University of Witten / Herdecke

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University of Witten / Herdecke
motto Encourage freedom - strive for truth - promote social responsibility.
founding 1982
Sponsorship private, non-profit GmbH
place Witten
state North Rhine-WestphaliaNorth Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia
country GermanyGermany Germany
president Martin Butzlaff
Students 2570 as of 2020
Employee 640 as of 2020
Annual budget approx. 38 million euros

The University of Witten / Herdecke (UW / H) is a non-state university in Witten in the southeastern Ruhr area . It was recognized by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1982 and was the first German private university to begin teaching in 1983. Since 1987 it has been a non-profit organization ("Universität Witten / Herdecke gGmbH"). The university is the only non-state university to be a member of the University Rectors' Conference .

The Herdecke component goes back to the anthroposophically oriented community hospital in the neighboring town of Herdecke in Witten . It was there that the first ideas for founding a company emerged and that is where lessons took place in the first few years. Today it is one of the partners of the university. Today the university pursues the humanistic-Humboldtian educational ideal instead of the anthroposophical one.

University profile

In the summer semester of 2016, 2,326 students were enrolled in three faculties at the university . Since May 2020 the university has consisted of two faculties:

Currently, the number of places is being expanded to around 3,200 in several years, in particular by doubling the number of medical students.

The study places are awarded in a multi-stage process; Among other things, the individual suitability of the applicant is determined in personal interviews. The admission committees consist of representatives of the university (professors, employees, students) and external parties (sponsors and personalities from business, media and culture) as well as alumni .

NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann rates the university profile in medicine positively: “The UW / H has already distinguished itself in the past primarily through a selection process oriented towards health care aspects and very practical and patient-oriented training. We want to support that even more clearly. "


University of Witten / Herdecke, old building of the former office building of Annen
University of Witten / Herdecke Main entrance new building, campus in the industrial area Wullen
University of Witten / Herdecke, new building east

At the end of the 1970s, some anthroposophically oriented university teachers, including Konrad Schily , and doctors such as Gerhard Kienle came together to found an alternative, non-governmental university. They saw developments at that time at other universities as a standstill and complained above all about the lack of practical experience in the course and the quality of teaching. They advocated more individual support, fewer student numbers, more “study fundamentals” and overall education - with a focus on scientific and theoretical pluralism as well as a combination of academic and professional training. To this day, medical training is characterized by its practical relevance - for example, patient contact in the first semester instead of after a few years, as at state universities.

The university association Witten / Herdecke e. Founded in 1980 worked out the necessary plans and applications for the establishment . V. from. State recognition took place on July 14, 1982, and Konrad Schily became the founding president . The recording of the trial operation took place on 30 April 1983, the enrollment of 27 students of human medicine . In 1984 the Faculties of Economics and Dentistry started studying. The Bertelsmann Foundation , Deutsche Bank , Krupp Foundation and Zeit Foundation were heavily involved in the development of the university model, both ideally and financially. In 1987 the legal form was changed. The activities were transferred from the university association to the non-profit University of Witten / Herdecke GmbH ; In the same year, the main course in biochemistry (life sciences) was introduced. The founding phase was officially ended in 1989.

In 1998 the Witten Institute for Family Business was founded. The founding president Konrad Schily handed over his office to Walther Christoph Zimmerli in 1999 . In 2001 the UW / H was accepted with full voting rights in the German University Rectors 'Conference and in 2002 in the State Rectors' Conference. Wolfgang Glatthaar became President of the University of Witten / Herdecke in April 2005. In 2005, the Science Council ruled that the medical department at the university had considerable substantive and structural weaknesses in teaching and research. “There is no 'even approximate equivalence with other university medical facilities'.” NRW's Minister of Science Andreas Pinkwart then asked the private university to quickly submit a workable concept, because otherwise no further funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia through the funding commitments valid until 2006 would be possible . There was no withdrawal of medical training. A new conception of human medicine presented by the UW / H was approved by the Science Council in July 2006.

Birger Priddat was appointed president of the university in August 2007. Priddat had been working in Witten since 1992, among other things as dean of the faculty for economics and as holder of the chair for economics and philosophy.

In mid-December 2008 it was announced that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia would no longer provide the university with funding for 2008 and the following years. The state government had ordered a disbursement of 4.5 million euros in aid and demanded a further three million euros from the private university after the ministry had accused the university of not having met the legal requirements for these million dollar grants. The university also failed to comply with repeated requests to prove proper management and to present a reliable business plan for the following years. An auditing company was commissioned to create the necessary transparency about the financial situation of the private university by the beginning of 2009. President Birger Priddat denied the allegations, but resigned from his offices as president of the university and managing director of the private university Witten / Herdecke GmbH. The Vice President and Managing Director Maxim Nohroudi also resigned from his offices. Since an important sponsor had dropped out due to the economic crisis, the university was threatened with bankruptcy. On December 23, 2008, solvency could be secured at least beyond the turn of the year by the non-profit association for the development of community hospitals. The immediate bankruptcy could thus be averted.

On March 16, 2009, a new partnership agreement was signed due to the financing problems; The new shareholders were the Software AG Foundation , the Private University Witten / Herdecke Foundation , the Business Initiative, the Alumni Initiative and the Herdecke Community Hospital . Horst Philipp Bauer (Chairman of the Software AG Foundation) became the spokesman for the shareholders' meeting. In December 2009, a five-member supervisory board consisting of Johannes Dichgans, Jörg Dräger, Rudolf Kösters, Peter Hommelhoff and Arnd Zinnhardt was appointed. After restructuring measures and a guarantee from the Software AG Foundation in the amount of 10 million euros, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia resumed the suspended state funding and the funding that was initially not paid out in 2008 was also brought in in 2009 and 2010.

The Cologne-Merheim hospital became a clinical center of the University of Witten / Herdecke in 2010. In April 2010 the “Reinhard Mohn Institute for Corporate Management and Corporate Governance” (RMI) was founded. Reinhard Mohn's ideas on corporate culture and management are to be updated and further developed in the newly founded research institute. In summer 2010 the university passed its new constitution. It regulates "in addition to the legal status and tasks of the university, above all the organization and management in the faculties and academic institutions of the university". After the accreditation by the accreditation agency AQAS e. V., the master's degree in "Family Business Management (M.Sc.)" (management of family businesses) was offered for the first time in October 2010. For the 2010/11 winter semester, the University of Witten / Herdecke introduced the new bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) in October 2010.

The two faculties for human medicine and for dentistry, oral and maxillofacial medicine as well as the institute for nursing science were merged in October 2010 in a new faculty for health, which currently consists of the four departments for human medicine, dentistry, oral and maxillofacial medicine, psychology and Psychotherapy as well as nursing science exists. In November 2010, the model course in human medicine was extended until 2018.

In July 2011, the Science Council was re-accredited for a further seven years. “Since its accreditation in 2005, the university has developed positively overall. In the context of a far-reaching restructuring, it has also succeeded in noticeably improving its institutional basis for further successful development in the future, ”said the Chairman of the Science Council, Wolfgang Marquardt. The alumnus and former CFO of the DAX company K + S Jan Peter Nonnenkamp took over the office of Chancellor from Michael Anders on October 15, 2012. Jan Ehlers was elected Vice President on January 1, 2017.

In 2018, the university was reaccredited by the German Science Council with conditions for five years. He also recommended that her - with the exception of her faculty for cultural reflection in its given form - continue to exercise the right to award doctorates. The Science Council praised the special profile with the participatory study concept and the fundamental study, which is mandatory in all faculties. The achievements in research and in the promotion of young academics were “on the whole at a level commensurate with the institutional demands of a university”.


Financing comes from tuition fees, donations and grants. The StudierendenGesellschaft Witten / Herdecke , a student-run, non-profit association, has been organizing the parent-independent and socially acceptable financing of studies on the basis of the reverse generation contract since 1995 .

Households 2016–2024

In 2016 the university received 37.52 million euros in revenues and earnings. This is offset by expenses, depreciation and taxes totaling 37.48 million euros, of which 65% are personnel costs. The main sources of income for UW / H in 2016 were tuition fees (over 10 million euros), donations and grants (6.3 million euros), sales from the dental clinic (6 million euros), and grants from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (4.5 million euros) and research funding from third parties (3.5 million euros).

More places have been created and will be available from April 2019, according to the plan to double the number of medical students in the coming years. The Science Council and the university reported that state funding is currently growing gradually, from 4.5 million euros in 2018 to 10.7 million euros in 2019, up to 18.25 million euros in 2024.

Faculties and courses of study

New building of the ZBZ in Wullen (Dental-Life Sciences Research and Development Center Witten)
  • Faculty of Cultural Reflection - Study Fundamentals
    • Philosophy, cultural reflection and cultural practice (Bachelor of Arts)
    • Philosophy and Cultural Reflection (Master of Arts)
    • Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bachelor of Arts)
    • Ethics and Organization (Master of Arts)
    • Doing Culture (Master of Arts)


Research and Development Center (FEZ) at the University of Witten / Herdecke

The research agenda of the UW / H is interdisciplinary and aims to contribute to societal challenges in health, culture, politics and business. Important interdisciplinary research topics include outpatient health care and digitization. In recent years, UW / H has regularly spent more than 10 million euros annually on research-related third-party funds. The university does not have a central research budget, but each chair receives funding for research.

The overarching research focus of the Faculty of Health is “integrative and personalized / person-centered health care”. Research in the Faculty of Business and Economics focuses on the subjects of “Entrepreneurship”, “Leadership and Organization” and “Democracy and Growth”.

The focus of research at the Faculty of Cultural Reflection - Studium Fundamentale is the cultural complexity of contemporary society from the point of view of normative orders, political transformation, the importance of scientific research and the examination of the arts. Examples are DFG research projects on Buddhism in the West (Werner Vogd), research on Media Era 4.0 (Dirk Baecker), on practical philosophy (Matthias Kettner), on China, which is using digital cultural external control of its citizens as a techno-authoritarian alternative to liberal Western democracy offer (Martin Woesler) etc.

The UW / H declares the promotion of young scientists to be one of its core tasks. In the 2016 academic year, a total of 82 doctoral students and 15 postdoctoral researchers did research at the UW / H.

Centers for Health Research

In the Center for Biomedical Education and Research (ZBAF) projects of basic biomedical research are processed. Here, translational research projects of clinical working groups are supported and thus the scientific training of young doctors is made possible.

The Center for Clinical Studies (ZKS-UW / H) coordinates and supports the already established structures of the Faculty of Health for conducting clinical trials .

The Interdisciplinary Center for Health Services Research (IZVF) coordinates health care research at the University of Witten / Herdecke. It is a member of the German Health Services Research Network.

Witten Institute for Family Business

The Witten Institute for Family Business (WIFU) was founded in 1998 and conducts interdisciplinary research and teaching in the field of family businesses . The research fields of business administration , psychology , sociology and law are supervised by 18 professors. The institute conducts national and international research. It issues various publications (studies, practical guides, series of publications and other publications) and offers events on the main topic of family businesses. The institute offers lectures in the area of ​​“Family Business” in the Bachelor's degree “Business Economics” and the major in “Family Business” in the Master's degree in “Management”.

Reinhard Mohn Institute for Corporate Management

The Institute for Corporate Management (RMI) named after Reinhard Mohn was founded in 2010. It researches and teaches corporate management with a focus on strategy, organization, cooperation and social responsibility. The director of the institute is Guido Möllering , who is also the holder of the Reinhard Mohn endowed chair for corporate management that was established in 1991.

Research awards

The Witten “Prize for Health Visionaries for the Future of the Healthcare Industry” has been advertised since 2015 (€ 10,000 prize money).

In 2015 the WIWA young talent award for plural economics was awarded for the first time.


The university has two locations in Witten, both of which are northeast of the city center in the Annen district: The actual campus with several buildings is located on Alfred-Herrhausen- Strasse. In addition to the actual main building, this also includes the dental clinic in the ZBZ and some rooms in the adjacent FEZ Witten. In the center of Annen, the university also uses its former main building on Stockumer Straße, the listed former Annener Amtshaus, which is around 1.5 km from today's main campus.


University of Witten / Herdecke, foyer in the new building
  • Heinrich Schoppmeyer : Witten. History of the village, town and suburbs . tape 2 . VOHM , Witten 2012, ISBN 978-3-00-040266-1 , p. 317-320 .
  • Michael Kruska: The private university Witten / Herdecke . (Diploma thesis from 1995) Diplomica, 1998, ISBN 3-8324-0580-1 .
  • Built Democracy - The new building of the private University of Witten / Herdecke. In: Kurt E. Becker, Peter Carl, Renate Hauser, Klaus Waltenbauer (eds.): Forum building and living. Volume 10, Munich 1994.

Web links

Commons : University of Witten / Herdecke  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Our core values. University of Witten / Herdecke, accessed on October 25, 2015 .
  2. ^ University of Witten / Herdecke: Presidium. Retrieved August 2, 2019 .
  3. a b c d e The UW / H in numbers. University of Witten / Herdecke, accessed on April 13, 2020 .
  4. ^ University of Witten / Herdecke: Facts about the University of Witten / Herdecke. April 25, 2013, accessed May 9, 2016 .
  5. ^ University of Witten / Herdecke: Symposium at the University of Witten / Herdecke deals with the socio-ecological development of Europe . October 16, 2018 ( [accessed October 16, 2018]).
  6. ^ Uni Witten / Herdecke: Center for Fundamentals Studies (AT). June 8, 2020, accessed June 12, 2020 .
  7. Deutscher Ärzteverlag GmbH, editorial office of Deutsches Ärzteblatt: Private University Witten / Herdecke wants to double the number of places in medical studies . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . ( [accessed on October 16, 2018]).
  8. Wissenschaftsrat report: Report of the Wissenschaftsrat . 2018, .
  9. University of Witten / Herdecke: Green light for University of Witten / Herdecke . October 23, 2018 ( [accessed October 24, 2018]).
  10. University of Witten / Herdecke: Green light for University of Witten / Herdecke . October 23, 2018 ( [accessed October 24, 2018]).
  11. Christian Weymayr, Nicole Heissmann: The homeopathy lie: So dangerous is the theory of the white globules. Piper, Munich 2012, chapter: University with anthroposophical roots.
  12. Peter F. Matthiessen: Rudolf Steiner's university concept and the University of Witten / Herdecke . In: P. Heusser, J. Weinzirl (Ed.): Rudolf Steiner - Its importance for science and life today . Schattauer, 2014, ISBN 978-3-7945-6776-8 , pp. 300 .
  13. Elite for basic questions . In: Der Spiegel . May 4, 1981, ISSN  0038-7452 ( ).
  14. ^ Witten Institute for Family Businesses - History. Retrieved May 16, 2015 .
  15. Vera Sprothen: Private University Witten-Herdecke on the drip . In: Wirtschaftswoche . May 30, 2006 ( [accessed July 30, 2017]).
  16. Bad diagnosis for the reform university. Der Tagesspiegel July 25, 2005
  17. Destructive judgment on the University of Witten-Herdecke ,, May 10, 2010.
  18. Medical training secured. (No longer available online.) In: NNA News. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014 ; accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  19. a b Students pay on top. University of Witten / Herdecke saved. In: January 23, 2009, accessed May 16, 2015 .
  20. Witten-Herdecke University. Bankrupt university saved. sz-online May 17, 2010.
  21. ^ Crisis meeting: bankruptcy of the private university in Witten apparently averted. In: mirror online. December 23, 2008, accessed May 16, 2015 .
  22. University of Witten / Herdecke installs a supervisory board. Press release University of Witten / Herdecke, December 11, 2009, accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  23. Comprehensive funding from the NRW state government for the University of Witten / Herdecke. Press release University of Witten / Herdecke, May 5, 2009, accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  24. Modern service provider with tradition. History of the clinics of the City of Cologne gGmbH. Clinics of the City of Cologne, accessed on March 4, 2013 .
  25. Kay Gropp, Press Office private University of Witten / Herdecke gGmbH: University of Witten / Herdecke founds "Reinhard Mohn Institute for Corporate Management and Corporate Governance". Science Information Service, April 26, 2010, accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  26. Kay Gropp, Press Office private University of Witten / Herdecke gGmbH: Witten Master in Family Business Management (M.Sc.) starts the first round. Science Information Service, April 26, 2010, accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  27. New Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. (No longer available online.) In: abi >> news. Archived from the original on December 10, 2010 ; accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  28. Model course in Witten extended until 2018. (No longer available online.) In: ä November 16, 2010, archived from the original on June 10, 2015 ; accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  29. Wissenschaftsrat: Statement on the reaccreditation of the Private University of Witten / Herdecke (UW / H) . Drs. 1395-11. Berlin July 2011 ( online [PDF; 688 kB ; accessed on July 30, 2017]).
  30. University of Witten / Herdecke: Prof. Dr. Jan Ehlers elected as the new Vice President . October 16, 2018 ( [accessed October 16, 2018]).
  31. Wissenschaftsrat: Three decisions in the institutional accreditation procedure , press release of July 9, 2018
  32. Wissenschaftsrat report: Report of the Wissenschaftsrat . 2018, .
  33. Britta Mersch: Private University Witten / Herdecke: Students should fill the financial hole. In: mirror online. February 29, 2008, accessed on May 16, 2015 : "We never had any money"
  35. ^ Wenke Husmann: Smarter than anywhere else. At the private Witten / Herdecke University, students have voluntarily increased their fee. (No longer available online.) In: July 2005, archived from the original on May 25, 2015 ; accessed on May 16, 2015 .
  36. ^ University of Witten / Herdecke. "Encourage freedom - strive for truth - promote social responsibility." Motto of the University of Witten / Herdecke. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. May 17, 2010, accessed May 15, 2015 .
  37. Wissenschaftsrat report: Report of the Wissenschaftsrat . 2018, .
  38. Wissenschaftsrat report: Report of the Wissenschaftsrat . 2018, .
  39. University of Witten / Herdecke: Green light for University of Witten / Herdecke . October 23, 2018 ( [accessed October 24, 2018]).
  40. Website of the accreditation agency AQAS eV Accessed on February 17, 2016
  41. Wissenschaftsrat report: Report of the Wissenschaftsrat . 2018, .
  42. ^ Uni Witten / Herdecke: Research . October 12, 2018 ( [accessed October 16, 2018]).
  43. Wissenschaftsrat report: Report of the Wissenschaftsrat . 2018, .
  44. ^ Uni Witten / Herdecke: Research at the Faculty for Cultural Reflection . September 20, 2018 ( [accessed October 16, 2018]).
  45. Wissenschaftsrat report: Report of the Wissenschaftsrat . 2018, .
  46. ^ Center for Biomedical Education and Research (ZBAF) at the University of Witten / Herdecke
  47. ^ Center for Clinical Studies at the University of Witten / Herdecke
  48. Interdisciplinary Center for Health Services Research (IZVF) at the University of Witten / Herdecke
  49. ^ Witten Institute for Family Business at the University of Witten / Herdecke
  50. ^ Reinhard Mohn Institute for Corporate Management at the University of Witten / Herdecke

Coordinates: 51 ° 27 ′ 8.2 "  N , 7 ° 21 ′ 26"  E