Election day at the University of Strasbourg. Michel Deneken re-elected President for a second mandate for 2021-2025

EPICUR > EPICUR news > Election day at the University of Strasbourg. Michel Deneken re-elected President for a second mandate for 2021-2025

The Executive Board met on the 19th of March 2021 to elect the University of Strasbourg’s new President. Michel Deneken has been re-elected for a second mandate on behalf of the « Faire ensemble l’université » (“Make the University together”) lists (30 votes in favour, 3 abstentions and 3 blank votes). He had been the University of Strasbourg’s President since December 2016, after having been the first Vice-President since the University’s merger in January 2009. The President has placed his mandate under the banner of a culture of dialogue and participation. This follows a first participatory project, Cap2030. He will present his new team of Vice-Presidents to the Congress on Tuesday the 30th of March.  

In his application letter for the next 4 years, he presented to the Executive Board on Friday the 19th of March 2021, Michel Deneken stated his aspirations on behalf of the « Faire l’université ensemble » (“Make the university together”) lists, wishing to bring human values at the heart of decisions. He writes: “Together, we are yearning for a new democratic spirit. The crisis, in a way, brought us closer, without denying our different sensibilities or approaches. However, this experience demonstrates that we can stand together against common issues. We appreciate even more the virtues of solidarity. We do not exaggerate when we call ourselves a humanist university, as the human challenge is today at the heart of our commitment”.  

He has put his new mandate under the seal of co-construction, by continuing to foster a participative culture in the spirit of pursuing the Cap2030 project. “This participative approach for the benefit of a collective dynamic inspires our lists’ commitment and their vision of the renewed governance within our university.” He reminded the ambition to develop a culture of sustainable development and societal responsibility in every decision taken by the university. Indeed, as he stated in his application letter, “this crisis is putting everyone to the test and making the implementation of our decisions a bit more challenging. It is changing the way we live our lives and will remain with us for many years with its societal and political consequences. It also reveals disparities and instability amongst both students and staff. Despite all of that, we stay on track. Because our university is not only in the crisis; it envisions beyond and aspires to be the place for strong research programmes and academic courses, which we will support in the long run and which must accompany the transformation of the world. It is on this condition that we will be able to think about the after-crisis in a sustainable and responsible way. This will imply rethinking together the evolution of our working conditions, our research and our teaching while keeping up with our collective efforts as well as rediscovering the full value of the human being.” President Deneken wanted to bring his action to a public university, claiming excellence for all. Finally, he underlined the importance of bringing closer all the different levels of the university in the upcoming years, particularly the central and the local levels that represent the different departments and laboratories. His upcoming actions will include four large projects: the development of the new five-year contract with the State, the strengthening of the ties within the EUCOR French-German-Swiss cross-border network as well as with the EPICUR new European university, and the creation of an Idex investment fund for the future for the whole university. 

Michel Deneken is a university Professor of Catholic theology. He has been teaching at the University of Strasbourg since 1989 where he became a Professor in 2003. He was Dean of the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the Marc Bloch University from 2001 to 2009. From January 2009 to December 2016, he was First Vice-President in charge of Finances and then of Initial and Continuing Education at the University of Strasbourg. In September 2016 he took over the presidency of the University after the appointment of President Alain Beretz as Director General for Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Education and Research. On the 13th of December 2016, he was elected President of the University of Strasbourg. On the 13th of December 2020, due to the postponement of the university’s elections because of the health crisis, Michel Deneken was appointed provisional administrator of the University of Strasbourg. As part of his mandate, he is a member of the Eucor assembly (European grouping of cross-border cooperation in the field of higher education), President of EPICUR (European Partnership for an Innovative Campus Unifying Regions), a pilot project of European university. He is also a member of the Conference of University Presidents (CPU) and represents the University of Strasbourg in Udice (club of the 10 major research universities in France) as well as in the assembly of rectors of the LERU (League of European Research Universities).  

After obtaining a German teaching degree in 1979, Michel Deneken taught German at the Collège-Lycée de l’École nationale technique des sous-officiers d’active in Issoire (63) until 1980. Six years later, he obtained his doctorate in Catholic theology and taught for three years at the Schweitzer high school in Mulhouse. In 1989, he was appointed lecturer at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Humanities in Strasbourg and in 1997, he was granted the right to conduct researches. His research work focuses on the history of dogma, particularly on questions related to the death and resurrection of Jesus. He also conducts work in the field of ecclesiology (the theological conception of the Church), on ecumenical issues, with a special emphasis on the relations between the Catholic Church and the Reformed Churches, and on 19th century German theology (Tübingen school).  

From 2013 to 2016, he directed the joint research unit « Droit, Religion, Entreprise et Société » (“Law, Religion, Enterprise and Society”) between the CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) and the University of Strasbourg. 

Last step: the elected members of the different councils will elect the Vice-Presidents of the University 

The Congress will meet on the 30th of March 2021 to elect the Vice-Presidents of the institution. The Congress brings together the Executive Board, the Commission for Training and University Life, the Commission for Research and the Technical Committee of the Institution. This Congress will close the electoral process of the University of Strasbourg, with the establishment of the new management team for the next 4 years. 

Translated by Fiona Thonier and Marine Hauer

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