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01/27/2021 | News

"Qua­li­ty, Dia­lo­gue and Co­he­si­on" - Ute Cle­ment Elec­ted as Pre­si­dent

Vocational educator Ute Clement will be the new president of the Kassel University. The Extended Senate elected her in the first round of voting with 20 of 34 votes (with three invalid votes). To the university's knowledge, it was the first all-digital presidential election at a German university.

Image: Sonja Rode.

Prof. Dr. Ute Clement has been vice president of the university since 2015 and is responsible, among other things, for promoting young scientists. She is the second woman, after founding president Vera Rüdiger, to head the university in northern Hesse, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding this year.

Clement thanked the Extended Senate for its confidence. She placed her presidency under the motto "Quality, Dialogue and Cohesion." The future president described one of the upcoming challenges as the clever interweaving of digital and face-to-face formats in teaching for the time after the pandemic: "The University of Kassel also has an excellent reputation for its teaching, and quite rightly so. We will continue that in the digital age by taking advantage of the new opportunities without giving up enriching face-to-face formats." She would like to strengthen internationalization and continue the research profiling with the decided Center for Sustainable Development and Transformation as well as other focal points.

Born in Wilhelmshaven, Clement studied education at the Fernuni Hagen and completed her doctorate and habilitation at the Technical University of Karlsruhe. She has held a professorship in vocational and business education in Kassel since 2003. Clement was the only candidate standing for election. She will take office on October 1, 2021. The term of office is six years. Prof. Dr. Ute Clement succeeds Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey, who did not stand for election. Finkeldey congratulated his designated successor: "I have worked closely and trustingly with Prof. Clement on the Executive Board for over five years. I therefore know that I will be leaving the office in good hands."

The hearing, presentation and election took place entirely digitally because of the Corona pandemic. "The signals from politics are clear that as much as possible should take place digitally," commented Prof. Dr. Dr. Walter Blocher, head of the election committee. "We have a reliable infrastructure at the Kassel University and were able to rely on a technically and legally secure system to conduct the voting digitally."

The Extended Senate comprises 34 members, including 18 professors. The Kassel University currently has just under 25,000 students.

Update Jan. 28: Hesse's Science Minister Angela Dorn congratulated Clement on her election, saying, "Through her years of work as vice president, she has penetrated the essence of the Kassel University and will be able to get started immediately with her plans and ideas in October - in this I wish her every success and very much look forward to working with her in the future," Dorn said, according to a ministry press release.

"Prof. Dr. Ute Clement is taking over a university that is ideally positioned for research on current relevant issues, especially in environmental teaching and research: the Kassel University is the engine and pacemaker of the North Hesse region; graduates and research projects bring knowledge to the economy, culture, schools, politics and society. It owes this outstanding networking in large part to Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey, to whom I extend my sincere thanks for his work."