News+Stories: First the positive: What can your successor, Christian Dobnik, look forward to?Anna Maria Moisi: Actually, everything. Working in the Registration Office is extremely interesting and exciting. We deal constantly with people and I never knew in the morning what the day would bring. A short email inquiry can lead to three days of intensive work. When I sorted out my documents, I suddenly became aware of the scope of what I was involved with – a huge field but very exciting.
What was especially important to you?Anna Maria Moisi: I always saw my main task as providing a service for the students. I always used to think in a student-oriented way. After all, our main customers were students. On the other hand, our main contact persons were also professors, university assistants, all the institutes, secretary’s offices and in particular deans, dean’s offices and deans of studies.
I always saw my main task as providing a service for the students.
How have the concerns of (prospective) students changed throughout the years?Anna Maria Moisi: All the concerns are similar. Despite course guidance given by the Students’ Union and in-house specialist staff, questions are always asked about the choice of study programme. But inquiries from the increasing number of international applicants for study programmes are becoming more numerous and more and more complex. An unbelievable variety of certificates from all the corners of the Earth are submitted to us together with the question of whether an admission to a study programme would be possible. Luckily we’ve got very knowledgeable staff with top linguistic skills in the international section. In general it is more often about financial matters – tuition fee, tuition-fee exempt period, possible study programme versions. And we are noticing increasingly that parents come to the initial registration – in particular mothers. It happens occasionally that the school leaving exam with entitlement to study at a university is submitted, and on closer inspection it turns out that it wasn’t passed.
What are the perennial issues of the last few years?Anna Maria Moisi: Enquiries from students who, after completing a bachelor’s programme or after discontinuing their studies at a university of applied sciences (FH), want to change over to a master’s programme at the University. This is a growing trend. It never becomes a routine because there are always new university courses. Some applicants come to us from the university of applied sciences with a completed master’s degree and want to do a doctorate at the University. In every case, we have to check that the respective bachelor’s or master’s programme is equivalent with regard to the admission requirements for a master’s or doctoral programme. This so-called “atypical admission” requires a lot of work. Not only students from Austrian universities of applied science come to TU Graz but also students from universities of applied science from all over the world, and especially Germany.
An unbelievable variety of certificates from all the corners of the Earth are submitted to us together with the question of whether an admission to a study programme would be possible. Luckily we’ve got very knowledgeable staff with top linguistic skills in the international section.
What were the biggest challenges in over 30 years?Anna Maria Moisi: Gargantuan legal amendments. First of all, the changes after the University Organisation Act (UOG) 1993 with the restructuring of the whole administration – the university management, which I also belonged to, was dropped. Then there was the Rectorate consisting of the Rector and Vice-Rectors. The Registration Office of the time was assigned to the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs. Accordingly, I got a new boss every four years. But I was always lucky with my bosses (laughs). In 1997 the University Studies Act arrived, and then in 2002 the University Act (UG) the huge amendment. This dealt with the implementation of the Bologna Process, and we transferred the tracks of the diploma programmes to those of the bachelor’s and master’s programmes. In concrete terms, this means pursuing what needs to be changed in which studies over many years. This was extremely complex. Then on top of this came the introduction of tuition fees in 2002. Through the University Act 2002 the Senate established a Curricular Committee with decision-making authority to develop curricula.
We transferred the tracks of the diploma programmes to those of the bachelor’s and master’s programmes. In concrete terms, this means pursuing what needs to be changed in which studies over many years.
How much was the Registration Office involved in developing curricula?Anna Maria Moisi: The curricula were developed by the working groups in the individual subject areas. But the Curricular Committee’s job was to make sure that the curricula were legally acceptable and viable. As a non-lawyer in this, I was an informant. I couldn’t afford to make a mistake. And I had to make sure that the curricula were also prepared in computerised form and posted in TUGRAZonline, the campus management system.
And then there was NAWI Graz...Anna Maria Moisi: Exactly, the University of Graz and TU Graz launched shared master’s and doctoral programmes together under the name “NAWI Graz”. It was in the 2003/2004 academic year that it was first discussed and considered how the two universities could go about doing this. It was implemented in 2005. To coordinate the details of all this was extremely complicated. NAWI Graz and recently the teacher training combined studies programme of all the tertiary education establishments in Burgenland, Carinthia and Styria in the bachelor’s and master’s system – I was jolly glad that Christian Dobnik was appointed last year and took a weight off my shoulders. It couldn’t be done any more. I had exceeded my limits.
What helped you to continue?Anna Maria Moisi: My team. All my staff. I had wonderful staff – I really have to say this – and also very good superiors. From the vice-rectors for academic affairs to the rectors. I’ve always had the support of the rectors, from Schuy, Domiati, Haberfellner, Schelling, Kahlert, Wohinz, Killmann, Hödl and Sünkel to Kainz. Fantastic. But all the same, an eight-hour day was never enough.
What advice would you give your successor, Christian Dobnik?Anna Maria Moisi: In Christian Dobnik we’ve found an excellent new head of the Registration Office. He knows TU Graz from the perspective of a student. As a member of staff and as chairman of the Students’ Union of TU Graz (HTU), he was in many committees. Not only did he get a degree in software development and business management but is also in the last part of his law studies. He has been a project team member with me for more than a year. And he’s very good with people. The only advice I can give him is what he always says to me: “Everything will work out OK” (laughs heartily).
In Christian Dobnik we’ve found an excellent new head of the Registration Office.