06/01/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/01/2023 06:59
Paderborn University mourns the death of its former Rector Prof. em. Dr. Hans-Dieter Rinkens. He passed away on 29 May 2023. Rinkens was head of the University from 1987 to 1991.
50 years ago, Rinkens was appointed to Paderborn University, at that point still named "Gesamthochschule Paderborn" (Paderborn Comprehensive University), and represented the Department of Mathematics and its Didactics until his retirement in 2010. From 1976 to 1983, he was Prorector for Structural and Budgetary Matters in the Founding Rectorate of the Gesamthochschule Paderborn. During his term of office, he was instrumental in setting the course for the new Audimax building. Rinkens was also particularly committed to teacher training in Paderborn. As founding chairman, he established the Paderborn Centre for Educational Research and Teacher Education (PLAZ), an institution with nationwide renown, and developed it into today's PLAZ Professional School.
"Hans-Dieter Rinkens played a major role in shaping the development of Paderborn University. We are losing a valuable person and important supporter." said University President Prof. Dr. Birgitt Riegraf, paying tribute to Rinkens' merits.
Prof. Dr. Peter Schreier, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, emphasises: "Hans-Dieter Rinkens was in demand in many contexts, on a regional and national level, as a cosmopolitan scientist and promoter of progressive ideas. With him, the University loses a renowned researcher."
In academic teaching, his courses were characterised by clarity, transparency, and practical relevance to schools. He received several awards for outstanding teaching and created a special learning space for students with the establishment of the "Mathe-Treff", which has become a model for other fields. As the editor-in-chief of the schoolbook "Welt der Zahl", he used his expertise in mathematics didactics to create an extremely successful textbook series.
Rinkens was involved in scientific societies such as the Gesellschaft für Didaktik der Mathematik (Society for Didactics of Mathematics, GDM) or the Verein zur Förderung des mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Unterrichts (association for the promotion of mathematics and science education, MNU). He was also active in education policy, e.g. as an advisor to the Kulturministerkonferenz (Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs) in the development of common Länder standards for scientific disciplines and teaching methodology in teacher training.
From 1996 to 2006, Rinkens was President of the Deutsches Studentenwerk (German National Association for Student Affairs, DSW). During his ten years in office, he persistently championed the interests of students as well as more social mobility in the German higher education system and became known as a fighter for more equal opportunities.
Music and culture were also special concerns of his. As an "architect" of the cooperation with Detmold University of Music, he made a decisive contribution to the founding of the University's orchestra.
In 2015, Rinkens was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on the ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany for his extraordinary scientific, educational, civic, and cultural commitment.