On 1 October 2019, mdw Rector Ulrike Sych began her second four-year term of office. She was reappointed by the University Board in May 2018 following her unanimous nomination by the Senate. The Vice Rectors from her first term of office—Johann Bergmann, Vice Rector for Financial Affairs and Business Administration; Barbara Gisler-Haase, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Young Artists’ Promotion; and Gerda Müller, Vice Rector for Organizational Development, Gender & Diversity—will now be joined by Johannes Meissl as Vice Rector for International Affairs and Art. “As one of the leading artists and educators at the mdw and thanks to his specialised expertise and many years of experience both in leadership positions and in university decision-making bodies, Johannes Meissl is an outstanding choice for this function,” says Rector Ulrike Sych, who looks forward to working together with all of her Rectorate colleagues.
The further expansion and advancement of artistic research and digitisation, completion of the new “Future Art Lab” building on the mdw campus along with move-in of the associated departments, and establishing the Research Centre for Ethnomusicology are just a few of the projects that the Rectorate team will be taking on during its new term, according to the rector. In general, and with an eye to this year’s QS World University Ranking (which is headed up by the mdw), she emphasises: “We’ll be making an effort to see that the mdw retains its top position worldwide. Doing so will be a challenge that involves not only reforming our curricula to better suit students’ needs and the various professional fields’ requirements, but also providing the best possible resources to students, instructors, and administrators.” In this context, Rector Sych assumes that the outcome of the upcoming budget negotiations with the responsible federal ministry will ensure the funding needed to do so.
In view of the great number of future projects and plans, Rector Ulrike Sych empha-sises the importance of working together with colleagues from the areas of teaching, research, and administration, as well as with the students themselves: “One thing that sets the mdw apart is its highly transparent and participative culture of communication that extends across all areas.” The incoming Rectorate team will continue to strongly emphasise discussions with regard to an expanded notion of quality that is associated not just with excellence in research and scholarship, science, teaching, and art, but also with a non-negotiable stance: that of upholding human dignity and human rights. Rector Sych hastens to emphasise: “The mdw takes its social responsibility as an arts university very seriously. Democratic values, equal treatment, transculturality, and diversity are things that we actively practice—and individuals who study and work at the mdw simultaneously serve as ambassadors for these values.”