The President of Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Prof. Walter Rosenthal, has been named “University Manager of the Year 2022”. The announcement was made on the evening of 30 November, the day before an education conference in Berlin.
The jury of prominent academics considers Friedrich Schiller University to be very well-positioned and explained that it had recognised Jena University’s president because he had played a decisive role in building the university’s profile. The jury agreed unanimously that “Walter Rosenthal has put the University of Jena on the map”. Rosenthal’s achievements in the strategic strengthening of the university’s profile lines Light, Life, Liberty in research; the introduction of advisory boards for the faculties; and the strategic reorientation were particularly emphasised. “Rosenthal stands for the appropriate involvement of all university members in this change process. He has also shown great decisiveness and assertiveness," the jury said. In addition, the President has driven the structural development of the University and made sustainability a top priority. A “Green Office” he set up serves as the central coordination point for the University’s sustainability strategy. In this process, he is above all a source of ideas and engages in networking to drive projects forward and ensure their long-term success.
A first for Thuringia
Thuringia’s Minister of Science, Wolfgang Tiefensee, was delighted with Rosenthal’s award, which is presented by the German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” and the CHE Centre for Higher Education: “This is the first time that this award has gone to a university president from Thuringia. The recognition of Professor Rosenthal by the academic community, which reaches far beyond Thuringia, was previously reflected in his election as Vice President of the German Rectors’ Conference last year. Professor Rosenthal has played a significant role in the successful development of the University of Jena over the past years. In particular, he has made a significant contribution to Jena’s success in the Excellence Initiative of the Federal and State Governments. I am pleased that we can now also move forward on this very topic together with him in his second term as President of the University of Jena. I warmly congratulate him on his well-deserved award as University Manager of the Year 2022,” said Tiefensee.
The Chair of the University Council, Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt, also conveyed his congratulations: “I heartily congratulate Prof. Rosenthal on this very special award. It is a fitting tribute to his leadership skills and his pioneering strategic and operational achievements as President of Friedrich Schiller University Jena. I am happy for Walter Rosenthal and wish him continued good fortune in keeping his university on a successful course and moving it forward in the future.”
Collaborative achievement by the university
Walter Rosenthal is happy about the major recognition associated with the award and emphasises the collaborative achievement by the University: “I also accept the award on behalf of all those who have driven forward the positive development of the University of Jena over recent years. And I really do mean everyone – not only the prominent figures with high visibility, but also the administrative staff whose work supports research and teaching at this university on a daily basis. The fact that we are receiving this prize with an emphasis on sustainability also represents an obligation to further develop our sustainability strategy and to implement the measures soon.”
Prof. Walter Rosenthal, physician and pharmacologist, has been President of Friedrich Schiller University Jena since 2014. He was previously Director of what is now the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) from 1996-2009 and Chair of the Foundation Board and Scientific Director of the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) in Berlin-Buch, a research centre of the Helmholtz Association, from 2009-2014. Since 2021, he has been Vice-President for Research, Academic Career Paths and Transfer of the German Rectors’ Conference. He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, a Senate member of the Leibniz Association and Dean of the Max Planck Schools.
“University Manager of the Year”
The “University Manager of the Year” award has been jointly presented by the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” and the CHE Centre for Higher Education since 2013. The winner was determined in several stages. First, a data-based pre-selection process was used to identify universities showing particularly strong positive development dynamics. Next, all the university managements identified in the pre-selection process as well as the respective university council chairs were interviewed about their management performance and teamwork. There was a particular focus on the topic of sustainability. Prof. Rosenthal was able to prevail over five other renowned nominees in the final round.
The jury consisted of:
- Prof. Simone Fulda, President, Kiel University (CAU)
- Prof. Karim Khakzar, President, Fulda University of Applied Sciences; University Manager of the Year in 2018
- Prof. Sabine Kunst, Chair of the Board of the Joachim Herz Foundation, Hamburg; University Manager of the Year in 2010 and winner of a Special Award in 2020
- Prof. Ulrich Radtke, former Rector, University of Duisburg-Essen; University Manager of the Year in 2015
- Dr Norbert Sack, expert on leadership in academic institutions and founder/Managing Director, Leadership Advisors for Academia
- Marion Schmidt, Chief Communication Officer (CCO), TU Dresden
- Martin Spiewak, Editor of knowledge section, Die Zeit
- Prof. Sascha Spoun, President, Leuphana University Lüneburg; University Manager of the Year in 2021
- Prof. Frank Ziegele, Executive Director, CHE Non-profit Centre for Higher Education; Professor of Higher Education and Research Management at Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences