On the first of April 1992, the summer semester began at Technische Hochschule Ilmenau. The students had arrived, the teachers were prepared - what was missing was a course shedule. An open letter started a discussion about the university's Staff and Lecture Directory.
Genesis of the Staff and Lecture Directory
The Staff and Lecture Directory of the Technische Hochschule Ilmenau first appeared in the spring semester of 1954. It comprised just 42 pages and listed the names and personal addresses of the administrative staff and the university lecturers as well as a total of 15 lectures. In the course of the 3rd university reform in the GDR, the publication of the Staff and Lecture Directory, which had grown to 146 pages and was arranged by matriculation, was discontinued at the end of the fall semester 1968/69 and replaced by loose-leaf collections tailored to the individual matriculations. After 22 years, for the fall semester 1990/1991, the reactivation of the old-style Staff and Lecture Directory took place. In the summer semester of 2008, the now 526-page directory appeared in print for the last time. Since then, the contents, such as the staff directory, the courses and rooms, and the campus maps, have been available exclusively electronically on several online platforms.
An open letter
Ralph Michael, a member of the Student Council's Study Department, gave vent to his anger in a university-published letter dated April 15, 1992(source: IHB 35, 1992, No. 7, p. 5). This was because it was not the first time that the Staff and Lecture Directory were not available on time. Students had to look for their courses in notices and individual sheets. The author criticized not only the 'meager offer of lectures', but especially the lack of coordination between the structural units of the university."
"Was wir jetzt vorliegen haben - oder besser gesagt nicht vorliegen haben - ist das Ergebnis von mangelnder Zusammenarbeit und Koordinierung zwischen den Fakultäten, dem Dezernat Planung, dem Dezernat für Akademische Angelegenheiten, dem Prorektor für Bildung und nicht zuletzt dem Referat für Öffentlichkeitsarbeit." Ralph Michael concluded his statement with demands for personnel consequences in the Public Relations Department, a new concept for a systematic course catalog, and better organization.
Already one week before, the student representatives in the meeting of the Senate (source: UAI, senate meeting of 07.04.1992) had made the request to fill the position of the department head for public relations anew and to pursue a coordinated and intensified student advertising. Except for the personnel consequences, the Senate agreed with the students' request. The department head addressed, Dr. Frank, felt compelled to react to the criticism because of the massive dissatisfaction with the uncoordinated and amateurish public relations work (this was the tenor of the article in Guru No. 19, May 4, 1992, pp. 2-3) and offered a discussion in the same issue of the university newspaper in which Michael's public letter had appeared. And Prof. Noack, then Prorector of Education, also expressed his views in the same venue, constructively taking up the students' suggestions.
Belatedly, but nevertheless, the Staff and Lecture Directory of the summer semester 1992 appeared, which, however, proved to be a slow seller due to the price of 5,- DM and the advance information. The criticism, however, did not remain without consequences: In the winter semester 1992/1993, the Staff and Lecture Directory not only appeared on time, but the courses were also listed systematically, as suggested by the students, and no longer arranged by matriculation. The electronic course catalog still follows this organizational principle today.