening for the outgoing chancellor

Rainer Krauß

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