Organizational Reform

Executive Board of the University Restructured

The Executive Board of the University is renewing its structures and processes. The first changes entered into force on 1 August 2018. The Offices of the Vice Presidents have been given new designations, Professor Beatrice Beck Schimmer is the new Vice President Medicine, and Professor Gabriele Siegert has taken on the position of Deputy President in addition to her role as Vice President. The complete reform package will be implemented in stages and completed by 2020.

Communications

UZH
UZH
Main building of the University of Zurich. (Image: Stefan Walter)

 

The Executive Board of the University has a new structure. The remits of the Offices of the Vice Presidents have been optimized. This frees up capacity in the Executive Board of the University, allowing it to focus on the strategic management and development of UZH.

Key changes entering into force on 1 August

The most striking change to the previous structure relates to the remits and names of the Offices of the Vice Presidents. Previously, the Vice Presidents were the representatives of the faculties in the Executive Board of the University. In the future, however, they will be released from their functions as “stand-in” deans, since the deans will now themselves be able to gradually represent selected interests of their faculties in the Executive Board of the University. The Vice Presidents can thus focus on university-wide matters that fall within their areas of responsibility. Special attention was given to scope and relevance in the allocation of tasks.

To further professionalize the leadership of the faculties and the Executive Board of the University, the terms of office have been increased from two to four years. The relevant roles, which are currently part-time, have been converted into full-time functions; however, individual solutions are possible for the deans.

The role of Deputy President has been newly created and will be held by one of the Vice Presidents. The role has four-year term of office. Vice President Gabriele Siegert has been appointed as Deputy President by the Executive Board of the University for the 2018-2022 term. In addition to her specific areas of responsibility as Vice President, she will be responsible for the areas of evaluation, diversity (including gender equality) and sustainability.

Executive Board of the University now with seven members

The structure of the Executive Board of the University is now as follows:

  • The previous Office of the Vice President for Arts and Social Sciences, headed up Gabriele Siegert, has been renamed the Office of the Vice President Education and Student Affairs, and has been given a major overhaul in terms of its areas of responsibility: The areas of teaching, student affairs and continuing education have been joined together, creating a thematically coherent unit.
     
  • The previous Office of the Vice President for Veterinary Medicine and Science, headed up by Michael Schaepman, has been renamed the Office of the Vice President Research, and continues to be in charge of university-wide research, innovation and academic career development.
     
  • The previous Office of the Vice President for Law and Economics, headed up by Christian Schwarzenegger, has been renamed the Office of the Vice President Faculty Affairs and Scientific Information, and has been given an overhaul. Legal services and data protection, library services, IT, as well as the Digital Society Initiative have been assigned to this unit.
     
  • The Office of the Vice President Medicine, created as a temporary solution in August 2017 as a result of the splitting up of the former Office of the Vice President for Medicine and Science, is now headed up by Professor of Anesthesiology Beatrice Beck Schimmer as the new Vice President Medicine. This unit has a special position compared with the three Offices of the Vice Presidents inasmuch as it continues to directly represent the interests of a faculty within the Executive Board of the University. This is necessary due to the particularly complex environment of university medicine. The aim of the Vice President Medicine is to ensure that the Faculty of Medicine, the University’s hospitals, the medicine-related areas of ETH Zurich, and other stakeholders in the health-care sector in the greater Zurich area step up their mutual cooperation and that the University Medicine Zurich (UMZH) network is bolstered further. Professor of anesthesiology Beatrice Beck Schimmer has been appointed in the role of Vice President Medicine.
     
  • The new Directorate for Real Estate and Facility Management had already been created at the beginning of the year, with real estate affairs being separated from the previous Finances, Human Resources and Infrastructure Division. This was necessary due to the scope and complexity of UZH’s upcoming construction projects. François Chapuis has been appointed as the new Director of Real Estate and Facility Management and will take up the position on 1 December 2018. Until then the directorate will be led by Peter Bodmer on an ad interim basis.
  • The Director of Finances and Human Resources is Stefan Schnyder.
     
  • The Executive Board of the University continues to be headed up by the President Michael Hengartner. The new position of a deputy will now ease the workload of the President, meaning he will be able to increase his focus on strategy, external relations and fundraising.

The changes to the Offices of the Vice Presidents will take place gradually. During a two-year transition phase, the Vice Presidents will continue to act as the contacts for the faculties assigned to their role. The implementation of the new governance model is expected to be complete by the summer of 2020. This is also when the change concerning professorial appointments will take effect: The Vice President Faculty Affairs and Scientific Information will from then on oversee all professorial appointment negotiations with the direct involvement of the relevant dean

The composition of the Executive Board of the University is therefore now as follows:

  • President: Michael Hengartner
  • Deputy President: Gabriele Siegert
  • Vice President Research: Michael Schaepman
  • Vice President Education and Student Affairs: Gabriele Siegert
  • Vice President Faculty Affairs and Scientific Information: Christian Schwarzenegger
  • Vice President Medicine: Beatrice Beck Schimmer
  • Director of Finances and Human Resources: Stefan Schnyder
  • Director of Real Estate and Facility Management: Peter Bodmer ad interim until 30 November 2018, François Chapuis from 1 December 2018

Besides the voting members, the meetings of the Executive Board of the University will continue to be attended by three participants in an advisory capacity: Secretary General Rita Stöckli, Head of Communications Jürg Dinner, and General Counsel Isabella Balmer.

Strategic dialogue between the Executive Board of the University and the faculty deans

The reform of the Executive Board of the University takes into account the culture and history of UZH. The current decision-making bodies – the Board of the University, the Senate, the Extended Executive Board of the University, the Executive Board of the University, and the seven faculties – will remain in place. The autonomy of the faculties will also remain – in fact, their autonomy in certain matters will even be increased: In the future, the deans will more often conclude business at the faculty level. In addition, they will themselves, rather than the Vice Presidents, represent key interests of their faculties in the Executive Board of the University.

To involve the faculties more closely in the strategic business of the Executive Board of the University, a Strategic Dialogue will be introduced whereby each faculty leadership will separately meet with the Executive Board of the University twice a year to engage in strategic discussions. Not all of the new roles and responsibilities of the deans have yet been determined in detail. Open questions will be addressed over the next two years in the relevant implementation program.

UZH’s governance model

UZH’s new governance model is the fruit of several years of development work. An initial proposal for reform was submitted for consultation in 2014. On this basis, a follow-up project by the Executive Board of the University and the Board of the University involving the deans was launched in 2015. The organizational model that emerged from this project was approved by the Board of the University in early 2018.

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