Ulm University and Ulm University of Applied Sciences start centre for continuing professional education

Ulm University

A new, joint institute at Ulm University and Ulm University of Applied Sciences is rising to meet the challenge of a constantly changing professional world. The new centre offers continuing education for working professionals. Today, Ulm University President Professor Michael Weber and University of Applied Sciences Rector Professor Volker Reuter signed a cooperation agreement. The newly founded institute combines continuing education programmes from both universities in the fields of engineering, economics and life science under one roof. Students can choose from a wide range of qualifications, all the way from bridging courses up to full-fledged master’s degree programmes. The new centre is adopting the name of the previously existing institute at Ulm University: “School of Advanced Professional Studies” (SAPS). A new corporate design has been developed to mark the fresh start.

Organisers will be drawing on the results of a market study to further develop the SAPS continuing education programme to reflect current demand. Several attractive offers are already available now, including the Business Analytics master’s degree programmes, which equips professionals for dealing with “Big Data” and Industry 4.0, and the bridging course in high-frequency technology.

“What I like most about the SAPS Business Analytics programme for working professionals is the flexibility of the various qualifications all the way up to a master’s degree, as well as the large proportion of e-learning. I have learned a lot in my studies so far that can be directly applied in my current job. I am taking this course for reasons of professional development. In the wake of digitalisation, business analytics is a very future-oriented field, so career perspectives are also quite good”, says Svetlana Hofmann, an actuary with a diplom degree in mathematics (FH) who has been studying at SAPS since 2016 and is now pursuing on her master’s degrees in business analytics. In the near future, SAPS will expand to include certificate courses. The Ulm University of Applied Sciences is also currently developing courses in the fields of fluid mechanics, data protection and medicinal product approval.

The new SAPS was made possible through the expansion programme Master 2016: the inter-university project NOW:MASTER was granted 800,000 euros in funding from the state for the purpose of establishing a joint institute. “The joint centre for scientific continuing education at Ulm University and Ulm University of Applied Sciences sets a new standard for professional structures in scientific continuing education. It continues the success story of scientific continuing education in Ulm, offering brilliant perspectives for the region of Ulm, for Baden-Württemberg and even beyond”, says Ministerial Advisor Steffen Walter (Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, MWK). Within the scope of the official signing of the cooperation agreement, Walter reported on this and other outstanding examples of continuing education available to working professionals in Baden-Württemberg.

Online degree for working professionals

In order to accommodate the needs of today’s working professionals, SAPS primarily relies on blended learning: 80 per cent of the course can be completed online. “We are optimising our instructional design according to the latest findings in educational research. Our students can learn in their free time, or even during a business trip. The few on-campus days that we do have in the lab or in the training rooms take place on Fridays or Saturdays”, explain Professor Hermann Schumacher and Dr Gabriele Gröger, who established and developed SAPS at Ulm University. Students don’t necessarily have to pursue a full-fledged master’s degree either: the number of modules can be individually adapted to suit a student’s particular workload.

“The additional offers we’ve expanded to include, for instance the engineering specialisation in hydraulics and the practical certificate courses in the technical areas, provide opportunities to improve the interlinking of industry and academia”, adds Professor Thomas Engleder, head of scientific continuing education at Ulm University of Applied Sciences. Based on the Swiss model, the new centre also awards certificates of advanced studies or diplomas of advanced studies. In the future, the centre for continuing education will be managed under one roof by a board of directors with members from both universities.

Courses of study are open to anyone with a university degree and at least one year of work experience. The courses are subject to fees, but employers are often willing to contribute to the cost, and other funding opportunities are also available. “The new SAPS combines the practical strength of the University of Applied Sciences with the University’s focus on basic research. We see it as an enrichment for our educational landscape and we are thrilled that our universities are working more closely together”, University Rector Professor Volker Reuter and University President Professor Michael Weber agree.

School of Advanced Professional Studies

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Signing the cooperation agreement for the joint institute (from right): Ulm University of Applied Sciences Rector Prof Volker Reuter, University President Prof Michael Weber, Ministerial Advisor Steffen Walter (MWK) and Prof Hermann Schumacher (SAPS) (Photo: Eberhardt/Uni Ulm)
Thrilled about the new inter-university institute (from left): Prof Hermann Schumacher (SAPS), Ministerial Advisor Steffen Walter (MWK), University President Prof Michael Weber, University of Applied Sciences Rector Prof Volker Reuter and Prof Thomas Engleder (SAPS) (Photo: Eberhardt/Uni Ulm)