Campus - 04.09.2015 - 00:00 

Milestones in teaching and research

With the launch of two global centers, an innovation competition for new teaching techniques and the announcement of a campus extension, further milestones in the direction of Vision 2020 were reached in the past year. The University Management reported on this in the context of their annual media meeting.


7 September 2015. Besides a report on regional roots, Education Minister and Chairman of the University's Board of Governors Stefan Kölliker and President Thomas Bieger focused their annual media meeting at the beginning of the Autumn Semester, on the past and coming academic year.

Outlook and review

In research, the launch of the two new global centers on Customer Insight (research into purchase decisions and purchaser behaviour) and Entrepreneurship and Innovation has provided the HSG with the wherewithal to earn global recognition at least in individual areas. This is all the more important since in the international competition, it is increasingly important to reach a critical mass since ever larger research centres with extensive budgets are emerging. In order to be able to keep abreast in at least some individual fields, the HSG requires the ability to adapt its budget to key strategic points in the long term and to specifically raise third-party funds for the purpose. With the introduction of performance agreements covering several years, combined with an increase in the HSG’s autonomy from 2016, the University of St.Gallen would be able to satisfy these requirements, said Education Minister Stefan Kölliker. The extension of the funding period to four years will provide the HSG with significantly wider entrepreneurial leeway and thus also with the opportunities to continue to occupy a leading position among business universities both at a national and at an international level.

Since competition is becoming increasingly fiercer, particularly in the market for good researchers and faculty members, but also for excellent students and doctoral students, Thomas Bieger considers the brand to be one of a university's essential strategic success factors. In the past year, the HSG brand was reinforced with the production of a brand identity, including a claim. With the claim "From insight to impact" or «Wissen schafft Wirkung», the HSG expresses its self-conception: it wants to combine rigorous basic research with application-oriented practical research, with the aim of contributing towards the solution to current issues of the economy and of society, thus generating impact.

In teaching, too, the HSG is focusing on consistently continuing development. It played a pioneering role in the implementation of the Bologna reforms and was one of the first universities to consistently configure the undergraduate year as an Assessment Year. Also, important foundations were laid in order to get closer to the general principle of educating personalities who think integratively and act entrepreneurially. This was done through the reform of the Assessment Year two years ago, which can now also be studied in English for the first time, and through the Integration Week for students coming from other universities to join the HSG's Master's Level, which will be conducted for the first time this autumn. Today and in the future, there will be a particular focus on the further development of didactics and methodology in teaching. This is the reason why in the past year, an innovation competition for modern teaching techniques was initiated and a support group for faculty members was set up.

Extension of the University

To safeguard the quality of teaching and research and particularly also of innovative forms of teaching and research, it is essential to have an infrastructure that is up to date and capable of satisfying room requirements. The University of St.Gallen’s existing campus has been designed for approx. 5,000 students, the Library for only 3,500 students. In this Autumn Semester, almost 8,300 students are expected to be enrolled at the University.

The University was therefore grateful that the Cantonal Government had made the necessary decisions in order to allow for an extension both on the Girtannersberg (Rosenberg) and at a second location, namely Platztor in the immediate proximity of the city centre, said Thomas Bieger. "We're also grateful that the Municipal Council and the Municipal Parliament have already approved the land sales that are required for this." The master plans were currently being drawn up, and a popular ballot on this important construction project could be expected in autumn 2017. "The objective is, similar to what it was in 1963 when the existing campus was inaugurated on the Rosenberg, to create an icon not only for the University of St.Gallen but also for St.Gallen and Eastern Switzerland." And in Stefan Kölliker's words: "With this project, we will be moving the University a great step towards the city and its population. We’ve still got a long way ahead of us. However, it will also be worth it for the voting public."

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