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New administrative leadership

Birgit Augustin new chancellor at DIT

31.5.2021 | DIT Public Relations

In the presence of Bernd Sibler, Minister of State for Science and the Arts, and Vice President Prof. Waldemar Berg, University President Prof. Dr. Peter Sperber transferred the position of Chancellor of the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT) to Birgit Augustin today. Together with Dr Stefanie Duarte-Fernades as deputy chancellor, Augustin will be in charge of the administration at DIT from 1 June. She has already been responsible for this task on an interim basis since January 2021.

"I am very happy we were able to win over Ms Augustin as a long-time employee and intimate connoisseur of our university for the important function of chancellor," said DIT President Sperber in high spirits. Sperber was equally pleased with the choice of Duarte-Fernandes as deputy chancellor. With the female dual leadership of Augustin/Duarte-Fernandes, DIT has now excellent leaders in the administrative management. The extra diversity in the university management is also very welcome. Minister of State Bernd Sibler sees it the same way. As it is well known, he wants to promote the advancement of women at universities in the Free State. Especially in research, but not only there. "In order to develop the full potential of our universities, we need highly qualified women - both in research and teaching as well as in administration. I am very pleased that the office of Chancellor at DIT is now in the hands of Birgit Augustin, who has been very familiar with the university for years. With her and her deputy, there are now two women in the strong management team at the Deggendorf Institute of Technology. This makes the university exemplary - as in many other areas. On the part of the Free State, we want to promote the advancement of women even further with our new Higher Education Innovation Act," said the Minister.

In her new task, Augustin, who was born in Mettingen, wants above all to be an integrative link in the field of tension between academic freedom and state authority. "That," says Augustin, "is not always easy, given all the legal framework conditions that have been set and must be observed." The biggest challenge in the next few years will be the implementation of the Higher Education Innovation Act (HIG). Its goal is a considerable streamlining and deregulation of the universities in Bavaria. "Even though we don't yet know exactly what the HIG will look like in the end," Augustin explained, "one of our main tasks will be to guide our colleagues at DIT along the new path and to create appropriate structures." The change, she said, must take place not only in laws and position papers, but also in the minds of university employees. With Dr. Duarte-Fernandes, Augustin knows she has a competent and pragmatic colleague at her side. The lawyer has been at DIT since 1 February 2020 and heads the Legal Affairs and Real Estate Department.

The pandemic has opened up another field that is currently changing the work at the university in a lasting way. "We have learned that both teaching and office work do not require a one hundred percent presence at the DIT," says the new chancellor. Hybrid forms of teaching and working are the future. For this, she says, it is necessary to design functioning models that will also contribute to a better work-life balance for employees. And at least in the university administrations, digitalisation is to be vigorously promoted. Augustin says: "In just a few years, our previously paper-based way of working should be history. We will develop a largely paperless office."

It remains to be seen how much time Birgit Augustin will have for her hobbies nature and sports. But the 51-year-old is positive: "The most important thing is health. Then all challenges are manageable. In dealing with each other, Augustin wishes for what the philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr once so aptly formulated: "I wish for the serenity to accept things I cannot change; the courage to change things I can; and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other."

Bild (DIT): DIT has a new administrative leadership (from right): DIT Vice President Prof. Waldemar Berg, the new Chancellor Birgit Augustin, Minister of State Bernd Sibler, Deputy Chancellor Dr. Stefanie Duarte-Fernandes and DIT President Prof. Peter Sperber.