Freie Universitaet Berlin: Vice President of Freie Universität Berlin Professor Hauke Heekeren to Become President of Universität Hamburg

The Professor of Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience and Vice President of Freie Universität Berlin, Dr. Hauke Heekeren, is set to become the next president of Universität Hamburg. He accepted the post following a vote by the UHH’s Academic Senate and the University Council’s ratification last Friday. Professor Heekeren is now awaiting his official appointment by the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. He will succeed Professor Dieter Lenzen and take up his new post on March 1, 2022.

Professor Heekeren joined the Executive Board of Freie Universität Berlin as Vice President for Teaching, Learning, and Academic Development in 2018. The President of Freie Universität Berlin, Professor Günter M. Ziegler, congratulated Hauke Heekeren on his new position, saying “It is a great honor for him to be appointed to this office.” He thanked Professor Heekeren on behalf of the Executive Board and all members of the university for his remarkably successful work and dedication to Freie Universität Berlin. During his term as a member of the university management, he succeeded in setting in motion a strategy process for the future of teaching and education at Freie Universität – despite the Covid-19 pandemic – by employing a groundbreaking participatory format and thus broke new ground at the university. Günter M. Ziegler thanked Professor Heekeren in particular for his prudent and effective leadership of the coronavirus task force from the very beginning of the pandemic, together with the Provost of Freie Universität, Dr.-Ing. Andrea Bör.

Professor Heekeren will resign from his position as Vice President at the beginning of November. Executive Vice President of Freie Universität Berlin Professor Klaus Hoffmann-Holland will assume his responsibilities until the Executive Board elections in 2022. Professor Heekeren thanked all those he worked with at Freie Universität Berlin for their collaboration, which he considered highly productive and inspiring: “Freie Universität Berlin has been my academic, professional, and personal home for a number of very memorable years. It was an honor for me to work together with Berlin’s first ‘University of Excellence.’ I will take many fond memories of engaging conversations, lively debates, and creative ideas with me to Hamburg. Together we managed to overcome a number of major challenges – all in just the last two years. I am incredibly grateful and proud.”

Professor Hauke Heekeren’s Achievements
Hauke Heekeren, born in Herford, North Rhine-Westphalia, in 1971, is a highly regarded doctor and neuroscientist as well as a university administrator who is very well-connected on a national and international level. He has been Professor of Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at Freie Universität Berlin since 2009. He has many years of experience in leading interdisciplinary collaborative projects – for example, he was a founding member of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain in 2006 and served as deputy spokesperson for the Cluster of Excellence “Languages of Emotion” between 2009 and 2014.

Since 2018, Professor Heekeren has been the Vice President for Teaching, Learning, and Academic Development at Freie Universität Berlin. His fields of responsibility include the teaching and education strategy, quality management, teacher education, innovation, digitalization of teaching, and communication with students, as well as being temporarily responsible for research from March to December 2020. A crucial milestone during his time in office was his initiation and implementation of the campus-wide participatory strategy process Teaching and Education in 2030 – Shaping the Future Together. Hundreds of students, instructors, and administrative staff from the academic departments to the administrative units participated. Their collaborative efforts resulted in the Mission Statement for Teaching and Education of Freie Universität Berlin, which was approved by the Academic Senate in July 2021. Since February 2020 Professor Heekeren has headed the corona task force for crisis management during the pandemic at Freie Universität Berlin as well as being a member of the task force for Higher Education and Research in the State of Berlin.

Hauke Heekeren studied medicine at the University of Münster, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the University of Essen between 1992 and 2000. He received his doctorate from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2000 and went on to receive funding from the German Research Foundation via the Emmy Noether Program. After spending time at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, as a postdoctoral fellow, he became head of the “Neurocognition of Decision-Making” research group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development from 2005 to 2010. His primary research interests concern human decision-making and the underlying brain mechanisms of such processes. He has received such prestigious prizes as the Rudolf Virchow Research Prize from Charité –Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Teaching Award from the Department of Education and Psychology at Freie Universität Berlin. Professor Heekeren was reelected to the position of Dean for the Department of Education and Psychology at Freie Universität Berlin between 2015 and 2018 and was also the Managing Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Berlin.

Comments are closed.