ZU held an official welcome event for their new President, Professor Dr Insa Sjurts. On April 01, 2015, Sjurts changed from the Universität Hamburg and the Hamburg Media School to the position as Speaker of the Board of ZU. In her welcome speech she stressed the prominent position of ZU in Germany´s private university landscape which still had to be strengthened.
"Bridging business, culture, and politics - only thinking in such a way allows for a deep understanding, explanation, and development of socially relevant and creative solutions. Interdisciplinarity is engraved into ZU´s DNA," Sjurts explained to hundreds of staff members and students. She continued that interdisciplinarity in research and teaching were indispensable to her, for they were exactly what ZU embodied in a way no other university in Germany did.
Furthermore, she characterized ZU as unique: A university with a strong research orientation, a high academic reputation, and very good results in all relevant rankings. ZU´s students, who face complex contemporary problems with creativity and courage, played a special role in this. She described the task of ZU thus: "To offer students and scholars the unique chance to develop their skills in such a way that they are able to reach their own goals and to find solutions to the challenges of our times. This is the orientation of all structures and processes of ZU: Interdisiplinary, in an inspiring community, with a lot of room for personal development, and a great pioneering spirit."
Sjurts thus focused on the special spirit and the unique orientation of ZU. "I am convinced of the vision of ZU: Together we start out to think beyond borders. The attitude of Graf Zeppelin that you only have to believe in something and really want something, and then it will succeed, this is the motto determining my actions," she explained.
The new president also highlighted the important role the sponsors play in the private university: "We are grateful and proud that this university is backed by strong and loyal founders." Friedrichshafen and the Lake Constance region were especially important for the university: "We will use the chances and possibilities that one of Europe´s strongest regions regarding business and technology offers us even more intensively," she said.
Insa Sjurts comes to ZU from Hamburg. There she was a professor at the Universität Hamburg, as well as Academic Director and Managing Director at the Hamburg Media School. Additionally, from 2007 through 2014 she was the Chair of the "Kommission zur Ermittlung der Konzentration im Medienbereich KEK" (Commission on Determining Concentration in the Media Sphere), where she has been a member up to now. She takes over her position from Professor Dr Dr h.c. mult. Alfred Kieser.