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Oec Magazin (A1-b)

OUR DEPARTMENTS AND THEIR CHAIRMEN Valete & 1 February 2015 saw important leadership handovers at UZH’s Department of Economics and Department of Business Administration. At the former, Professor Ernst Fehr handed the Chairmanship over to Professor Rainer Winkelmann, and at the latter Professor Dieter Pfaff passed the baton on to Professor Egon Franck. OEC. spoke with both outgoing and incoming Chairmen. James O.H. Nason Professor Winkelmann, what are your priorities as incoming Chairman of the Department of Economics? Winkelmann: One priority is to continue the «excellence strategy» . We want our Department to be an attractive work- place for internationally-recognised academics, and we want to be known for the quality of our students. To achieve these goals, we decided to abolish the German-style chair system and move towards a more departmental-type of system. This change, together with the generous donations we received, has allowed us to increase the number of our professors and doctoral students. Of course, such a process doesn’t happen overnight. The broad structures were implemented under the leadership of Professor Fehr and I will be continuing along the same road. What specific day-to-day duties do you have as Chairman? Winkelmann: Like my opposite num- bers in other Departments, I spend a lot of time on recruitment. Having identified people we believe would fit well in our Department and share our vision, it’s not always easy to convince them to actually come! Other impor- tant duties include communication and organisation of «work-flows». The new departmental structure brings with it a higher degree of centralisation of services as well as of decision-making processes. For example, in «the old days», a professor was pretty much free to determine the teaching courses he or she offered, as well as how to spend the budget. Nowadays, things like funding policies for PhD students or the courses offered are a jointly-shared responsibil- ity of the Department. Each professor is now potentially more affected by departmental developments than was the case in the past, and it’s important to bring everyone on board and when- ever possible to reach decisions based on consensus. Professor Fehr, what were the highlights of your 16 years as Chairman of the Department of Economics? Fehr: The most significant highlight was undoubtedly the implementation of our «excellence strategy», the main goal of which is to establish our Department as a global centre of excellence in the research and teaching of economics. Implementation required a fundamental modernisation of our Department, and that was not always easy given financial restraints, bureaucratic drag and a bias Left: Prof. Ernst Fehr, former Chairman of the Department of Economics Right: Prof. Dieter Pfaff, former Chairman of the Department of Business Administration 6 Oec. Juli 2015