To content
Guest talk

Dr. Thomas Pfeffer

(Danube University Krems, Austria)

Quality of Study Programs at the University of Vienna

Organisational development in the context of a paradigm shift from state control to institutional autonomy and accountability

To understand the challenges concepts like 'quality management' and 'curricular reform' can pose for Austrian universities (and probably for other universities in continental Europe), it is necessary to see that the Austrian university system has experienced a staccato of changes of its regulatory framework over the last 20 years. From a distance, the essence of these changes is as a paradigm shift in governance, from a 'state control' to a model of institutional 'autonomy + accountability'. However, in the thick of things, universities often focus on just the next layer of regulations and on the structural parts of their implementation, while struggling with the task to make sense of these changes from a wider perspective.

In this context, the organisational development project 'Quality of Teaching at the University of Vienna' was an exercise in organisational sense making in times of reform overload. By focusing on the study program (rather than on the individual course), the project established a better understanding of an integrated product of the university, a product that requires organised collaboration. By addressing the different management levels and subunits of the university in their respective roles for the development, implementation and continuous improvement of study programs, the project opened the space for the exchange of distinct perspectives and succeeded in creating mutual understanding among the various stakeholders.

Thomas Pfeffer is a member of Danube University Krems and works as researcher, educator and consultant for higher education, migration and globalization. Having a background in sociology, organizational studies and theories of science, he has worked in a range of national and international comparative research projects. He works on topics like globalization in higher education, policy shifts in governance models and the growing institutional autonomy of universities, as well as on new concepts of quality assurance and on the impact of new media on the organization of research and higher education. In recent years, he also became involved in migration studies, working on topics like the recognition of foreign degrees, or discrimination in labour recruitment practices.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 4.00–5.30 p.m. | Vogelpothsweg 78 (CDI building), room 117
Center for Higher Education (zhb)
Professorship of Higher Education

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.


TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".


The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.


The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.


Interactive map

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Campus Lageplan Zum Lageplan