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New Head of IT introduced: An exciting start for Dr. Heiko Schoberth

The pandemic has just made it abundantly clear how important technology is for daily operations at the university. Since the beginning of July 2021, a new IT manager has been responsible for ensuring that the “IT & Projects” department continues to function as well as it has in the past: Dr. Heiko Schoberth is taking on the management task, succeeding Dietmar Eckardt, who retired at the end of last year. Right at the start of his tenure, some unexpected challenges awaited him.

We talked to the 41-year-old from Konradsreuth.

Dr. Heiko Schoberth; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Dear Dr. Schoberth, please tell us a little about your professional background so far!

Gladly. After studying physics, I initially stayed in academic research for 10 years before moving to the IT Service Center at the University of Bayreuth in 2016. There, I was the interface between researchers and central IT on the one hand, and responsible for the university’s eLearning area on the other, which includes Moodle as a centrally operated learning management platform and Zoom as a video conferencing and webinar tool. Both are also a central component of digitally supported teaching at HS Hof.

How did you become aware of the vacancy and what spoke in favor of applying?

If you were born in Hof and have roots in the region like I do, you naturally know the university. That’s why I’ve always followed its development, and I’ve also had some contact with it in the past – for example, in connection with TAO (Technology Alliance Upper Franconia, editor’s note). In the end, I was attracted by the fact that I can bring all my experience in the academic environment – as a teacher, researcher and in IT – to bear here.

What is your first impression of the university and your new job?

The first two weeks were very exciting and varied – it could have been a bit calmer at the beginning: On the second day, you immediately cause a bit of displeasure because you had to restrict printing during the exam period for information security reasons, and a few days later you’re standing in rubber boots in the server room at night, fighting against water seeping in after the heavy rain…

Despite everything, I was struck by the uncomplicated and informal atmosphere. I am therefore very confident that we will work well together in the many fields in which IT is involved.

So you’ve already had the opportunity to get to know your new colleagues a little?

Since the current incidence allowed it, everyone was there to greet them. That makes quite an impression. You could feel the excitement and curiosity in everyone in the room. So I would like to thank my team, who immediately gave me a very warm welcome and made it very easy for me in the initial getting-to-know-you phase. Currently, my schedule is filling up very quickly on its own. I have already met many more people at the appointments. However, I will still actively approach more people.

Welcome by the university management: President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann and Chancellor Dagmar Pechstein warmly welcomed the new head of IT; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

What do you see as the biggest challenges that will have to be overcome in your area in the future?

The buzzword digitalization doesn’t stop at any area of life. The paths that have already been taken here in Hof must be consistently pursued. However, no one should be left alone, but everyone must be involved right from the start. Communication and transparency in decision-making are particularly important. In addition, special attention must be paid to data protection and the security of information. However, there is much that a single university with finite resources cannot solve on its own

In addition to building up the necessary and constantly changing competencies on site, cooperation in a wide variety of areas with other Bavarian colleges and universities will become increasingly important in the future – but our own brand must be maintained.

We wish you success, all the best and thank you very much for the interview!

Rainer Krauß

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