Carl Georg Weitzel, who was an engineer from Mannheim, founded the „Technikum Mittweida“ in the old city theatre on 7 May 1867. He was supported by local enterprises and the municipality. This privately run training centre for mechanical engineers had soon attracted numerous students because the “Technikum Mittweida” had already been one of the biggest educational institution in Germany at the turn of the century. At that time, the Free State of Saxony was one of the leading states in mechanical engineering. In 1870, it owned the densest railway network of all German states. Moreover, Chemnitz was the centre of the German mechanical engineering in 1871.
Carl Georg Weitzel recognized that the industry was in need of engineers familiar with and connected to industrial experience next to qualified workers and masters. For centuries, education felt obliged to keep this image up, sometimes fighting against the view of the official educational policy and occasionally against chicanes. By no means, it was strived to approximate the “Technikum” as a “higher technical institution” to a technical university. Nevertheless, compared to diverse vocational schools, it was taught on a much higher level.
The training began with 17 students. However the number of students rose up to 185 in 1873 so that the capacities of rented rooms did not meet its requirements. Despite considerable financial difficulties, Carl Georg Weitzel managed to use his first own educational building in 1874, which was later part of the main building and which nowadays is known as “Carl-Georg-Weitzel-Bau”.
The construction of laboratories for practical experience and the introduction of “electrical engineering” as a subject belonged to the founder’s prospective decisions in 1884. Two years later, the lecture rooms for physics held an electrical lighting set for demonstration. In 1890, three new halls were built for the department of electrical engineering.
In 1892 the town council deemed Carl Georg Weitzel, founder of the “Technikum Mittweida”, worthy of his merits by giving him the freedom of the city. An honorary degree called “Kammerrat” was conferred on him by the Free State of Saxony. In the same year, Weitzel handed over the official duties of a director to Alfred Udo Holzt after having been in office for 25 years. The psychological stress as a director, teacher, author of textbooks and also personal strokes had had an effect on his health condition.
By taking over the leadership of the institution, a man assumed the office who had not only taught as a young engineer at the “Technikum” but who would continue to pursue the target of Carl Georg Weitzel who had demanded that “especially in teaching the practical side had to be taken into account.
Early enough, Holzt took new technical developments into account. Consequently, he offered classes on aeronautical and automotive engineering beginning in 1909. Since 1917 the future electrical engineers could also attend a class on “telecommunications and radio technology”. Furthermore, they could use laboratories for high frequency technology, radio technology and telecommunications.
Results of his ambitious objectives were the construction of the “electro technical institute”, opened in 1894 and now called “Alfred-Udo-Holzt-Bau”, and the opening of the “teaching fabric workshops” in 1901 which were renamed “concision workshops Mittweida GmbH” three years later. Not only students could get prepared for their studies in this company. It was also used for the production of electrical machines, measurement devices, teaching aids and machine tools.
Already in 1902, the title professor and in 1917 the honorary title “Königlich-sächsischer Hofrat” were awared to Alfred Udo Holzt. In the middle of the 1920s, the “Technikum Mittweida” reached the highest student numbers (more than 2300 young people) at that time. Most of the visitors came from European countries, from overseas and from Asia. From time to time, more than half of all students were foreigners.
Although the “Technikum Mitweida” enjoyed great popularity and a good reputation, the educational institute and the “Präzise” got into financial embarrassments at the end of the nineteen-twenties. In the years of the worldwide economic slump, the number of student enrolments sank and the closing seemed to be unavoidable. The personal character of the institute exacerbated the critical situation since it was opposed to the endeavour to nationalize all schools.
After the National Socialists came to power, there was no realistic possibility to carry on with the common course. From 1935 onwards, it was renamed “engineering school Mittweida”. The court counsellor professor Alfred Udo Holtz resigned on 15 June 1936. After long-lasting negotiations, the foundation “engineering school Mittweida (higher technical institute)” acquired the educational institute by purchase. On 25 October 1938, Prof. Ludwig Zipperer got in the lead. The teaching could be perpetuated until January 1945.
On 1 November 1947, the “engineering school Mittweida” continued with teaching mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, the engineering of agricultural machines and automotive engineering. From 1951 onwards, only students for electrical engineering were enrolled. At the same time, the engineer Martin Schneidereit was appointed director by the responsible ministry for industry. In the summer of 1951, constructions of a new laboratory began, now called “Walter-Bruch-Bau”. On 16 October 1953, the new laboratory was ceremoniously inaugurated.
In the nineteen-sixties, the electro technical training allied with the electrical one. This way, new specialisations arose such as the control and feedback control systems. Due to its efficiency, the engineering school in Mittweida was one of the leading training centres in Saxony. It was therefore chosen as a new type of higher education.
On 1 September 1969, a ceremonial act of foundation for the “engineering school Mittweida” took place. Prof. Reinhard Göttner (from the college of transportation in Dresden) was appointed vice-chancellor by the ministry. He headed the college until 1981. According to her status, it had the same right as universities and technical colleges. All in all, the academic level enhanced due to the appointment of qualified scientists to college lectures and professors and due to former teachers from technical colleges who were highly committed. The prospective “college engineers” could study “Electrical Engineering”, “Information Technology” and “Hardware”. From 1976 onwards, all graduates from the engineering college were called “graduate engineer”. The engineering college received the right to get an academic degree as a “doctor engineer” in 1980. Soon after its foundation, very successful working research groups, new laboratories and practical trainings came into being to increase the level of education and to support the applied and primarily the interdisciplinary academic work. At the beginning of the eighties, however, an extremely critical situation arose for the ongoing of the engineering college Mittweida. The independence should have been raised for the benefit of a technical college. These plans came not into existence due to the resistance of the head and the staff.
The council of the engineering college Mittweida elected Prof. Gerhard Zscherpe as vice-chancellor in 1981. In spite of growing economic and political difficulties in the whole country, the “Centre for Electrical Tool Building” was founded in 1983. In the same year, the building of the refectory and the library could be finished. In 1988, the laser application centre “Laser Technique and Technology” was built. It was possible to extend the training and research labs for news and data transmission, optoelectronics, microcomputing technology, technology for microelectronics, materials and quality assurance. All of these received modern technical facilities.
In 1990, the majority of members of the engineering college Mittweida elected Prof. Reinhard Schmidt as vice-chancellor. He managed to maintain the independence of the college and to cope with a new start as a college. Despite some adversities and thanks to his will, the support of all members and many former students, the willingness to take over new responsibilities and requirements self-confidently and was creatively ensured.
Already in the summer of 1991, an eight-semester lasting college education in “Economic Sciences” (a new faculty) started. In the winter semester of 1991/92, study paths were followed by the new founded faculties “Electrical Engineering / Electronics”, “Mechanical Engineering / Precision Engineering” and “Mathematics / Physics / Information Technology”.
On 30 July 1992, the Saxon minister of state for science and arts, Prof. Hansjoachim Meyer, awarded the “College for Technique and Economics Mittweida (FH)” the status of a university of applied sciences ceremoniously. The offer soon reached 14 courses of studies. In 1995, the college exceeded its number of enrolments from 1923 by 2,600 students.
Already in 1991, the Sigmund-Schuckert-Bau could be used for training and research. In 1993, a research centre came into being in the technology park Mittweida. New responsibilities arose by taking over the site in Roßwein, setting up of the faculty “Social Work” and new courses of studies. The academic conferences for presenting the attained scientific results have been a visible sign for all endeavours since the foundation of the engineering college in Mittweida. Yet, too win more public interest for their results of scientific work; the college prepared a popular scientific conference named “SATERRA – conference for environment, technology, and space” for the first time in 1993.
In 1996, Prof. Reinhard Schmidt got another term of office due to the faith of the senate. The working and study conditions improved remarkably in the following year after the laboratory for mechanical engineering, the so-called “Gerhard-Neumann-Bau” which was ceremoniously inaugurated, and the new laboratory for high tension was built in the hydroelectric power plant in Mittweida.
The removal and construction of the “Media Centre” could be finished in 1998. It was an indispensable requisite for the study paths “Media Technology” and “Media Management”. The responsible department took account of the new development by renaming itself into “Media and Electrical Engineering”.
A request for a new name was arising due to the growing internationality and the success of the “College for Technique and Economics Mittweida (FH)”. In 1998, the Saxon Ministry of State for Science and Art allowed the application to call the college “Hochschule Mittweida (FH) University of Applied Sciences”. By this means international habits were respected and the word monster in its non-respecting of important areas was abolished.
In 2000, the president Prof. Reinhard Schmidt resigned from office after an eminently successful decennial tenure. He has been honoured for his merits as an honourary citizen of the town Mittweida. The college awarded him an honorary colloquium. For his merits of developing the university education in Saxony, the Free State of Saxony handed the order of merit over to him.
On 26 January 2000, the council elected Prof. Werner Totzauer as the new president. On the basis of his management and image that Prof. Reinhard Schmidt had established, the college in Mittweida achieved numerous successes. While in the winter semester 2000, 880 freshers were registered, the number of enrolments increased to 1,150 in 2001 and outreached 1,200 in 2002. In this period of time, the number of foreign students, who came from 21 different coutries, climbed from 171 to 415.
Already in February 2000, the Saxon commission for the development of higher education confirmed the good progress of the college capacity. That year and the year after, the Saxon commission for the development of higher education rated our college. Based on the results, an image concept called “future orientation of the college” came into being in 2002. The board of trustees of our college supported this process deeply and obtained more competence as a result of the new higher education act of the State of Saxony. The head Prof. Wolfgang Schulhoff (MdP) acquired special merits.
In 2001, the college allowed for the growing internationalisation by opening the training of its new course of study “Industrial Management” with the degree “Master of Science”. Furthermore, the Bachelor’s study paths “Information Technology” and “Applied Media Technology” have already been offered since 1999. The campus was also continued to converted and constructed by the college at that time. So, after an extensive reconstruction, the refectory could be re-opened in 2000. On account of spacious expansions, conditions improved for the library. In December of that year, the gym was completed. The college was awarded “college of the year 2000” for its promotion of sports by the general German of college sports association.
On 14 November 2000, the college place its first cooperation contract with the higher technical institute in Weiz, Austria. They agreed on a takeover of credits in post-graduate courses of studies. This contract served as a basis for development of contacts with further Austrian partners. The research centre (registered association) moved into a new laboratory in February 2002. Therewith, the first phase for a research centre close to college was realised. At the same time, the “Application Centre Micro Controller” could be opened. This was a research centre for the development of microprocessor technology and micro controller technology.
In October 2002, the Grunert-de Jácome-Bau was inaugurated. A modern laboratory resulted from a former students’ hostel with numerous modern training areas, more working rooms, and a multiple-purpose room used for multimedia in a building extension.
The establishment of study paths such as “Mechatronics”, “Multimedia Technology” and “Industrial Engineering with Business Studies” and the re-modelling of “Environmental Technology” to “Environmental Technology / Biotechnology” allowed for the growing and changing requests of economy. The senate agreed to the establishment for graduating Master in “Discrete and Computational Mathematics” in 2003. For the growing importance of the study path “media”, it was taken out of the department “media and electrical engineering”.
On January 2003, Prof. Werner Totzauer was re-elected as president for another term of office by the senate. In July 2003 and after quadrennial negotiations, he signed an agreement about the development between state-run colleges and the state government of Saxony until 2010. This way, a long and tricky discussion came to an end. It was about new ways of autonomies for colleges, about more security in planning, and about prospective developments of the college in Mittweida. The concept “future orientation of the college in Mittweida” could now be realised. On 30 Mai 2003, the ceremonious opening of the permanent exhibition “engineers of Mittweida worldwide” was an outstanding event for the self-conception and the tradition of the college in Mittweida. The exhibition is shown in the house “Am Pfarrberg” in Mittweida”. It shows the live and work of August Horch, Fritz Opel, JØrgen Skafte Raßmussen, next to famous graduates from Mittweida such as Bernhard Schmidt, Walter Bruch, Eduard Rhein, August Arnold and many more.
The efforts to introduce the Bachelor and Master education have been intensified. In October 2004, the agency of accreditation ZevA handed the documents of accreditation over to the college. These documents included courses of studies for bachelors such as “Media Technology”, “Media Management”, “Applied Media Economics”, “Film and Television”, “Business Management”, “Health Management” and Master studies in “Industrial Management” and “Information and Communication Science”. Thus, the college in Mittweida holds a top ranking when it comes to the accreditation of study paths in Saxony. Nonetheless, the college hit its capacities of teaching loads at that time. The number of enrolments rose from 1,277 in the winter semester of 2003 to more than 1,300 in 2005. The total number of students amounted to 5,000.
In 2004, the college signed a new cooperation contract for the sponsorship of the top sports with the sports associations, the Olympic teams training camp, the student union and the municipalities. That year it reached the second place in college sports among other German colleges. In 2005 it finished in first place.
In 2005, it especially allowed for the applied research by establishing the central scientific “Institute for Technology and Knowledge Transfer Mittweida (ITWM)”.
On the occasion of the 17th international scientific conference in Mittweida in November, two anniversaries would be celebrated: “15 years of bio-kinetic medical technology” and “25 years of automation engineering”. Furthermore, the “Laser Institute Middle Saxony” received the praised special price for technology and knowledge transfer for the first time.
In May 2005, the department for social work was fifth placed nationwide and first placed within the newly-formed German states in the well-known CHE-ranking. The training for the post-graduate study path “Social Management” began in the winter semester in Roßwein.
On 25 January 2006, the council elected Prof. Lothar Otto as president for tenure from 2006 to 2009. On 12 April 2006, the ceremonious inauguration was performed by Barbara Ludwig, Saxon minister of state for science and art. In his inauguration speech, His magnificence Prof. Lothar Otto emphasised, “At present I see a wide consensus beyond Mittweida. It shows me that new paths have to be gone within the German and European educational system. The way to unitary and international accepted degrees is paved by the introduction of new bachelor’s and master’s. This meets the time spirit in a new Europe and an internationally open labour market.”
New features in the interdependent of municipalities and colleges could be emphasised by a common distinction of the teacher and architect Johann Nepomuk Bürtel from the Fichte-Schule in Mittweida that year in May.
In June the senate confirmed the request for obtaining the right to award doctorates in the area of physics and laser technology. The board of trustees agreed to these ideas in December. Another improvement for the training could be achieved by opening the EMV laboratories in Mittweida at the end of that year.
At the beginning of the lectures in the academic year 2006/2007, 5,300 students have been studying at the college in Mittweida. More than 750 are enrolled in Bachelors and Masters. At present about 10 from 31 courses of studies are accredited as Bachelors and Masters. The college in Mittweida participates in international projects to promote the educational training of Bachelors and Masters. In the European programme “Alfa”, the college is a coordinator for developing a cooperative and international study path for undertaking its Master in “Industrial Management” to achieve a degree as “Master of Science”. All courses of studies are thought to undergo a changeover until the academic year 2007/2008.
Modern teaching and research facilities are available to all students at the college of Mittweida and in associated research centres. The centres for laser application, sensor technology, conveyor and structural-design technology, media development and media management are well-known by now. The doctorates connected to cooperative doctorate procedures also stand for the efficiency of the college in Mittweida. It is one of the big endeavours of the university administration in the nineties that the cooperative doctorate procedure was enabled in the higher education act of the state of Saxony. Special attention is valid for the practise-oriented research and for the re-construction of the college as a place for academic teaching.