Green, innovative, and practical - Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences in a nutshell. Since it was founded in 1971, it has developed a unique profile. No other university of applied sciences has a comparable range of subjects so clearly and consistently oriented towards green subjects. Uniquely in Bavaria, the degree programmes cover everything to do with nature, food, and the environment in the very broadest sense, ranging from the scientific to the artistic, from high-tech to Land Art, from molecules via trees through to landscape areas.
The environmental management system at the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences has been validated in accordance with EMAS. This makes it Bavaria's second university to tackle the demanding environmental regulations set down by the European Union. As early as 2009, the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences reached target agreements with the Bavarian State Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts relating to the development of an "ecologically sustainable and resource-efficient university". As part of this process, in 2012, a decision was made to introduce an environmental management system to be audited by external consultants. The university decided to implement an environmental management system based on the European Union's EMAS regulations (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme).
Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences is split into two sections, Weihenstephan and Triesdorf, which between them are home to seven departments. Together, they offer 19 bachelor's degree programmes, 12 work-study degree programmes and 12 master's degree programmes. The subjects offered form a self-contained cluster of subject areas that cover essential aspects of human life. It begins with agricultural raw material production, includes the processing of animal products, covers relevant issues in food and food supply, considers environmental concerns, and extends to the development of rural and urban spaces. Accordingly, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences provides education and training that cover the entire supply chain - from the field to the table, or from the field to the electric wall socket. With degree programmes leading to a double degree, study placements and work placements as well as active collaborations with more than 80 educational institutions worldwide, the education and training provided also has a very international perspective.
What marks Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences out and makes it such a success is the direct practical relevance and sound scientific basis of the education and training it provides. It is part of its philosophy to educate and train students for opportunities in a variety of occupations, thereby also meeting the needs of industry and business. Knowledge and technology transfer is the link between the university and businesses, associations and institutions. Research has equal priority.
Weihenstephan-Triesdorf is the only university of applied sciences in Germany that has consistently specialised in green engineering degree programmes. All subjects are based on nature, man, and natural resources. From the molecule to the apple, from energy to health, from fields of wheat to spaces to live and landscape areas - in all the degree programmes the focus is on managing and using natural resources both efficiently and sustainably.
Our students live and learn on the largest green campus in Germany. Show gardens, experimental farms, laboratories, and a biotechnology centre all provide an excellent learning environment. The atmosphere is informal and friendly - our students are at the heart of all we do.
Most of our students come from our region in Germany; our partner universities are located around the world. This allows us to offer our students study placements, projects, and the preparation of final dissertations and research proposals all over the world.
All Departments at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf conduct research that is interdisciplinary and practice-based in nature and international in scope. All Departments collaborate closely with one another, and we are continuing to expand our collaboration with other universities both in Germany and abroad. As a partner to business and industry, we focus on applied research and deliver results with practical relevance in collaboration with them. These results in turn feed back into the education and training of our students and allow us to keep the content of our programmes up-to-date and relevant in practice. Quality management is a fundamental principle of our university of applied sciences.
For us, quality management is a permanent process in which we all play a role. Our quality management systems cover all areas of the university. It helps us to pursue clear strategies, achieve our objectives, and maintain transparency and sustainability.
Our staff are our most precious asset; their subject expertise and social skills ensure our success. For us, respect, trust in one another, professional development, career opportunities, and flexible work models are all a given. Half of our students are women. In this respect, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf ranks first in engineering degree programmes in Germany. This is an incentive to us to strive for equality of opportunity, the promotion of women, and a family-friendly attitude in all areas of the university.
The aim of research and teaching at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf is the efficient and sustainable management of nature and natural resources. We are actively working on maintaining the fundamentals of life and ensuring sustainable competitiveness. It is with this perspective that we educate and train our students to be responsible engineers, who then have the first-class education and training to be ideally placed for employment both in Germany and abroad.
On 19 March 2014, the Bavarian Minister of Science, Dr Ludwig Spaenle, and the President of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Dr h.c. (MSUA) Hermann Heiler, signed an agreement outlining the objectives for the further development of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences by the year 2018.
The agreement is based on the University of Applied Science Innovation Alliance 2018 concluded by the Bavarian state government with the state universities of applied sciences and state universities in 2013. With the alliance, the state government guarantees the universities a reliable financial framework and the required planning security for the years 2014 to 2018. In return, the universities undertake to be actively involved in implementing key higher education policy objectives. In addition, individual targets are agreed with each university depending on their specific profile.
Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences undertakes to achieve the following individual targets under the Target Agreement:
The adoption of the two-tier degree system (BA/MA) is the most well-known outcome of the Bologna process. This degree system has been adopted in order to: shorten the length of study, which traditionally has been relatively long in Germany; reduce the often considerable drop-out rate; better prepare graduates for the job market; and make degree programmes and degrees internationally more compatible. It is government policy that 50 percent of students have the opportunity to go abroad as part of their studies and that 30 percent of German students spend at least one semester studying abroad. The quality and transparency of the degree programmes as well as the compatibility of the degrees are therefore key.
The adoption of the tiered degree system does not bring with it any change in academic standards - the academic training provided is of the same high standard. It does, however, mean that the curricula need to be revised; the degree programmes must be restructured into modules and a points system introduced for the assessment of academic performance. This means that the Bachelor and Master's degree programmes must be modular in structure, i.e. they are made up of large independent units of discrete and assessable content.
Moreover, academic performance and required coursework will no longer be expressed in weekly hours per semester but in credit points using the ECTS credit point system. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is a way of measuring the overall amount of work required of a student to successfully complete a degree programme. In general, 180 - 240 ECTS points are required for a Bachelor's degree and 60 - 120 ECTS points for a Master's degree. To be awarded a Master's degree, the international requirement is that students must also have gained 300 points by the end of their undergraduate studies.
With a Bachelor's degree, graduates have an initial professional qualification after just three to four years of study. On graduating, students then have the option of further developing and expanding their expertise or of specialising in a particular field of the subject initially studied by enrolling in a one or two-year Master's degree programme. Admission to the second degree, a Master's degree programme, depends on the grade achieved in the first degree. Graduates, however, also have the option of returning to higher education for further study after a period of employment.
Since 2005, all graduates can request a Diploma Supplement, free of charge and without having to make a separate application. The Diploma Supplement (DS) is a document providing a standardised description of higher education degrees/diplomas and the associated qualifications. As a supplement to official higher education degree/diploma documents such as degree/diploma certificates or examination certificates, its purpose is to facilitate and improve - both internationally and nationally - the assessment and classification of academic degrees/diplomas for both academic and employment purposes. In other words, its function is to provide a description of the higher education degree/diploma programme and the awarding higher education institution that is readily understandable and provides useful information for domestic and international higher education institutions and employers.
It is anticipated that, nationally, an extra 300,000 new students will enter higher education in the coming years. About 1,600 more young people are expected to enrol at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences - an increased intake of some 40 percent.
The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz - KMK) estimates that the number of students will rise from 1.98 million in 2005 to 2.67 million in 2014 and will remain at the same high level until 2020, when the final cohort with a high birth rate will have left school. The increase in student numbers is also the result of the reduction of schooling from thirteen to twelve years, meaning that one year will have double the normal number of school leavers with a higher education entrance qualification.
In order to keep pace with international competition, higher education institutions also need to further raise their profile in research. To therefore ensure that educational institutions can continue to perform at the requisite level and higher education institutions can cope with the increase in student numbers, the federal and state governments have decided to extend the Higher Education Pact to 2020.
A brief recap: The first Higher Education Pact to "secure education and training opportunities and research capacity" was already agreed in June 2007. This meant that higher education institutions were provided with the necessary funding to achieve their targets. On 4 June 2009, the heads of the federal and state governments agreed to extend the Pact. It has been extended to the end of 2015 and provides for the increase in student numbers and the funding of research proposals. The federal government has set aside more than five billion euros for qualitative and quantitative improvements in higher education nationally, both in a national and international context. The aim is to create 90,000 new university places in Germany by 2010. In Bavaria, the number of new students will increase by some 18,000; this will mean an extra 1,600 new students for Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Science.
In addition to teaching with a practical orientation, applied research and development has developed over the last few years to become a second core area in universities in the field of applied sciences. Thanks to various funding programmes, mainly through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), universities have significantly expanded on their strengths in application-oriented research, the transfer of knowledge and technology with companies and educating the next generation of researchers.
With the coming into power of the 2006 Bavarian Higher Education Act, the then "Fachhochschulen", now known as 'universities of applied sciences', were first given permission to work in the field of applied research. Until this time, research was kept within the universities with a focus on basic research, meaning new insights were therefore chiefly achieved through experimental or theoretical work without direct application. Applied research, too, focuses on acquiring new knowledge, but with particular emphasis on the fact that results should feed into practice, where they will find application.
It is the shared goal of all Bavarian universities to promote the ongoing continuous development of applied research and development. The high standard of teaching at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences can only be achieved when staff are familiar with the very cutting edge of technology. To this end, projects in applied research and development serve a strategic purpose for university management: both promoting young academics through cooperative programmes and intensifying their participation in research development programmes.
Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) signed a cooperative agreement in 2008, which set out guidelines for ‘cooperative doctorates’. These involve HSWT professors, who have supervised the doctoral theses of specially qualified graduates of the university, acting as experts in the formal doctoral thesis process. Doctoral students will therefore be supervised by a professor from both the HSWT and the TUM. The university has seen many talents who only discovered their draw towards and aptitude for scientific research during their studies, such as President Hermann Heiler. Moreover, professors at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences also provided relevant research experience from their university education and their time working in industry. This experience is invaluable in supporting doctoral students. And HSWT’s experience of cooperative doctorates with universities in other countries has also proven to significantly benefit all parties.
Third-party resources are funds that are used by universities to promote research and development, young academics and teaching in addition to the regular university budget from public or private bodies. Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences was able to continuously increase third-party funding from research from around EUR 3.5 million in 2011 to more than EUR 5 million in 2015. This was possible due to the increased participation in research development programmes on a national and federal level, from the EU and from further international organisations. Further development of applied research and development is a constant goal.
The University support association (Förderkreis e.V.) has provided support to the university since its foundation in 1988.