Center for University Development

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Center for University Development
legal form gGmbH
founding 1994
founder Reinhard Mohn and Hans-Uwe Erichsen
Seat Gutersloh
Managing directors Jörg Dräger and Frank Ziegele
owner Bertelsmann Foundation and the Foundation for the Promotion of the University Rectors' Conference
sales 5 million euros (2018)
Employees approx. 50 (as of 2020)

The Center for University Development (CHE) was founded in 1994 by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the German Rectors' Conference as a non-profit company. The center works on concepts for university reform , as a project partner for universities and ministries and as a provider of advanced training programs. In the form of case-specific projects within universities, overarching studies and workshops on current university policy issues, as well as publications and rankings, the aim is to liberalize and modernize the German higher education system. The institution is known to the general public for its university ranking published annually .


According to its own opinion, the CHE advocates more autonomy, diversity and social relevance in the German university system. Universities should therefore act as independently as possible within the framework of state framework guidelines, and develop and pursue their own strategies. For example, they should have the right to choose their students themselves, to determine their internal organizational form themselves and to largely freely dispose of the budget made available by the state .


The institution was founded on February 9, 1994 in Gütersloh by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the University Rectors' Conference as a non-profit GmbH and started work on May 1, 1994. The Bertelsmann Foundation and the Foundation for the Promotion of the University Rectors' Conference are its shareholders. The managing directors are Jörg Dräger and Frank Ziegele. The annual budget is around 5 million euros (as of 2018).

The center is advised by an advisory board on the content. Currently (2020) the advisory board includes: Peter-André Alt , Holger Burckhart , Aart De Geus , Carsten Könneker , Georg Krücken , Antonio Loprieno , Thomas May , Joachim Metzner and Birgitta Wolff .

Center for University Development and CHE Consult GmbH, Gütersloh

CHE Consult GmbH

CHE Consult GmbH was founded in 2001 as a spin-off from the Center for University Development. It has been based in Berlin since November 1, 2012, and before that it resided in the same building as the non-profit organization. CHE Consult GmbH sees its task in advising universities as well as carrying out projects for ministries and foundations. The managing director of CHE Cunsult GmbH is Bernd Klöver.


Critics see the CHE's work as a neoliberal reshaping of the university system . The CHE does lobby work in the media, politics and society to increase the acceptance of tuition fees and elite universities. It is u. a. found a connection between the work of the CHE and the increasing influence of economic interests on state educational institutions, which is not necessarily in the general interest.

The proximity of the CHE to the Bertelsmann group is seen as particularly explosive . Since the center is largely financed by the Bertelsmann Stiftung , the majority owner of Bertelsmann AG, critics doubt the socio-political neutrality and altruism of the institution and assume that the policy of the CHE is largely shaped by the interests and ideas of the media group. The CHE acts as a PR agency under the guise of a non-profit, civil society foundation.

In the context of the debate about tuition fees , a survey by the CHE that was criticized as manipulative and carried out by the Forsa Institute on behalf of the foundation came under fire. The respondents were asked one after the other about three tuition fee models, which they could either approve or reject. From the preference for a fee model by the surveyed students, it was concluded in a press release by the CHE that there was general approval from students for the introduction of tuition fees. On the other hand, consent in principle to tuition fees was not asked for, i. H. the respondents could not speak out against tuition fees in general. The free amalgamation of student bodies then called for the universities to cease working with the CHE.

Last but not least, the university ranking is controversial. Comparative criteria such as publication performance or professors 'judgments about the subject areas are criticized as not being very objective, the students' perception is given too little weight, and the questionnaires sent to students are sometimes suggestive.

The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities has not supported the CHE ranking since 2007 due to deficiencies in the methodology for measuring research and cultural factors. Individual Swiss universities continue to participate. Since 2008, the Austrian representation of universities has not been calling on their universities to participate in the CHE ranking either - individual universities continue to participate in various subjects at their own request. From Italy, the Free University of Bozen has been participating in the CHE university ranking with individual subjects since 2008. Students from the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences in Berlin decided in October 2007 to boycott the ranking as a whole. In July 2009, Faculty 3 (Linguistics, Literature and Media Studies) at the University of Siegen announced that its subjects would no longer participate in the CHE ranking. The reason given is that the ranking gives "the ranking private company the opportunity to actually control the public education system and evade democratic control." The ranking promotes inequality between universities. It promotes "the decoupling of research and teaching and thus contributes to the dismantling of the traditional strengths of the German higher education system." The willingness to participate is decreasing in Germany, most recently the mathematics and natural science faculty of the University of Kiel said goodbye. Faculties 2 and 8 of the University of Siegen also no longer take part in the ranking. In July 2009, the Historikerverband (Association of Historians in Germany, the professional organization of German history) decided not to participate in the CHE ranking. The resolution was renewed in August 2012.

In mid-2012, the German Sociological Society called on its members to boycott the CHE university ranking due to "serious methodological weaknesses and empirical gaps".


  • Jens Wernicke, Torsten Bultmann (ed.): Network of Power - Bertelsmann. The media-political complex from Gütersloh , 2nd extended edition Marburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-939864-02-8 .
  • Detlef Müller-Böling : The university unleashed . ISBN 3-8920-4477-5 ( PDF ).
  • Oliver Schöller: Bertelsmann is leading the way! . In: UTOPIE Kreativ , H. 155, 2003, pp. 803-811 ( PDF ).
  • Markus Struben: Picture your opinion poll! Demoscopy as demagogy . In: BdWi study booklet Education Financing . Marburg 2002, pp. 25-26.
  • Werner Biermann, Arno Klönne: Agenda Bertelsmann. A corporation creates politics . PapyRossa, Cologne 2007

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b About us. In: CHE. Center for University Development, accessed January 1, 2020 .
  2. CHE Gemeinnütziges Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung GmbH, Gütersloh, annual financial statements for the financial year from 01/01/2018 to 12/31/2018. In: Federal Gazette. Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, March 22, 2019, accessed on January 1, 2020 .
  3. Imprint. In: CHE Consult. Accessed January 1, 2020 .
  4. a b c Jens Wernicke , Torsten Bultmann (ed.): Network of Power - Bertelsmann. The media-political complex from Gütersloh, 2nd extended edition Marburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-939864-02-8 .
  5. a b c Kyrosch Alidusti : Think Tank for Tuition Fees: How the Center for University Development makes policy at universities .
  6. The Center for University Development and University Reforms (
  7. ^ "The mastermind behind the scenes - the influence of the Bertelsmann Group on the universities" by Wolfgang Lieb
  8. CHE press release of December 11, 2003: Students mostly for tuition fees
  9. Press release of the fzs from December 18, 2003. ( Memento of the original from May 31, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Press release of the fzs of July 14th, 2004. ( Memento of the original of August 22nd, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung online, "Critique of Survey on Tuition Fees", December 19, 2003
  12. Kerstin Meier : Red points for the Cologne university . In: of May 3, 2010 (printed May 4, 2010, page 21)
  13. Austria no longer takes part in the CHE ranking Der Standard August 21, 2007.
  14. Ranking of universities increasingly under criticism Telepolis from October 23, 2007.
  16. accessed on September 21, 2012
  17., "Sociologists no longer want: CHE ranking under fire", July 5, 2012 Lead article with many links on the topic

Coordinates: 51 ° 54 ′ 30 ″  N , 8 ° 25 ′ 9 ″  E