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Barbara Bittner has had a diverse professional career working as a social worker, lawyer, teacher, mediator, Head of Department and Vice-Rector. In November 2015 she became the first female Rector of FH Campus Wien and thus one of the few women in a leading position in the Austrian university landscape. It has always been important to her to drive things forward, yet always remain down to earth and maintain a strong contact with the people around her.
Already in secondary school in Klagenfurt, she knew the direction she wanted her career to take. Barbara Bittner knew she wanted to work with people, to do something that provided an added value and a deeper meaning. A friend of the family provided a vital clue. She told the young student about the social work profession and advised her to combine it with an education in law. This suggestion was right on target. For very early, it became clear that social policy, the legal dimension of social work and the embedding of social problems in social contexts would play a major role in her life. So Barbara Bittner attended the Federal Academy for Social Work in Vienna, where she became a “Qualified Social Worker”. At the same time, she completed her law degree at the University of Vienna and became a Dr. jur..
Later, she also completed a program at the School of Marriage, Family and Life Counseling as well as a course to become a registered mediator. In addition, Barbara Bittner was also a founding member and board member of associations such as OGSA or the Association for the Promotion of Scientific Publications for Social Work. Stops along her professional path as a social worker included the Social Services Department of the Afro-Asian Institute and family counseling. After completing her internship as a legal clerk, she decided she did not want to be a judge and she worked as a legal assistant in a law firm. When her sons Lukas and Thomas were still small, Barbara Bittner began her teaching career, not least to strike a better balance between work and caring for her children. In the following years she taught at various (technical) schools, (university) institutes and the Federal Academy for Social Work.
In 2002, Barbara Bittner became Head of Degree Program Social Work at FH Campus Wien. She was responsible for transitioning the academy to a university of applied sciences. Next came the transition from a diploma to Bachelor of Social Work. When asked what was particularly important for her in this process, Barbara Bittner said the in-depth exploration of the theory in the Degree Program Social Work. Her goal was to provide students not only with practical education and training, but to also introduce them to a scientific way of thinking and to make their education and training in social work a formative time and experience for their own personal development. As Head of Department Social Work, Barbara Bittner drew upon her amazing talent for bringing people and systems together. Her main goal was the coalescence of the Department Social Work, which progressed well with the team.
In 2005 Barbara Bittner became Vice Rector for International Affairs and Law. She performed valuable development work in a university of applied sciences that at that time was growing rapidy, as it continues to do today. In 2015, she became the first woman to head the academic management of FH Campus Wien and one of the few women in this position in the Austrian education landscape. Barbara Bittner follows Arthur Mettinger, who after being reelected as Rector in 2014, had to take medical leave the following year.
Arthur Mettinger used his excellent worldwide contacts to perfectly network FH Campus Wien and align the university more internationally. He built a solid network, thereby promoting the outstanding reputation of FH Campus Wien. Delegations from all over the world come to Favoriten and want to cooperate with FH Campus Wien. Barbara Bittner is building upon this solid foundation and skillfully expanding upon it. Under her aegis, further cooperation agreements have been concluded with international universities. At the same time, she is also taking a very close look at the internal structures and adapting them to the constant growth of Austria’s most agile university of applied sciences. Together with the University Council, Barbara Bittner has set new accents with the revision of the electoral rules, rules of procedure and the policy for awarding university professorships.
Barbara Bittner is pleased about the excellent cooperation and all that has been achieved in the Rector’s Office: “Roswitha Engel, Vice Rector for Education, is successively transforming FH Campus Wien into an academic teaching center. Heimo Sandtner, Vice Rector for Research and Development, ensures that the abbreviation FH certainly stands for “Forschungshochschule” or research university in English. With the implementation of the Start-up, Intellectual Property Rights-(IPR) and doctoral services, we have once again substantially expanded the range of services offered by the Rector’s Office.”
All of her outstanding ideas and work are marked by strong cooperation, careful listening and accurate perception. When asked what Barbara Bittner would like to give both her sons and the students and graduates of FH Campus Wien: “Doing what makes your heart race!” With heart and mind, but it has to make your heart beat faster.“