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uni'alumni 2013_ENG

The legally constituted student government will provide a legal basis for democratically elected legislative bodies to represent stu- dent interests. What is your position on this? I consider legally constituted student government to be a good idea in principle. However, I hope that more students get involved in this form of student self-organization in the future and that we will see a clear increase in the voting turnout at university elections. Only in this way can the students dem- onstrate that the vast majority is prepared to share the responsibility of legally constituted student government. Freiburg became a founding member of the German U15 in October 2012. What is the purpose of this union? Germany has a group of outstanding universities that conduct strong research, have top-notch medi- cal facilities, and cover the entire spectrum of disci- plines. These 15 comprehensive universities want to make it clear that they will only be able to remain in- ternationally competitive in the long run if the federal and state governments give them preferential treat- ment within the context of their support programs. Freiburg is thus now representing its interests in two important networks: in the German U15 at the na- tional level and internationally in LERU, the League of European Research University, which unites 21 outstanding European research universities. What unique selling points do you want to emphasize in the future in order to position the university in the German higher education landscape? The FRIAS and the UCF are calling cards and will remain so with the help of external funding sources. We will also add two other focus areas: On the one hand we have established the Center for Security and Society, which concentrates on questions con- cerning the vulnerability and stability of modern societies and informational self-determination. On the other hand we are combining the Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Earth Sciences to form the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, planning an institute for environmental technologies at the Faculty of Engineering, and setting up a university- wide center for sustainability sciences. This will allow us to offer a unique overall concept for instruction and research in the area of “climate and environment.” Disciplines ranging from the social sciences to engineering are participating in both focus areas. In addition, we are intensifying the cooperation with our neighboring universities. This is particularly true of Strasbourg, with which we intend to create a common campus, but Basel will also remain an important partner. What role do the alumni play, in your opinion? They are ambassadors for Freiburg. They call attention to the fact that Freiburg is an internation- ally attractive place to study and research. In the future, we would like them to help us to recruit more students and outstanding researchers world- wide. I also expect them to promote the work being done at the university with their financial support – for instance the University College, the Student Service Center, or improvements in the infrastruc- ture for doctoral candidates. What would you like to see happen in 2013? I would like for our convictions concerning interna- tionally outstanding instruction and research to lead to a groundbreaking “Agenda 2022” for the University of Freiburg. This university is strong, and this strength will grow if all status groups agree on common strategic goals they can believe in. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, born in Berlin in 1955, has served as Rector of the University of Freiburg since 2008. He studied German and history at the Free University of Berlin, where he also went on to complete his PhD in 1990 and his habilitation in 1998. After completing a fellowship at the University of Oxford, England, and a guest professor- ship at the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland, he accepted a position as professor of medieval German literature and language at the University of Göttingen in 2001 and two years later as professor in the same field at the University of Freiburg. In 2011 he received the order “Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques” from the French government for his dedication to French-German relations in research and instruction. In the same year the Univer- sity of Latvia conferred an honorary doctorate on him. Schiewer is married and has two children. Photos: Seeger 5