The news that Hof University of Applied Sciences has been named Germany’s most popular university in the rankings of the Studycheck.de portal has caused much joy and recognition. In an interview with “campuls-digital”, university president Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann speaks of a “unique award,” but also looks ahead.
Mr. President, when did you learn about the great rating for Hof University – and did the champagne corks pop?
“We received the news late Wednesday evening last week. Champagne corks did not pop, but the joy was of course very great and sincere. After all, the awarding portal studycheck.de belongs to the most renowned platforms, which concerns such feedback in the education sector. It was distinguished for example still in the last year even by the trade paper as the best portal of its range. So the ranking already has great significance.”
…And it’s based solely on reviews from current and former students…
“Right. That’s what makes us so pleased. What could be better for an educational institution like ours than when 96% of our direct target group recommend our offering to others? Of course, we ourselves are convinced of our teaching and invest a lot of time and effort to keep improving it. And of course, we have always received a lot of positive feedback for our work in previous years – not least in the form of ever new records in student numbers. Nevertheless, it has a very positive surprise effect for us as a smaller university when you then really end up in first place in the whole country.”
Has there ever been a situation like this in the past?
“No, as I said, there have always been good rankings within Bavaria and also a lot of positive feedback from students or from business. But we have made it to first place among Germany’s most popular universities for the first time in our still fairly young history – so this is a unique distinction, at least so far.”
Where do you personally see the reasons for this development?
“Of course, as a university we always try to pick up on current developments and the needs of the job market at an early stage; think of the topics of digitalization, sustainability or even resource efficiency. However, if you read the evaluations submitted, you repeatedly come across two obviously very decisive points: First, our students repeatedly praise the high practical relevance of our degree programs, which often makes it easy for them to find their way into companies during their studies. Secondly, our excellent student-teacher ratio is probably a very important point. Despite the growing number of students, we have a family atmosphere that fosters learning success and enables a direct exchange with the lecturers. That’s exactly what we aim to do: our students are not just a number or a faceless mass, but young people whose talents we want to promote in the best possible way.”
Where do you go from here – how do you deal with the pleasing result?
“Anyone who rests on something like this has already lost. That’s why we simply continue to work with commitment. Because of course there are always things that can and must be improved, even in our company. Just think of challenges such as establishing new forms of learning and examination in the area of “blended learning” – after all, we have to transfer the achievements of the Corona era into the “new normal,” which means we will optimize and expand our digital and dual offerings. We are also considering strengthening our in-service offerings, keyword “Lifelong Learning”. In any case, it never gets boring!”