New president for University of Tübingen

The University of Tübingen will soon be headed by a woman. Professor Karla Pollmann will succeed Professor Bernd Engler as the new president on October 1, 2022. On Wednesday, Pollmann was elected by the University Council with seven out of ten votes and by the University Senate with 25 out of 33 votes for a term of six years. An internal selection committee had proposed a total of three candidates for election.

"I am delighted with the trust that the electoral bodies have placed in me today, and I look forward in anticipation to working with employees and students at the University," said Karla Pollmann. "I will devote all my energies to this position of responsibility in order to keep the University of Tübingen on the road to success."

The head of the University Board, Bernhard Sibold, congratulated the future President. "We look forward to the journey with Karla Pollmann and have full confidence that she will continue the University of Tübingen’s success story." Sibold also thanked Professor Bernd Engler, who will leave office in October, for his outstanding commitment over three terms of office. "With tireless dedication, vision and clear leadership, Bernd Engler has led Tübingen into the group of the 100 best universities in the world."

Professor Engler congratulated his designated successor and wished her success, keen decision-making, and broad support across the University in her new office. "This day marks an important turning point for the future of the University of Tübingen," Engler said. The new president’s most important task, he said, will be to lead the University into the next round of the German government’s Excellence Strategy, which begins in 2023. Bernd Engler has led the university since 2006, and it was under his aegis that Tübingen first achieved its sought-after excellence status in 2012 and successfully defended it in 2019.

Karla Pollmann, who was born in Tübingen, has been Professor of Classics and Theology at the University of Bristol since 2018, where she is also Dean of the Faculty of Arts.

She studied Greek, Latin, theology and education in Tübingen, Munich, Cambridge, and Bochum - where she received her doctorate in Classics in 1990. From 1990 to 1991 she worked at the University of Bielefeld and then at the University of Konstanz until 1995. In 1994 she wrote her habilitation thesis at the University of Konstanz and the following year moved to the University of St Andrews in Scotland as a lecturer in ancient literature. In 2000, Pollmann was appointed to a professorship there.

In 2013, she accepted an appointment at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, where she founded the Centre for Early Christianity and its Reception in 2014 and directed it until 2016. She then moved to the University of Reading as Professor of Ancient Literature, where she headed the School of Humanities. Since 2018 she has been Professor at the University of Bristol, where she is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and a member of the University Executive Board.

Pollmann’s research focuses on early Christianity, interactions of religious and classical-antique thought, and questions of exegesis, hermeneutics, and the reception of antiquity and early Christianity through the centuries. A particular focus is the study of the work of St. Augustine. She takes an interdisciplinary approach between theology, classical philology, and reception studies. Her research has been funded by the British Academy, the German Research Foundation, and the European Research Council, among others. In 2020, she received a Humboldt Research Award.


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