Skip to content

News & opinion

4 SEP 2018

The Rich History of HAWK University of Applied Science

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weppler MRICS from University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim / Holzminden / Goettingen (HAWK) tells us about his impressive career in Real Estate Education

How long you have been with University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim / Holzminden / Goettingen (HAWK) and what do you do?

My professional teaching career started in 1990, when Germany reunited, and the Wall came down. I worked as a free-lancer, teaching general management in the former part of Germany. My students were all academics working at former east German leading companies like Zeiss and Wismut I also taught in many education institutions in Germany (CDI, PTM, BFZ) until finishing my Ph.D. in 1995.

It was in September 1999, when I was elected as a professor at the HAWK University Hildesheim / Holzminden / Göttingen. The faculty of Management – Social Work – Construction offers two real estate related courses (undergraduate and graduate): Real Estate Economics and Management (B.Sc.) and Real Estate Management (M.Sc.). My professorship is broken down into: General Management, Real Estate Accounting and Controlling. Therefore, I give lectures in Financial Accounting and Management Accounting with a focus on real estate.

From the very first moment in my academic career, I focused on real estate valuation. National real estate valuation methods and techniques are part of the B.Sc. programme. In the master course the content of the modules is more international. Therefore, lectures like "International Valuation and Accounting" and "International Real Estate Management" are part of my teaching programme (MA). It was in 2006 when we decided to conduct these lectures in English language.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weppler MRICS
Prof. Dr. Matthias Weppler MRICS

Major topics of the BA Accounting discipline are:

  • Introduction to Financial Accounting and the system of double entry bookkeeping,
  • the Financial Statement of Accounts according to national laws and standards (German Commercial Code (HGB)
  • and General Accounting Principles (GoB) as well as special real estate postings like financing, sales with profit or loss, accruals and deferrals and purchase of properties and the related posting schemes.

The module "National valuation" consists of the basics of valuation discipline like definitions, standard setters, legal framework as well as the methods comparison, income and cost approach. The German board of expert valuers as the major data supplier for residential properties in Germany is an important content in the undergraduate module as well. 

Your course has been accredited by RICS since 2013, what makes your course distinct? Why would a student want to apply at HAWK?

Due to the emerging importance of international affairs in Real Estate it was one of my favourite achievements to have both courses accredited by RICS.

The HAWK Real Estate is a university rich in history and tradition which is what makes HAWK a unique and distinctive university. The tradition of HAWK University in Holzminden goes back to 1831. It was founded as private school for construction and engineering (Baugewerkschule) by Friedrich Ludwig Haarmann. At this time, many new materials for construction were emerging and through this private initiative Germany was able to improve the quality of construction locally. This is the second school founded in Germany, after the Royal Bavarian Baugewerkschule in Munich in 1823.

Especially in winter times, when work on construction site was impossible, craftsmen were seen as specialists in design, construction and architecture. The Baugewerkschule in Holzminden was a prototype for many other institutions in Germany like Regensburg (1846), Nienburg (1853), Höxter (1864), Darmstadt (1876) and Lübeck (1896). In 1861, the school offered a second yearly intake in the summer at Holzminden. In 1876, over 1,025 students began their studies in Holzminden. Students from many other countries like Norway, Poland and Russia came to Holzminden in those times. After graduation, students usually worked as architects and civil engineers.

The real estate courses have been added in 1999. Since that time, the combination of management, technical, law and IT aspects of real estate characterize our teaching model. It helps immensely to understand that properties have to be regarded not only under financial aspects.

Real Estate Education is constantly changing and research for students and staff are key to further understand the world we live and work in. What are you currently working on that you are excited about?

The Universities of Applied Science in Germany focus on for research, but more on the practical implementation of the knowledge. For that reason, my research portfolio at HAWK University mainly consist of mentoring Bachelor and Master students that are working on their thesis. Over the years, I have seen more technology-based elements emerge as aspects to the topics chosen. One of my BA-candidates from last semester focused his BA Thesis on new technologies in valuation industries (hardware and software). One of the results was that geo-referencing is becoming more and more important to surveyors.

What kind of education trends (national or international) are affecting your course and how are you preparing?

I see there being a massive impact on teaching by way of blended learning and e-learning in the near future and for years to come. Already e-learning has been a big development for many universities around the world, allowing a student to participate in lectures from around the globe. My first personal experience with online-teaching was in 2006. I was working on research in Florida but had to give some lecturers at my university in Germany. At that time, I used Polycom Software to do live online lectures to my students in Holzminden. Due to the fact that my university has three locations (Hildesheim, Holzminden, Göttingen) we have an excellent IT equipment for online lectures and continue to use this method today.

In 2016, HAWK university in Holzminden started a part time BA programme in management with 90% online-teaching. Due to my experience in e-learning, I am currently part of the teaching staff. Students (professionals) join live online-lectures in the evening after finishing their jobs. We use Adobe Connect as teaching platform. If they cannot attend a lecture they still have the possibility to see the video of the sessions whenever they want, because all are recorded. Additionally, one day per month students have to come to university in Holzminden and attend real lectures.

What would you say to other academics to encourage them to become RICS qualified professionals?

RICS is a big family with an exceptional history. The network of the professionals is very helpful. As an academic (and practitioner), I do use this network to organise international field trips for my students. In the MA programme, international field trips are elements of the educational approach and part of my module “International Real Estate Management”. Since 2006, our students participate in a week-long field trip each semester to places such as London, Paris, Dublin, New York, Istanbul, Warsaw, Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen and more. During these field trips we visit leading companies and institutions of real estate like Jones Lange Lasalle, CBRE as well as Cushman & Wakefield. RICS network helps a lot to get in contact with leading representatives of real estate companies.

I believe that the real estate industry needs more of an ethical foundation and RICS helps to achieve that. RICS ethical standards help to give professionals the base of knowledge and understanding of ethics in the work place and help to improve the quality of work for the future.

says Prof. Weppler
HAWK University of Applied Science