As head of the Triesdorf administration office, Hannelore Göttler has a lot of strings to pull and, like any good manager, has to see things from the viewpoint of many different people and departments. She has a major advantage here: she knows many of the administration units 'from the inside', thanks to her own experience. That’s because in the 36 years she has worked at HSWT, Hannelore Göttler held five different positions before becoming manager of the Central University Administration in Triesdorf in 2016.
It all began in 1985, with a job advertisement in the Weidenbach community newsletter. Ms Göttler, who had trained as a retail assistant, wanted a change of direction at the time and was looking for a job that would fit in well with her family life. HSWT was recruiting a library assistant, and soon after Ms Göttler, who isn’t afraid of new challenges, was standing among the bookshelves. After a year and a half, she moved to the Department Chair's office. Back then, when the Triesdorf campus accommodated just 260 students, the different units still shared this office. Over the years, the campus grew, new buildings and research institutions were opened, the number of students, lecturers and staff increased, and the office split into a central administration office and Department administration office. Ms Göttler worked at the latter until 2006.
"I thought – and still think – it was great to be part of the university’s evolution. When I first came here, the entire staff, including the professors, used to fit round one table. The Triesdorf campus is much bigger and broader today. And it’s still continuing to evolve." One particular memory recalled by Ms Göttler, a native Middle Franconian, is when they moved into the C building in 2007; it was the university’s first building of its own in Triesdorf. "It was a real 'wow' moment," she recalls, thinking back on this significant step for the Triesdorf campus.
After her time at the Department, Ms Göttler moved to the Fees Administration Office, until she became department head of the General Course Guidance Office in 2011 after completing a training course. After five years in this position, she finally became head of the Central Administration Office on the Triesdorf campus.
In this role, she is responsible for the general organisation of student and examination administration, estate management and all central administration units, such as the post department and cash office, as well as being the point of contact for non-academic staff.
The variety of the job is both an asset and a challenge for Ms Göttler. "I have to quickly switch from one thing to another and shift from thinking about one matter to something else entirely in the blink of an eye," she explains. And that often continues after she finishes work, she adds, laughing. That’s because what she wished for back in 1985 – a good balance between work and family life – has come true: Ms Göttler has two children and three grandchildren who live in the same building as her.
Her job is often about getting things underway. "You have to know who the right point of contact is for each issue. In this respect, it really helps that I have been at HSWT for so long and have worked in different roles: I know the structures that have developed and how they are linked together. This also helps when I’m working with my teams, as I know their challenges to a certain extent from my own experience."
What does the 59-year-old think of the university as a place of work? "I find the whole university construct inspiring, because it combines so many different factors: teaching, students, research and many different administration tasks. A campus like this has its own charm too, perhaps particularly because Triesdorf is a very special campus – in the countryside, very friendly and with vocational and teaching partners in the immediate neighbourhood."
Speaking of neighbourhood, there is only seven kilometres separating Ms Göttler, who grew up in Weidenbach, from her home and workplace. "I can just about see the campus out of the window," she says, "but the distance is perfect: close enough for a short journey to work and far enough to be able to switch off from it at home." She also keeps a healthy balance in other ways: "I pack my sports clothes in the morning and go for a jog straight after I finish work. A few kilometres in my running shoes is a great way for me to make the switch from work to leisure time."