The President of Mainz University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Dr. Susanne Weissman, became the new Chairwoman of the Rhineland-Palatinate State University Presidents’ Conference (LHPK) effective September 2023. The current Vice Chairperson of the LHPK replaces Prof. Dr. Michael Jäckel, President of Trier University.
State Secretary Dr. Denis Alt thanked Prof. Dr. Michael Jäckel for his work. Dr. Alt noted that during Dr. Jäckel’s tenure, the LHPK had been involved in key higher education policy issues. These included, in particular, the amendment of the Higher Education Act 2019/2020, which also introduced far-reaching reforms in the positioning of universities, as well as the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the higher education sector. “As LHPK Chairperson, President Prof. Jäckel was a reliable partner during critical times as well. During the development phase of the amendment of the law, he advocated the ideas and goals of higher education institutions with foresight and aplomb. During the peak phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to coordinate closely with Prof. Jäckel at all times so as to be able to initiate new resolutions to fight the pandemic at short notice. This enabled us to guide the universities and their members through the pandemic relatively smoothly at a time of great uncertainty and ambiguity. For that, I thank him very much,” said State Secretary Dr. Denis Alt. “With President Weissman, an accomplished academic leader is now taking over as chair, who has previously demonstrated her steady hand as Vice Chairperson, also during times of crisis. I have come to know her as an extremely reliable partner who, despite everything, is not hesitant to represent the positions of the universities in a clear and binding manner. I am very much looking forward to working with Prof. Weissman.”
“Mainz and Trier have been working in good harmony. I thank her for the good cooperation and wish Susanne Weissman a good hand for the upcoming tasks, which always have their own special qualities,” said Prof. Jäckel. Prof. Jäckel is now passing the baton to his fellow officer and Vice Chairperson Prof. Dr. Susanne Weissman. “I would like to thank Prof. Jäckel for the good and constructive collaboration in the LHPK and I am very much looking forward to the exciting task as Chairperson of this body, which is important in terms of higher education policy, and which strengthens the collaboration among the universities and represents their interests with regard to the State,” said Prof. Dr. Susanne Weissman. “I would like to use this office to take up interests of the universities in the dialogue with the Ministry of Science, so that their voices can be heard in the educational policy agenda of the State. In addition, with the new University Forum of Rhineland-Palatinate, a forum for dialogue between the universities and the Ministry has been established that promotes precisely this exchange to strengthen the ongoing development of higher education,” continued the new LHPK Chairperson.
With the assumption of office by Prof. Weissman, Prof. Dr. Arnd Poetzsch-Heffter, Co-President at the University of Kaiserslautern-Landau in Rhineland-Palatinate (RPTU), simultaneously assumes the office of Vice Chairperson of the LHPK RLP.
Founding of the Rhineland-PalatinateUniversity Forum
At a kick-off held at Mainz University of Applied Sciences in late July 2023, the university presidents joined Science Minister Clemens Hoch to launch the Rhineland-Palatinate University Forum. The new forum for dialogue between the universities and the Ministry of Science and Health is intended to strengthen higher education development in Rhineland-Palatinate, with the State and the state universities working in partnership to design strategies for the further development of the higher education landscape in Rhineland-Palatinate. “With the founding of the University Forum and the establishment of a new office of the LHPK RLP at Mainz University of Applied Sciences, the cooperation between the Ministry of Science and Health and the universities of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is once again significantly strengthened. We are pleased to have been able to recruit Julia Gesellgen as the new managing director for both bodies,” said Prof. Weissman.
The LHPK RLP advocates for the shared goals of the higher education institutions. It represents the four universities, the University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, the seven universities of applied sciences, the church-funded universities, and the private WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, as well as other important members of the higher education sector in an advisory capacity. The University Forum is anchored in the Higher Education Act as an instrument of higher education development planning and is tasked with monitoring and preparing overarching and state-wide higher education policy issues for the LHPK and the Ministry of Science and Health.