The Training of Civil Engineers and Architects
in the Five New German L˝nder
Before and After Reunification

by Heinrich Rothert
European Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1995

1. Description of the Situation Before Reunification
2. At the Time of Reunification
3. After Reunification
4. After the New L˝nder Had Been Founded

Summary : The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 led to the collapse of the communistic regimes in the Soviet-dominated Eastern and Central European countries. The so-called "East" Germany, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which in West German terminology means "Central" or "Middle" Germany, became part of the German Federal Republic on 3 October 1990. In the treaty on the establishment of German unity, the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) was given the task by the Federal Government and by those of the States (L˝nder) to undertake a survey of publicly financed facilities for science and research in the former GDR and make proposals for necessary renewal. The author was a member of two of the working groups of the German Science Council, in charge of producing an expert opinion on the future structure of engineering education in the five new L˝nder and Berlin (East). Having known the situation in the GDR long before the Wall came down, the author describes briefly the training of civil engineers and architects before and after German unification. Not every step in the legal procedure in the new five L˝nder can be documented here, and it is also not intended to discuss scientific research in the GDR in great detail. All the data produced in the following tables are taken from the reports of the German Science Council [1,2]. For a better understanding of German school and university training, see [3]. When statements by "insiders" are cited, colleagues in the GDR, well known to the author before 1990, are meant.

1. Description of the Situation Before Reunification

When the GDR was founded in 1949, there was only one famous institution of higher education that produced civil engineers and architects: the Technische Hochschule, Dresden/Saxony, which became a fully fledged School of Engineering and Science in 1961. It was founded in 1828 as a Technical Training Institute and became a Technical Academy as early as 1890.

In addition, a small number of civil engineers and architects were trained at the Academy for Architecture and Building (HAB) in Weimar, which had developed from the bauhaus movement. It was founded in 1860 as the Grand Duchy Art School, and continued under Henry wan de Welde as a School for Arts and Crafts, but the few years when it was a State Building Academy (Bauhaus) under Walter Gropius (1919-25) were responsible for determining the character of this training institution in the most enduring way. Under the GDR the traditions of the Bauhaus quickly became submerged by the strengthening of civil engineering, materials and process technology, city planning as well as mathematics and information science, and apart from the training of architects one could say that this tradition was completely replaced.

Between 1945 and 1968 training in the GDR had an "ideological stamp" based on the Soviet model. The change in the economic planning and directive system, characterized as "the scientific and technical revolution" in the official language of the Party, was to lead to a strengthening of the "technical intelligentsia" within the state.

Further specialized academies were already founded in the 1950s, in order to increase the number of qualified engineers and in addition to the reconstruction necessary after the War, the goal was to enable the development of the GDR in accordance with the political directives currently valid. The separation of the "Faculty for Transportation Sciences" from the School of Engineering and Science, Dresden meant that an independent Academy for Transport was established there in 1952. Independent academies of this kind, which had several hundred scientific staff, closely followed the Soviet line in order to cope more efficiently with catastrophic transport conditions. The Engineering Academy (HS) in Leipzig dates from 1954, and it became a full School of Engineering and Science in 1977.

In 1967 the seventh Party Congress of the SED (United Socialist Party) decided that the number of engineers and natural scientists working in industry should be more than trebled in the period up to 1980, in order to "master" this technical and scientific revolution. The transformation into engineering colleges (IHS) of the engineering academies that already existed took place during this phase between 1968 and 1983. Insiders described this period as "institutional". Training institutions of this kind were established for civil engineering in Cottbus and Wismar in 1969. In addition to the expectation that there would be an increasing need for engineers, the newly founded institutions were to contribute towards distinguishing between two "profiles": training oriented towards research and development tasks, and another type of training that was to be oriented towards the demands of the direct production process. With their training that was close to practical application the engineering academies and colleges represented an intermediate stage between the traditional specialist schools and colleges of engineering, on the one had, and the universities of engineering, on the other.

Despite their basic training profile, which was defined differently, and despite the differences in their facilities and size, these engineering academies developed into "academic" institutions. In this phase between 1983 and 1989, which insiders described as "scientific", these engineering academies, in fact, hardly differed from fully fledged universities, so that as a consequence the "Friedrich List" Academy for Transport in Dresden, the Academy for Architecture and Civil Engineering Weimar, the Technical Academy Cottbus the Technical Academy Wismar and the Technical Academy Leipzig existed alongside the Technical University in Dresden. The most obvious reason why these institutions could be considered as on the same level as the technical universities resulted from their being granted the right to award the "Doctorate A" (dissertation, PhD) and the "Doctorate B", which one can roughly compare with the Habilitation (second doctorate) in Western Germany.

As a result of the high level of specialization in technical academies, there was a large amount of division of labour with a comparatively narrow subject spectrum. Because training was oriented towards clearly defined employment fields, teaching in Cottbus, for example, was directed mainly towards the large panel technique, and in Wismar mainly towards normal construction with prefabricated parts; apart from this, classical training was only found in construction science, but not in hydraulic engineering and transportation.

Fortunately, the "de-scientized" training of engineers through the introduction of "Study Reform 2000", which was still being predicted by insiders in 1988, only had a (negative) effect in 1989. The scientific standards in the two German states would have rapidly developed in different directions of this "reform" had become fully effective.

The institutions of higher education for engineers shown in Table I existed before reunification.

In the GDR a far smaller proportion of young people born in one year were permitted to study at an institution of higher education than was the case in the Federal Republic before reunification. In 1989 the proportion in the GDR was 13%, while in Western Germany it was 26%. This imbalance was by no means as large with engineers; it amounted to 2,6% compared with 3,6%. While roughly 7200 engineers graduated from the academies and universities in the GDR with a diploma in 1988 (not including those leaving the schools of engineering), in Western Germany 11 100 engineers graduated from university with a diploma, and 24 100 from the academies of engineering.

TABLE I. Universities and colleges of technology in the GDR, graduates in engineering, computer science and architecture: 1985 (7657), 1988 (7197), and 1989 (7465)

No. University HS TU/TH Future Graduates 1989
1 TU Chemnitz 1953 until 1989 TU 779
2 TU Dresden -- 1828 (1890) TU 1940
3 TU BA Freiberg -- 1765 (1946) TU 307
4 TU Magdeburg 1953 until 1989 TU 564
5 Humboldt U Berlin F   -- 67
6 U Jena TWF(60)   TWF 74
7 U Rostock TF(60)   TF 193
No. Engineering college HS IHS 1989 Future Graduates 1989
8 Berlin-Lichtenberg -- 1988 IHS FH 1
9 Berlin-Wartenberg -- 1969 IHS FH 191
10 Cottbus -- 1969 TH TU 358
11 Traffic HS Dresden 1952 1969 HS FH 515
12 Ilmenau 1954 -- TH TH 475
13 K¸then -- 1969 TH(90) FH 191
14 Leipzig 1954 1969 TH(77) FH 356
15 Leuna-Merseburg 1954 -- TH(84) FH 190
16 Mittweida -- 1969 IHS FH 133
17 Warneměnde 1864 1969 TH No.7 156
18 Weimar 1949 -- HAB U 402
19 Wismar -- 1969 TH(88) FH 272
20 Zittau -- 1969 TH FH 210
21 Zwickau -- 1969 TH FH 283
U = University IHS = Engineering College (GDR)
TU = University of Technology F = Faculty
TH = School of Engineering and Science TF = Technical Faculty
BA = School of Mining TWF = Technical and Scientific Faculty and Building
HAB = Academy of Architecture FH = College of Engineering
HS = Engineering Academy (GDR)  

The structural differences in the training of engineers are particularly easy to see in the comparison between engineering graduates in 1988 given in Table II.

TABLE II. West-East ratio of graduates in engineering, computer science and architecture in 1988

  German Federal Republic*
Fields of study GDR Universities Colleges
Computer Sciences 164 1416 1409
Mining/Geotechnic 104 255 168
Mechanical Engineering 2334    
Transportation Sciences 207 3684 10205
Material Sciences 183    
Electrical Engineering 1685 2744 6159
Energy Engineering 102
Civil Engineering 1363 1203 2371
Architecture 165 1282 2945
Surveying 44 447 615
Fabrication Engineering 253 -- --
Special Engineering Sciences 80 25 211
Direct study 6684 11056 24083
Correspondence courses 513 -- --
Total 7197 (1985:7657, 1989:7465)

*Only German students.

When these numbers of graduates are compared, the west-east ratio was 100:21. The figure for civil engineeringňs was much more favourable, with a ratio of 100:38. For architects the ratio was 100:4, and just as unfavourable as for geodesy, with a ratio of 100:5.

The ratio between scientific personnel can be found in Table III, but some reservations must be made here. For the engineering sciences, including information technology, the west-east ratio was 100:37. This means that the ratio between staff and students was almost twice as good in the GDR.

TABLE III. Academic personnel in engineering, computer science and architecture

  German Federal Republic 1988
Academic personnel GDR 1980


Professors: C4     1378   21  
  C3 632   977   2837  
  C2(tenure)     588   2672  
  C2(without tenure)       15   116
Lecturers 779   15   1  
Total number 1411   2958 15 5531 116
Assistants with tenure 2132   2793   19  
Assistants without tenure   1676   4399   8
Teachers   779 105   156  
Academic staff with tenure 3543   5856   5706  
Academic staff without tenure   2455   4414   124
Academic personnel, total 5998 10270 5830
Personnel funded from outside   4758 13

2. At the Time of Reunification

After the opening up of the Wall in 1989, and certainly after the unification of the two states and the formation of the five new L˝nder in October 1990, all the schools of engineering pursued the goal of continuing complementary university-level courses of study. By broadening the range of subjects offered and turning away from an orientation towards application typical of the former engineering academies, by the winter semester of 1990-91 almost all the schools of engineering had restructured their courses of study along the lines of the framework examination and study regulations in Western Germany. In addition to the removal of the study areas on Marxism-Leninism, which accounted for approximately 20% of the total course of study, the focus was directed towards strengthening university teaching and research for a large number of newly planned areas of training. All the academies admitted that their continued development into efficient and competitive university-level training institutions would, in addition to the formal restructuring of training and reorganization of the administrative organs of the universities, also make it necessary for the content of the subjects to become more uniform, both with regard to the subjects offered and to the strengthening of basic training in mathematics and the natural sciences.

At this point I do not want to go into further detail about university research, but I want to point out that research which was, above all, industrially financed had only been supported by the combines ("kombinat" industrial complex) since the 1980s. This financing by third parties (Drittmittelfinanzierung) was provided for in the economic plans of the industrial combines and "spent according to the output target" (plansollm˝▀ig verausgabt) Again, these methods of financing meant that the relationship between university research and practical application was to the detriment of basic research in engineering science. Experimental research, especially in the field of basic research, was concentrated at the Building Academy which, in addition, also carried out tests on materials and undertook other tasks on behalf of the state. Since the major part of the research and development work was carried out in the combines and the Building Academy, it is not surprising that the basic facilities within civil engineering were judged by the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) as ranging between "requiring additional equipment" and being "weak". These deficits in basic facilities also applied to computer technology and university libraries.

It cannot be denied that science and the universities in the old Federal Republic of Germany and in the former GDR had two different starting points as far as social and educational policy were concerned. While art and science, research and teaching are free in Western Germany, × l of the East German regulations on the appointment of senior staff to universities of 6 November 1968, which were valid 18 September 1990, states that:

to be a university teacher is a great honour for the scientist in the GDR and, as required by the socialist constitution, it makes him duty-bound to contribute actively towards shaping the developed social system of socialism in order to strengthen the GDR. This is to be attained through high achievements in research, teaching and education. As researchers and teachers, university teachers participate in the responsible task of educating people to become highly qualified socialist personalities.

Above all, in the 1980s until reunification, it was almost exclusively newly appointed university teachers of this kind who had been chosen in a special selection process consisting of several "cadre sieves" (Kadersiebe) and from the point of view of Marxist-Leninist bias. Starting with admission to the "upper school", via admission to the course of study, the choice of subject to be studied, the possibility of becoming a research assistant, right up to appointment as a university professor and taking up honorary academic functions, the professors were increasingly seen as a "negative selection", as reliable insiders have stated. For purely demographic reasons, more and more pre-war professors, or their post-war colleagues trained in their tradition, gradually retired. During the past decade it became almost impossible to have a career within a university without party membership. This statement about negative selection first and foremost concerns professors in the humanities. It is to be understood statistically and, first, it does not apply to every university and every professor and, second, it does not apply to all those concerned in the same way. Among the engineers and natural scientists there were, fortunately, sufficient numbers of highly qualified colleagues who were not particularly involved politically.

It was clear that after reunification it would not be possible to follow the rules of the democratic game overnight. The first elections to honorary academic positions (dean, president, etc.) took place in Dresden in February 1990, still within the old communistic structures. Even in the free elections possible after 3 October 1990, the superiority in numbers of the teaching staff dominated by this historically developed "negative selection" at many universities meant that genuine self-renewal from inside would not be possible, since after 1970 the universities had to abide by a regulation requiring that:

highly qualified specialists are to be trained with a firm socialist class awareness. On the basis of Marxism/Leninism they are closely allied to the working class and their party, and are able and willing to attain pioneering and outstanding achievements and to lead collective socialist workers in joint socialist work.

Freedom of teaching and research was not tolerated until reunification, nor were European academic traditions nurtured. In view of these facts, it became clear that after reunification a fundamental renewal of university training could actually only be achieved at many universities by founding new universities or by refounding the old ones. It was, above all, the large majority of civil engineers who mainly formed the notable exceptions. The quality of their teaching and research was outstanding. there were certainly some black sheep, of course. But every colleague in the West should beware of judging too quickly, since there were certainly outstanding professors who are unequalled in the West as far as their qualifications and civil courage are concerned. At any rate, I have got to know such colleagues who stood firm and had excellent human qualities, people who did not exist, one would have thought. They lived and worked despite all the constraints placed on them, and despite being bullied, and followed the motto of the University of Hannover "Vitam impendere vero" (dedicate life to truth), as the Roman poet Decimus Juvenal (60-140) wrote.

3. After Reunification

In Article 38, × l of the treaty on the establishment of German unity the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) was given the task by the Federal Government and the L˝nder of ░undertaking a survey of publicly financed facilities for science and research. This survey is to serve the "necessary renewal" of these facilities, since in a unified Germany science and research also form an important basis for the state and society░.

On the basis of this legal requirement the German Science Council had to produce an expert opinion on the future structure of the university system in the new L˝nder, if possible within a year, and thus essentially lay down the basis for finance by the Federal Government. Working groups had to be set up in every field of science. They consisted of members from the German Science Council, representatives of the Federal Government and the L˝nder, and other experts.

In my function as one of these experts I was a member of the working groups on engineering sciences at the universities in the new L˝nder. In the final report of one of the committees in which I participated it was stated that:

all the universities in the new L˝nder offering engineering science subjects were visited by one of these working groups in order to prepare the recommendations. The working groups obtained information on the spot concerning teaching and research, the facilities available in the subjects and the concepts concerning their future development. This information was obtained in discussions with representatives of university management and, above all, of the engineering subjects. This stocktaking, which was complemented by written information supplied by the universities, provided the German Science Council with a differentiated picture of the engineering sciences at the universities of the former GDR. On the basis of this stocktaking, the German Science Council worked out a series of general recommendations dealing with the future development of engineering subject. In these opinions the German Science Council let itself be guided by its ideas on a differentiated tertiary system of universities and colleges of engineering which, the German Science Council was convinced, should also be quickly set up in the new L˝nder. Finally, the German Science Council had to take into account the supra-regional coordination of expansion measures, at the same time following the principle of the regional distribution of capacities.

The following institutions were surveyed by the working groups of the German Science Council:

120 institutes of the Academy of Sciences (approximately 20 000 researchers)

53 establishments of higher education, including six universities (Berlin, Rostock, Greifswald, Jena, Halle, Leipzig) and

12 schools of engineering, of which six had civil engineering faculties:

270 Schools of Engineering (Faschulen).

Colleges of engineering of the West German type did not exist before reunification. The result of the evaluation worked out by the two committees of the German Science Council of which I was a member can be found in Table IV. This refers to the actual situation at the time when the report was prepared. The courses of study arranged according to L˝nder and universities were included in Table V as a recommendation for the future. For architecture and civil engineering, it was recommended that the schools of engineering in Wismar, Cottbus and Leipzig, and the Academy for Transport in Dresden should be dissolved and that they should be replaced by colleges of engineering which would be new foundations. In future, the university-level training of architects and civil engineers should take place only at the University of Technology in Dresden and at the Academy for Architecture and Civil Engineering in Weimar, as well as at the newly founded University of Technology in Cottbus. In addition, the training of civil engineers is also planned within the framework of a Faculty of Technology at the University of Rostock.

TABLE IV. Professors, admitted students and graduates in engineering, computer sciences and architecture in the new L˝nder before German reunification

  Admitted Dissertation
University areas of instruction Profes-
students Gradua-
  1990 1989 1989 1987-89 1987-89
Humboldt-University (East Berlin) Electrical Engineering 27 114 67 15 2
IHS Lichtenberg (East Berlin) Electrical Engineering 8 55 - - -
  Precision Engineering 4 57 - - -
  Mechanical Engineering 4 83 1 - -
Subtotal Lichtenberg 16 195 1 - -
IHS Wartenberg (East Berlin) Farm machine Engineering 35 220 191 - -
IHS Cottbus Civil Engineering 33 420 358 13 1
Total (East Berlin + Brandenburg) 111 949 617 28 3
U Rostock Electrical Engineering 15 86 43 9 1
  Computer Sciences 10 51 7 4 2
  Mechanical Engineering 38 183 143 21 5
Subtotal Rostock 63 320 193 34 8
HS Warneměnde-Wustrow Electrical Engineering 8 84 28 2 -
  Mechanical Engineering 17 104 73 9 2
  Transportation Sciences 11 83 55 4 -
Subtotal W-Wustrow 36 271 156 15 2
TH Wismar Civil Engineering 21 137 133 8 2
  Electrical Engineering 17 121 63 3 1
  Mechanical Engineering 19 97 76 5 2
Subtotal Wismar 57 355 272 16 5
Total (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) 156 946 621 65 15
TH K¸then Mechanical Engineering 15 73 70 8 2
  Process Sciences 21 157 121 9 1
Subtotal (incl. miscellaneous) 36 230 191 17 3
TH Leuna-Merseburg Process Sciences 21 205 157 19 1
  Material Sciences and Engineering 9 27 33 2 1
Subtotal (incl. miscellaneous) 52 289 190 23 4
TU Magdeburg Electrical Engineering 16 132 90 11 1
  Mechanical Engineering 26 521 420 43 9
  Material Sciences and Engineering 6 26 13 2 -
Subtotal Magdeburg 55 804 564 60 11
Total (Sachsen-Anhalt) 143 1323 945 100 18
TH Ilmenau Electrical Engineering 88 559 475 98 13
U Jena Engineering Sciences 23 147 74 11 3
U Weimar (HAB) Architecture 35 118 109 14 1
  Civil Engineering 24 184 161 18 1
  Computer Sciences 8 49 22 - -
  Process Sciences 19 106 110 8 2
Subtotal Weimar 86 457 402 40 4
Total in Thěringen 197 1163 951 149 20
TU Chemnitz Electrical Engineering 45 447 237 24 7
  Computer Sciences 10 106 24 4 2
  Mechanical Engineering 69 422 346 34 11
  Process Sciences 16 188 155 15 4
  Material Sciences and Engineering 16 44 17 4 1
Subtotal Chemnitz 156 1235 779 81 25
TU Dresden Architecture 21 90 91 8 2
  Civil Engineering 25 149 325 17 2
  Electrical Engineering 54 629 535 54 12
  Energy Engineering 28 150 22 14 2
  Surveying 14 83 59 2 2
  Computer Sciences 43 297 276 20 2
  Mechanical Engineering 72 390 427 39 11
  Miscellaneous disciplines - 110 43 5 -
  Fabrications Sciences - 71 86 12 2
  Process Sciences 49 50 63 9 2
  Material Sciences and Engineering - 25 13 5 -
Subtotal Dresden 306 2044 1940 185 37
Traffic HS Dresden Civil Engineering 16 114 106 11 2
  Electrical Engineering 28 226 127 11 1
  Mechanical Engineering 32 152 145 16 4
  Transport Sciences 19 174 137 14 2
Subtotal HS Dresden 95 666 515 52 9
BA Freiberg Mining 19 85 87 18 2
  Mechanical Engineering 20 78 45 5 1
  Process Sciences 13 64 48 9 1
  Material Sciences and Engineering 25 133 84 16 4
Subtotal Freiberg 77 360 307 54 8
TH Leipzig Civil Engineering 36 217 215 15 4
  Electrical Engineering 16 169 111 23 3
  Fabrication Sciences - 45 30 5 -
Subtotal Leipzig 78 512 356 45 7
IHS Mittweida Electrical Engineering 26 272 133 12 2
TH Zittau Electrical Engineering 18 127 104 9 1
  Energy Engineering 14 164 59 7 0
  Mechanical Engineering 24 41 47 6 2
Subtotal Zittau 56 332 210 22 3
TH Zwickau Electrical Engineering 10 45 38 3 -
  Mechanical Engineering 31 292 245 23 4
Subtotal Zwickau 41 337 283 26 4
Total (Sachsen) 835 5758 5423 477 95
Grand total in the new L˝nder   1442 10139 7657 819 151

TABLE V. Recommended cities and areas of instruction concerning engineering, architecture and computer sciences in the five new L˝nder and Berlin (East) after German reunification

State (Land) University Courses
Brandenburg TU Cottbus Architecture
(Brandenburg)   Civil Engineering
    Electrical Engineering
    Mechanical Engineering
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern U Rostock Civil Engineering
(Mecklenburg-West Pomerania)   Electrical Engineering
    Computer Sciences
    Mechanical Engineering
Sachsen-Anhalt U Halle/ Computer Sciences
(Saxony-Anhalt) Wittenberg Material Sciences
    Process Sciences/Chemical Engineering
  TU Magdeburg Electrical Engineering
    Computer Sciences
    Mechanical Engineering
    Process Sciences
Sachsen TU Chemnitz/ Electrical Engineering
(Saxony) Zwickau Computer Sciences
    Mechanical Engineering
    Material Sciences and Engineering
  TU Dresden Architecture
    Civil Engineering and Surveying
    Electrical Engineering
    Computer Sciences
    Mechanical Engineering
    Process Sciences
    Transportation Sciences
  TU BA Freiberg Mining
    Mining Surveying
    Mechanical Engineering
    Material Sciences and Engineering
    Process Sciences
  U Leipzig Computer Sciences
    Business Administration in Civil Engineering
Thěringen TH Ilmenau Electrical Engineering
(Thuringia)   Computer Sciences
    Mechanical Engineering
  U Jena Computer Sciences
  U Weimar (HAB) Architecture
    Civil Engineering

The locations of the colleges of engineering to be newly founded as recommended by the German Science Council are arranged according to Land in Table VI. The figures in Table VII are to be understood as orientation values for the number of student places at colleges of engineering. In future, architecture, civil engineering and economic engineering, in combination with civil engineering, are to be provided at the locations shown in Fig. l.

TABLE VI. Cities where colleges of engineering were recommended to be established
in the new L˝nder and Berlin (East) after German reunification

1. Berlin (East) FH Karlshorst (Lichtenberg, Wartenberg)
2. Brandenburg FH Brandenburg-Potsdam*
  FH Lausitz (Cottbus/Senftenberg)*
  FH Wildau
3. Mecklenburg- Vorpommern FH Neubrandenburg*
  FH Stralsund
  FH Wismar*
4. Sachsen FH Dresden*
  FH Leipzig*
  FH Mittweida
  FH Zittau-G¸rlitz*
  FH Zwickau
5. Sachsen-Anhalt FH Anhalt (K¸then/Bernburg/Dessau)*
  FH Halle
  FH Harz
  FH Magdeburg*
6. Thěringen FH Erfurt*
  FH Jena
  FH Schmalkalden

*Courses in civil engineering.

TABLE VII. Recommended number of FH students for each new Land and Berlin (East)
after German reunification

State (Land) Inhabitants FH students
Absolute Recommended
(millions) % Min. Max.
Berlin (East) 1 279 7,7 4 000 4 900
Brandenburg 2 600 15,7 8 200 9 900
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2 130 12,8 6 600 8 000
Sachsen 4 870 29,4 15 300 18 500
Sachsen-Anhalt 3 000 18,1 9 400 11 400
Thěringen 2 700 16,3 8 500 10 300
Total 16 579 100,0 52 000 63 000

Fig. 1. Cities in the five new L˝nder and Berlin
where architecture, civil engineering
and business administration in civil engineering
are being taught in 1994. Source: Thiele

4. After the New L˝nder Had Been Founded

After the five new L˝nder had been founded in 1991 they developed different university laws, which were passed by the individual parliaments of the L˝nder during the course of 1993. They create the legal framework for the existence and development of the university scene specific to each individual Land. The evaluation undertaken in 1991 by the German Science Council was centralized, but developments in all five new L˝nder took a different course. With regard to the employment of new personnel in the higher education field, in particular, the L˝nder followed very different paths. In the area of conflict involving the removal of the totalitarian structures and their representatives, on the one hand, and the uninterrupted continuation of the training of young scientists, on the other, the L˝nder had to walk a tightrope between a radical new start and tolerable continuity. What was worth retaining had to be integrated into new structures, and at the same time the employment of new personnel had to be guaranteed.

The Land of Saxony bore the main brunt of academic training in the former GDR, with 19 universities and academies, 70 specialist schools and schools of engineering, ten institutes with branches of the former Academy of Sciences, three institutes each of the former Building Academy and the Academy of Agricultural Science, and 58 research facilities for which the State Ministry for Science and Employment had been responsible.

In the GDR the population of Saxony accounted for 32% of the total, and in 1988 57% of all graduates in the technical sciences from the higher education system were trained there. While the Land of Saxony was the location of roughly 50% of the colleges and universities in the GDR, there was not a single university within the borders of the present Land of Brandenburg, if one omits the College of Civil Engineering in Cottbus, the founding of which is said to have taken place in 1989 (there is no documentation confirming this yet). This meant that the renewal of colleges and universities in Saxony certainly posed the greatest problems since, for example, the number of posts for scientific personnel was to be reduced from more than 30 000 to approximately 12 000.

In addition, the Land parliament decided that from 3 October 1991 no GDR professors were allowed to be elected to a voluntary academic position or participate in a committee to appoint new professors. At the same time some of the professors were granted the right to work as "professors under the new law" on a temporary basis, a transitional from which gives them the same rights as professors appointed in accordance with the West German University Framework Law. Continuity in teaching was thus guaranteed by appointments to academic posts. The renewal was intended to start from scratch so that a new appointment was prescribed for every professorship. This means, for example, that in the Faculty of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering and Forestry at the Technical University in Dresden, where courses of study leading to a diploma in civil engineering, architecture, hydraulic engineering, water resources, landscape architecture and geodesy/cartography are represented by independent teaching areas, an architect colleague and myself from the old L˝nder together with two "retired professors under the new law" were nominated by the minister in Saxony to form the first appointment committee. In a shortened procedure two colleagues from the old faculty were thus appointed. Subsequently, this appointment committee dissolved itself, and a second committee was formed, and again it consisted of the two professors from the West and the two newly appointed colleagues from Dresden. Once again in a shortened procedure the names of a total of ten scientists were put forward to the minister for appointment to professorships of grades C3 and C4. These people come from the ranks of the "politically guiltless" teaching staff who had obtained their Habilitation degree (dissertation B). The remaining 13 professorships provided for in the list of posts available for civil engineering and those for architects are currently to be filled by means of traditional advertisement and appointment procedures.

Without going into further detail about the renewal in the new L˝nder, it must be stated that the professors of the newly founded Technical University in Cottbus were all appointed according to traditional appointment procedures, while at the Academy for Architecture and Civil Engineering in Weimar so far only former professors of the Academy for Architecture and Civil Engineering have been successful as a result of honorary procedures and procedures enabling those concerned to move from one post to another. Here, however, the first traditional appointment procedures are also under way.

In Mecklenburg/Vorpommern a three-stage procedure was used which consisted of one of each of the following procedures: an honorary procedure, a proposal to be qualified as a professor regarding Western standards, and a procedure involving the possible reappointment of the current holder of the post. For the new Faculty of Technology to be established in Rostock six civil engineering colleagues from the former Technical Academy in Wismar were given new posts, and the other six are currently being sought in a proper advertisement and appointment procedure.

Fig. 2. German cities with universities and/or colleges
of civil engineering in 1994

In conclusion, Fig. 2 shows where it is possible to be trained as a civil engineer in Germany.


This paper was originally published in the European Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1995. Its reproduction in the AECEF Newsletter was kindly approved by the author and by Professor Jean Michel, the editor of EJEE.

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