New Wels University of Applied Sciences Dean: “Since Corona, young people have different expectations”

New Wels University of Applied Sciences Dean: “Since Corona, young people have different expectations”
The Wels University of Applied Sciences has 1,800 students. The declines following Corona have so far only been partially offset.

A 43-year-old will be the new dean of the Wels University of Applied Sciences. The current vice-dean, Roman Froschauer, will head an educational institution with 1,800 students from September. In order to remain attractive in competition with universities, the computer scientist from Mehrnbach in the Innviertel wants to subject the 30 Wels degree programs to constant evaluation.

OÖN: You are taking over your new role from Michael Rabl, who is moving to the FH presidency in September. In which direction do you want to develop the university of applied sciences?

Roman Froschauer: The current dean placed great emphasis on the topic of sustainability. My role over the next five years will be to set further priorities.

And what would they be?

I am in favor of making teaching more flexible. We offer a wide range of 30 courses. The creation of the degree program network, which I was able to play a key role in shaping, brings together our training offerings. In this way, we want to simplify access for applicants and make the topic of studying more understandable for those interested.

There are currently 15 Bachelor’s and 15 Master’s degree programs. Can this large offering be filled entirely with students?

It is fundamentally the responsibility of the Executive Board to decide which degree programs are created where. Our job is to adapt degree programs depending on capacity. This is a challenge, but we are already very experienced in doing so and have invested a lot in modularizing our teaching.

Corona has caused a collapse in student numbers. Are the after-effects still being felt?

At that time, we had lost between ten and 20 percent of our students. Things have changed since then. Young people now have different expectations. We are a classic commuter university. Around 70 percent of our students do not live in Wels. That is why we want to use the time here on campus as efficiently as possible. Since we have created modules, they can now choose how they want. This is having an effect. We can now see that the number of students in certain subject areas is increasing again.

You remain the head of the Robotic Systems Engineering program. How do you combine both roles?

I will not let anyone stop me from teaching anyway. It is important to be present in person, otherwise you lose contact with the students. But I will be supported by another colleague. The job is still being advertised.

The Wels FH location is like a traveling circus with a total of eleven locations.

That sounds like a lot at first, but 80 percent of all courses take place within a 400-meter radius. At the Traunpark location, we group the lectures together so that the students are there all day. They don’t see that as a negative thing. It’s a shame that there are no more shops there.

The neighboring eww headquarters will soon be vacant.

I only know from press reports that the city is planning to set up a start-up center in the old eww headquarters in cooperation with the university of applied sciences. The project has not yet been finalized, but it would be a good option. In the long term, there is also the prospect of premises in the neighboring BFI and in the Chamber of Labor. But that is not yet finalized and I have no information on it.

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