At its foundation in 2009, Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences initially opted for an innovative matrix structure. This meant that the university was structured into institutes, degree programmes and services but not into faculties. The idea was to achieve maximum flexibility in terms of having professors from all institutes teach courses across all study programmes without having to observe their ties to a specific faculty. This approach enabled Ruhr West to design interdisciplinary and flexible curricula that could quickly incorporate industry and market needs.
However, working with the matrix also brought on some major challenges, most importantly the need for extensive coordination due to the high number of decision-makers involved. Moreover, it was more difficult for students to participate in university governance, for instance by serving on faculty councils.
That is why Ruhr West, after performing an extensive internal and external analysis, decided to move from a matrix structure to a matrix-assisted faculty structure in April 2012. The existing institutes were retained but grouped into four faculties, serving as competence clusters within each faculty. Each degree programme is now assigned to one of the four faculties.
The transition to this more traditional structure took place under the condition that professors are still able to teach courses in programmes housed at faculties other than their own. The main difference is that both teachers and students are now assigned to a fixed organisational unit with a dean as a fixed contact person. Other key features of the matrix structure were retained, such as the centralised allocation of rooms and coordination of cross-faculty teaching.
The Executive Board, consisting of the President, the Head of Administration and Services, the Vice President for Teaching and the Vice President for Research and Transfer, is the university’s main governing body.