University Council

The University Council, group photo Photo: Grewer, Karmann, Kavalenko, Open Universiteit, privat, Sachs, Welsch (3), Wiciok
(Top row, from left) Prof. Dr. Ursula Nelles (Chair), Andreas Meyer-Lauber, Prof. Dr. Felicitas Schmieder, Prof. Dr. Theo Bastiaens, Dr. Jürgen Ewert, (bottom row, from left) Christiane Schönefeld, Prof. Dr. Thomas Eichner, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Zwiehoff, Dr. Simone Rehm, Prof. Dr. Winfried Hochstättler.

The task of the University Council is to advise the University Board on strategic issues and supervise its management. The members of the University Council are appointed for a term of five years. Core elements of its tasks include the election of the University Board members and the approval of the university business plan. The University Council also receives the University Board’s accountability report and can make recommendations and comments on the University Development Plan.

The Members of the University Council

Professor Dr. Theo J. Bastiaens

Rector Magnificus of the Open Universiteit Nederland

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Prof. Dr. Theo J. Bastiaens studied Educational Science at the Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht and wrote his doctoral thesis on “Learning and Working with Electronic Performance Support Systems” at the Technical University of Twente. From 1997, Theo Bastiaens was an assistant professor in Twente teaching Curriculum Theory. In 1998, he transferred to the Open Universiteit Nederland, where he was appointed an associate professor in 2002 and then awarded a part-time professorship in educational technology from 2006.

In 2006, Professor Bastiaens accepted a professorship at the FernUniversität in Hagen, where he headed the media didactics department until 2018. From 2006 to 2010, Theo Bastiaens was also director of the Hagen Institute of Educational Science and Media Research. His research focuses on e-learning, instructional design, human resource development, and quality in education. He has contributed to numerous international publications and is a reviewer for various journals, such as Computers in Human Behavior. From 2010 to 2012, he held the office of Dean at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the FernUniversität. From March 2016 to December 2018, Professor Bastiaens was Vice-President for Digitization and Internationalization, with a focus on the digitization of teaching.

Professor Bastiaens has been Rector magnificus of the Open Universiteit Nederland (based in Heerlen) since 2019.

Professor Dr. Thomas Eichner

Chair of Economics, esp. Finance

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Before being appointed as a Professor of Economics at the FernUniversität in Hagen in 2009, Thomas Eichner had already held a professorship in Economics, focusing on Quantitative Economic Policy, at the University of Bielefeld for two years. He laid the foundations for his academic career at the University of Siegen: After studying industrial engineering, he achieved his doctorate in 1998 and completed his post-doctoral degree (Habilitation) in 2003. Substitute professorships at the universities of Bonn and Mainz followed. Thomas Eichner has already gained experience in university administration by working as the chairman of several appointment committees and as a member of the Senate of the FernUniversität. He served as vice chairman of the Senate from 2014 to 2016.

Dr. Jürgen Ewert

Center for Taxes and Finances

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Jürgen Ewert studied economics in Essen from 1980 to 1985. After graduating with a degree in business administration, he joined the FernUniversität in Hagen as a research assistant in 1986. From 1993 to 1995, he worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Business Administration, in particular Banking and Finance, at the FernUniversität, while completing his doctorate and is now a senior academic councilor. Since March 2011, he has been a research associate at the Center for Tax and Finance. From 1990 to 1992 Jürgen Ewert worked as a freelance lecturer for business administration in adult education. During this period, he studied economics part-time at the FernUniversität in Hagen, graduating with a degree in economics. Jürgen Ewert is the co-author of several textbooks and exercise books on the topics of investment, finance and risk management and has been involved in the conception and development of teaching forms at the university for many years. He has been a member of the University Council since 2008.

Professor Dr. Winfried Hochstättler

Department of Discrete Mathematics and Optimization

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After completing his diploma in mathematics at the University of Cologne, Winfried Hochstättler went on to earn his doctorate there in 1992. Afterwards, he achieved his post-doctoral degree (Habilitation) at the Department of Economics at the University of Bonn and at DIMACS/Rutgers State University of New Jersey. This was followed by a substitute professorship for Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science at the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus and a one-year position as senior assistant at the Clausthal University of Technology. After this, Winfried Hochstättler was appointed Professor for Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science at the BTU Cottbus. Since 2004, he has been head of the department of Discrete Mathematics and Optimization at the FernUniversität. The mathematician’s first involvement in the academic administration of the FernUniversität was as Dean of Studies of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science (2008 to 2010) and later as Chairman of the Senate (2013 to 2014).

Andreas Meyer-Lauber

Former. Chairman of the DGB District NRW

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Andreas Meyer-Lauber studied political science, German language and literature, education and philosophy at the Free University of Berlin from 1970 to 1977. In 1979, he completed his Second State Examination for teaching at secondary schools in Minden. From 1987 to 2004, he worked as a teacher at the Haspe Comprehensive School in Hagen, which he also co-founded. From 1993 to 2004, he was active as a member of the main staff council for comprehensive schools at the NRW Ministry of Education. From 2004 to 2010, Andreas Meyer-Lauber was chairman of the Education and Science Union (GEW) in North Rhine-Westphalia, and from 2010 to 2017 he was chairman of the DGB district of NRW. He is a member of the WDR Broadcasting Council and, since 2013, also of the University Council of the FernUniversität in Hagen.

Professorin Dr. Ursula Nelles (Vorsitzende)

Former Rector of the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster

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Ursula Nelle’s professional career is closely linked to the University of Münster. Her academic career there started with a degree in law, which she followed up with a doctorate (1980) and post-doctorate (Habilitation, 1990). After holding interim professorships in Münster and Hamburg and a guest lectureship at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, Ursula Nelles was appointed Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the University of Bremen in 1991. At the same time, she taught at the universities of Greifswald (1992) and Düsseldorf (1993/94). She turned down offers of professorships in Hamburg, Greifswald, and Düsseldorf before returning to Münster in 2004. She worked there as the director of the Institute of Criminal Sciences and dean of the Faculty of Law from 2004 to 2006. From 2006 to 2016, Ursula Nelles was President of the University of Münster. Since August 20, 2019, she has been Chair of the University Council at the FernUniversität.

Dr. Simone Rehm

Vice Rector for Information Technology/CIO of the University of Stuttgart

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Simone Rehm started accumulating IT expertise while studying computer science at the University of Stuttgart and working as a research assistant in the Program Structures Research Group at the Computer Science Research Center at the University of Karlsruhe from 1986 to 1992 (where she also earned her doctorate). From 1993 to 1994, she worked as a database developer in the IT department at Ciba-Geigy GmbH and from 1995 to 1996 she was a project manager in information management at the pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG. Her next role was the strategic and operational management of the deployment of information and, to a lesser extent, communications technology at the broadcaster Südwestfunk (SWF), and later Südwestrundfunk (SWR), and spent more than 14 years as CIO of the TRUMPF Group, a leading international mechanical engineering company. She also spent some time at TRUMPF Medical Systems as interim managing director. Since 2016, Simone Rehm has been Vice-President at the University of Stuttgart, where, in her role as CIO, she is responsible for the strategic orientation of information technology and the design of digitization projects.

Professor Dr. Felicitas Schmieder

Department of “History and Present Age of Ancient Europe”

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Christiane Schönefeld

Chief Human Resources, Controlling and Finance Officer of the Federal Employment Agency

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Christiane Schönefeld joined the executive board of the Federal Employment Agency in September 2019, where she is responsible for Human Resources, Controlling and Finance. She studied law at the University of Cologne and graduated in 1986 after passing her 2nd state examination. From 1986 to 1995, she held various positions at the then Federal Labor Office (Bundesanstalt für Arbeit). Between 1995 and 1999, she worked as the Director of the Duisburg Labor Office, then as Vice-President of the North Rhine-Westphalia Regional Labor Office of the Federal Labor Office from 1999 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2019, she was Chair of the Management Board of the North Rhine-Westphalia Regional Directorate of the Federal Employment Agency. As a member of the “Growth, Structural Change and Employment” commission from 2018 to 2019, she provided the Federal German Government with advice on labor matters.

Professor Dr. Gabriele Zwiehoff

Department of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law

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Before Gabriele Zwiehoff came to the FernUniversität in Hagen to do her doctorate (1986) and post-doctorate (Habilitation, 1999), she studied law in Bochum. She has been a professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at the FernUniversität since May 2003. From 2010 to 2012, the law expert was vice chair of the university’s Senate. In the Faculty of Law, she has served as vice-dean (2012 to 2016) and dean (2016 to 2018). As an officer of the University Board, she was in charge of teaching within the prison system from 2003 to 2012. The professor is an examiner for the 2nd state law examination at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf and managing director of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education. She is also active on numerous inter-university boards and commissions.


Gabriele Lübke
Office of the University Council
Universitätsstraße 11
D-58097 Hagen
Phone: +49 2331 987-2499
Email: hochschulrat