№ 244/2010 from Jul 21, 2010
Today three additional vice presidents were elected by the extended Academic Senate of Freie Universität, filling the vacant seats of the Executive Board. The newly elected vice presidents are Brigitta Schütt, professor of physical geography; Michael Bongardt, professor and managing director of the Institute of Comparative Ethics; and Professor Werner Väth, director of the Center for Politics and Technology and representative of the Executive Board for international study programs. All the candidates received a majority in the first ballot. They will be appointed by Berlin’s Senator for Education, Science, and Research, Professor E. Jürgen Zöllner.
On the new board Prof. Werner Väth will be responsible for international affirs, Prof. Michael Bongardt for teaching, and Prof. Brigitta Schütt for research. On May 12 the literary scholar Prof. Peter-André Alt was elected as the new president of Freie Universität and the pharmacologist Prof. Monika Schäfer-Korting was elected executive vice president of Freie Universität Berlin. They have been in office since June 1. The director of administration and finance of Freie Universität is Peter Lange. The current term of office of the Executive Board runs until 2014.
Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schütt was born in 1963 in Rees, Niederrhein. From 1982 to 1988 she studied geography, geology, and sociology at Universität Würzburg, graduating with a major in geography in 1988. In 1993 she completed her doctorate at RWTH Aachen, and in 1997 she was a visiting professor at the University of Manitoba, Canada. In 1998 she finished her habilitation at Universität Trier. In 2002 Schütt had a position as substitute for the chair in physical geography at Universität Bonn, and in October of that year she was hired as chair in physical geography (C4) at Freie Universität Berlin.
Schütt’s current research focuses on the analysis of current and (pre-)historical human-environment relations. The aim of the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments is the reconstruction of the habitat of earlier cultures, the assessment of site conditions, and the assessment of the impact of settlement activity on landscape balance and geomorphologic processes. Schütt also conducts applied research on soil erosion and watershed management. The regional focus of this work is in the dry belt of the Ancient World (Mediterranean, North and East Africa, Central and East Asia).
From 2000 to 2006 Schütt was a member of the Scientific Board of the Association of Geographers at German Universities (VGDH) and from 2005 to 2008 a member of the DFG Senate Commission for Geoscience Research. Since 2004 she has been a member of the DAAD Selection Committee for University Start-ups and since 2008 a member of the advisory committee of the DFG evaluation team in its Priority Programme 1006, the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP).
Prof. Dr. Michael Bongardt was born in 1959 in Bonn. He studied Catholic theology in Bonn, Munich, and Muenster. After graduating, he worked from 1983 to 1989 in various parishes in and around Cologne, since 1985 as a priest. Beginning in 1989 he worked at the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Muenster. In 1993 he completed his doctorate and in 1998 his habilitation. From 1998 to 2000 he headed the Ecumenical Year at the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem, a one-year residency program funded by the DAAD for German students of theology. In 2000 he accepted an appointment as professor of systematic theology/dogma at Freie Universität Berlin. After leaving the priesthood in 2003, Bongardt moved to the newly founded Institute of Comparative Ethics, also at Freie Universität Berlin, which he heads. At the institute he designed the courses to be taken by students studying to become ethics teachers, and he is still responsible for these courses. From 2003 to 2005 he was vice dean, and from 2005 to 2007 dean of the Department of History and Cultural Studies, where he is a longstanding member of the department council. From 2007 to 2009 he was a member of the Academic Senate, and since 2009 he has been a member of the extended Academic Senate.
Bongardt’s research interests lie in the border area of philosophy, theology, and cultural studies. He has published monographs and numerous papers on the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard and Ernst Cassirer. As co-editor, he is involved in the edition of the works of the philosopher Hans Jonas. Other focuses of Bongardt’s work are questions of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, the transformation of religions under the impact of secularization, and basic problems of philosophical ethics. He is deputy director of Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies.
Prof. Dr. Werner Väth, born in 1945, grew up in Aschaffenburg and studied political science at the University of Vienna and Freie Universität Berlin, graduating in 1969. After that he was a research assistant to Frieder Naschold at the University of Konstanz, where he worked on projects on the reform of government and administration and achieved his doctorate in 1976. He was also involved in the design and development of the administrative sciences degree program. In 1978 and 1980 Väth substituted for a professor at Otto Suhr Institute, where he was hired in 1981 as chair in the economic foundations of politics.
Väth’s research at first focused on local and regional policy, and then in particular, on research and technology policies, and national and international regulation of industrial crisis. He worked with the European University Institute in Florence and has held lectures in various countries, including Korea, Peru, and Turkey.
In 1988/89 Väth was vice dean and dean of the Department of Political Science and from 1990 to 1999 vice president of Freie Universität. His areas of responsibility were initially appointments and related matters, then the social sciences and humanities, central institutes, student affairs, and the promotion of women’s and gender studies. He worked on the state’s structure of higher education commission as well as on the structure plans of Freie Universität. From 2003 to 2007 Väth served another term as vice president on the Executive Board of Freie Universität. During this tenure, he was chairperson of a working group composed of vice presidents of the Berlin universities dealing with learning and teaching. He also oversaw the funding applications in the area of social sciences for federally funded clusters of excellence and graduate schools, and he was on the board of the scholarship foundation, ASSIST. Outside Germany, he is a member of the Advisory Board of the University for National and World Economy Sofia. In UNICA, the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe, Väth is involved in designing joint degree programs.
Goran Krstin, Press Spokesperson for the President of Freie Universität Berlin
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