Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

HE & Me

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

HE & Me

Article excerpt

Peter Lutzeier is the first vice-chancellor of Newman University, a Catholic institution awarded university status last year. In December, he became chair of The Cathedrals Group, an association of universities and university colleges in England and Wales with Church foundations.

Where and when were you born?

Stuttgart, Germany, August 1948.

How has this shaped you?

Growing up, I was aware of the terrible human and physical scars left by the Second World War. The richness and diversity in art, culture and education across the German Lander make me a committed federalist; I'm committed to Europe too.

Describe your new job in 140 characters.

I lead a group of 16 distinguished institutions with Church foundations. We aim to offer a values-driven, academically excellent alternative.

How do you hope The Cathedrals Group's members can contribute to addressing major social issues?

The group's mission is to present a distinctively ethical perspective in higher education. Members are a major force in education, theology and religious studies and training for public sector professions. We have a strong commitment to social justice and volunteering. Staff and students are involved in community projects, overseas aid and charitable fundraising. The Catholic members also follow the radical principles of Catholic social teaching.

What is the key difference in the approach taken by church-affiliated universities compared with those with no religious ties?

We're concerned about education as a public good, respecting the dignity of all people who are made in God's image, and being open to critical self-examination. Taking faith seriously means engaging in dialogue and respecting difference.

Have you had a eureka moment?

A tricky problem in my PhD fell into place while I was watching a football match in Stuttgart.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Try to listen and talk more to your parents.

Tell us about someone you've always admired.

"Always" can apply only to my wife. But I also deeply respect a fellow Stuttgart citizen, the Jesuit priest Rupert Mayer, who was a leading figure in the Catholic resistance to Hitler.

In the past decade, what has changed most in higher education?

The Bologna Process has taught us that harmonisation is possible across national borders. At a time when there is a growing trend for flexible studies, credit accumulation and credit transfer, we need more of that. …

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